Southwestern Saskatchewan residents and businesses will have a unique opportunity over the next two days to improve healthcare in their own region.

The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation's annual Pharmasave Radiothon for Healthcare began this morning with a goal to raise $150,000.

Chris Martens, the executive director of the non-profit, said they're very excited for another installment of their largest yearly fundraiser.

"Radiothon has done a lot of really great work in the last number of years," he said. "We'd be remised if we didn't say that came from all the supporters in the southwest. Radiothon is only as successful as the people that support it. We've got incredible individuals in southwest Saskatchewan that continue to amaze us with the support they put forward."

This year the event broadcasted live across CKSW 570, Magic 97.1, Eagle 94.1, and CJSN 1490 will be raising funds to purchase a new thulium fibre laser system.

The piece of equipment will cost about $150,000 and be primarily used to break down kidney stones. It would replace the current one at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current that was purchased about nine years ago.

"It's a laser, similar to the one we have, but uses a different wavelength," Cypress Health Region Urologist Dr. Francisco Garcia said. "That wave length ends up being far more efficient in the delivery of the energy that the laser is producing to its target tissue or stone. It's much more precise... [also] less bleeding if we're using it on soft tissues than we would typically with the other laser system."

The new technology would allow the southwest to become one of the only places in the province to be able to perform an enlarged prostate bladder surgery. Prince Albert recently upgraded to the thulium fibre laser system.

"That procedure is basically what we'd call an enucleation, a fancy word of just shelling the prostate out," Dr. Garcia said. "There is a bit of a capsule that goes all the way around the prostate and this is a procedure where it uses the laser system and we shell the entire prostate out from that capsule inside the urinary passageway.

"Where it's particularly advantageous to consider that procedure is some guys who have extremely large prostates... because they tend to be at a higher risk of needing to have repeat surgery if we do the traditional surgery of just opening it up from the inside. This gives some of those guys a good chance of never needing to have any further surgery."

Anyone interested in donating to the 22-hour event could have their gift matched through multiple power hours sponsored by a multitude of local businesses.

There are three ways to donate, two of which are between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Visiting the event in person at the Elmwood Golf Club or by phoning the donation line at 306-773-0666.

The final way to help support is by clicking here.

Swift Current Online will provide up-to-date fundraising totals from the event throughout the two days and you can stream the radiothon by clicking here.

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