Progress…brought to you by the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer.
Prior to the launch of the Weekend to End Breast Cancer in 2005, the Alberta Cancer Foundation was able to invest just $300,000 annually in breast cancer research. Over five years, Weekend participants and donors have made it possible to invest more than $22 million in breast cancer research and programs here in Alberta.
In 2010, Shoppers Drug Mart came on as a national sponsor of the event, changing the name to the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. With links between breast and gynecologic cancers, it was time evolve our mission and were determined to effect the same progress on all women’s cancers that we had on breast cancer, step by step for cancer free lives – today, tomorrow and forever.
Over the life of the event, over 10,000 Walkers have raised more than $45 million dollars. This has allowed the Alberta Cancer Foundation to invest more than $25.2 million into women’s cancer research, treatment and programs. We have realized an average return of 55 per cent, considered very successful for an event of this size. Of course, the more we raise and the more participants we have, the lower the cost ratio and the more money we can invest into research. Thanks to the Weekend, we have made significant progress in Alberta.
A provincial mobile screening program ran on equipment that was about to become obsolete, threatening to end the program.
Two state-of-the-art digital mobile mammography units offer greater accessibility to mammograms for approximately 25,000 women in more than 100 rural Alberta communities each year. These units equipped with an examining room have the potential to offer mobile cervical screening in future. This same leading technology was introduced at the Cross Cancer Institute and at fixed screening facilities in Calgary and Edmonton. In total, it’s an $11 million investment funded by The Weekend! Click for a video of one of the these one-of-a-kind units.
The Alberta Breast Cancer Research Initiative was launched in 2005 to build a focused research program with 12 new projects at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge.
There are now more than 50 breast-cancer research projects funded by The Weekend. And, when gynecological cancer research is added, nearly 80 research projects in total are supported by funds raised in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer.
Recruitment is underway to attract a leading researcher to the endowed $5 million Weekend to End Breast Cancer Research Chair.
Step by Step - Pushing the boundaries of medical knowledge
• Dr. Christine Friedenreich, funded by The Weekend, found that physical activity can reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancer.
• Dr. Bassam Abdulkarim is testing a new radiation technology on breast cancer patients following a partial mastectomy. With Weekend funding, he hopes to reduce the incidence of skin fibrosis by about 20 per cent.
• Patients who receive emotional support are better equipped to deal with cancer. Weekend funding is supporting Dr. Linda Carlson’s psychosocial research into alternative therapies that help cancer patients and their families deal with stress and anxiety.
• Dr. Linda Cook’s funded research focuses on the causes of ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer and finding new, easily measured biomarkers that identify these cancers early in their development so that effective prevention and early detection strategies can be developed.
• Weekend funding is helping Dr. John Mackey find the right drugs to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. His research analyzes breast tumour samples to understand why some women are free of the disease following therapy and others are not.
• Dr. Neil Hagen’s research funded by The Weekend is testing a faster way to deliver pain medication, giving palliative patients the best quality of life in the time they have.
Step by Step - Easing the cancer journey
• Weekend funding helps patients and families focus on standing up to cancer by providing short-term financial assistance for rent, utilities, transportation, groceries and medication for those in need.
• A $1-million compassionate funding program enabled more than 180 women to be treated with Herceptin, an exciting new drug that was under review for government funding.
Where We Go From Here
Walkers have been the energy behind significant progress against breast cancer. Thanks to walkers and donors, we know more about prevention, detecting cancer early and treating breast cancer more effectively. It’s time to take that same energy to all women’s cancers, such as breast, cervical, endometrial, uterine and ovarian cancers to accelerate progress towards a cancer-free future right here in Alberta.
You can join or support a walker in the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancer.