By: Colleen Seto
Not even two years ago, cancer patients living in Grande Prairie who needed radiation therapy had no choice but to drive to Edmonton. Now, the cancer centre at Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is home to two radiation vaults, so the four-and-a-half-hour trek to Edmonton is no longer required — a big relief, particularly during formidable Alberta winter storms. Grande Prairie’s cancer centre — which has a specialized staff including a radiation oncologist and therapists — is the fifth in the province and the only facility in northern Alberta to offer radiation therapy.
While the facility itself is a huge boon for the community, so too is the partnership between the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation (GPRHF) and the Alberta Cancer Foundation. This partnership aims to support cancer care to serve the Grande Prairie region, and it’s a great example of how charities coming together makes life better for Albertans.
“After raising some funds jointly over the last few years, we now have a more solidified agreement to be partners in cancer care in our region,” says Keith Curtis, GPRHF’s executive director. The partnership makes it simpler for GPRHF to provide support in a bigger and more substantial way by directing donations straight to regional cancer care initiatives, such as the mobile mammography unit and other patient-centred services. In fact, through the partnership, GPRHF committed $100,000 this February — and donated the funds in April — specifically to support cancer patients at Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.
“A big outcome of this partnership, and it’s one of our overarching tenets, is to keep people as close to home as possible,” says Curtis. The GPRHF raises funds for specialized equipment and programs so, as much as possible, patients can stay within Grande Prairie or the Peace Region for their care. Not having to travel for treatment has huge benefits, mentally, physically and financially. When patients can receive care near the comfort of their homes, they can also remain closer to support networks and their entire cancer journey can be more manageable.
“The partnership offers a stronger means of ensuring that support is given where it’s needed locally,” affirms Curtis. “It helps ensure the best health care is provided in Alberta, as close to home for patients as possible. That’s really what we’re trying to do — work with other agencies, such as the Alberta Cancer Foundation, in order to help make services available closer to people or to get them home faster. These partnerships work, and it’s what’s best for the overall health of Albertans.”
The Alberta Cancer Foundation’s community philanthropy team is focused on growing its local presence in communities all across Alberta through meaningful conversations and rewarding partnerships. Contact Martine Grenon-Lafontaine, Manager, Community Engagement at 587-224-5865 or Martine.Grenon-Lafontaine@albertacancer.ca to start a partnership conversation in support of cancer care in your community or region.