Alberta Cancer Foundation

We Cross Cancer Campaign Saves Lives

By: Colleen Seto

Alberta Cancer Foundation, Cross Cancer fundraising campaign co-chairs, and community philanthropists, Angus Watt and Cory Janssen, at the Cross Cancer Institute. Photograph courtesy by John Ulan.

Every year, 20,000 Albertans are diagnosed with cancer, affecting them and their families. That’s why the Alberta Cancer Foundation launched the We Cross Cancer campaign this past April. In an effort to raise $30 million for the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, the campaign will accelerate and create more made-in-Alberta solutions for treating cancers, primarily by doubling the capacity for clinical trials at the institute.

Co-chairs for the campaign, Angus Watt and Cory Janssen, know first-hand the excellent care the Cross provides and fully support better treatment options through ground-breaking research.

Janssen’s brother and father both experienced cancer, and he recalls how, “the care we received was second to none. That level of care makes a huge difference in the community.”

Watt agrees, saying, “The reason my wife is alive today is the great doctors at the Cross, and we want to keep those people here. The funds we raise will go directly into research at the Cross. Great researchers are great doctors, and great doctors are great researchers. We want to maintain those great clinicians and create a place to attract the best of the best.”

“The smartest people want to work with the smartest people,” adds Janssen. Drawing on the top researchers who call Alberta home to develop the Cross as a state-of-the-art research centre will bring other great minds to Edmonton. “[It will] be a legacy for our children and community.

“I’m a tech guy,” continues Janssen, who co-founded AltaML, a developer of machine-learning applications. “There’s so much parallel in medicine when we think about how we build more homegrown solutions that can make a difference around the world. Many of the things that seemed almost like science-fiction 20 years ago are standard of care now.”

Holding more clinical trials at the Cross also means more Albertans, and Edmontonians in particular, living with cancer, can access cutting-edge treatments for better outcomes. For patients who have exhausted existing options, clinical trials provide valuable insight and hope for them as well as for people facing cancer in the future. Treatments developed at the Cross can and have become the standard of care worldwide.

Watt, who runs his own wealth-management group with National Bank Financial, points out how every dollar raised comes out to $14 in value through matching grants, pharmaceutical investment and other funding sources.

“When we raise $10 million, the effective value is $140 million,” he says. “It’s a huge lift for research and the economy. But it’s not just about raising money. It’s about extending and saving lives and raising awareness that we have a world-class research centre here. Through the We Cross Cancer campaign, you can make an exponential life-changing difference.”

To learn more, visit wecrosscancer.ca.

Alberta Cancer Foundation, Cross Cancer fundraising campaign co-chairs, and community philanthropists, Angus Watt and Cory Janssen, at the Cross Cancer InstituteAlberta Cancer Foundation, Cross Cancer fundraising campaign co-chairs, and community philanthropists, Angus Watt and Cory Janssen, at the Cross Cancer Institute. Photograph courtesy of John Ulan.