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Alberta Cancer Foundation

From Their Hearts

Irving and Dianne Kipnes were inspired by personal experience to support research targeted on reducing the incidence, and the mortality rate of cancer.

When Irving Kipnes was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he and his wife, Dianne, were shocked. “We both felt fit and had always lived a healthy lifestyle,”
says Dianne. “We just could not believe this.” Irving approached cancer the way he met most challenges, by becoming as informed as possible. “I became an expert in this cancer, even to the point of suggesting what type of treatment I should receive to my doctor. I definitely did not want surgery and was determined to avoid it.”

When his wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer three years later, she took a different approach. “We each dealt with our cancer diagnosis very differently,” says Dianne. “I determined immediately that I would have the surgery. This was followed by radiation and chemotherapy.”

The dark days of treatment, worry and fear are behind them now, replaced by clarity for what is important in their lives, and by vulnerability. “I feel totally healed and well now, but am very much aware of where I have been,” says Dianne.

Their journeys were the impetus for a remarkable gift—the endowment of the Kipnes Research Chair in Radiopharmaceutical Sciences at the Cross Cancer Institute. The $5 million donation, the largest ever received by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, will provide funds to attract a top scientist to focus on developing new indicators to find, diagnose and monitor cancer cells. This research will translate into improvements in both diagnosis and treatment, and will allow more effective monitoring of cancer therapy in progress. The research will be applicable to multiple types of cancers.
According to Irving, this donation is specific to cancer research as opposed to broader scientific research: “We expect this fund will attract one of the world’s best researchers to the CCI’s Centre for Biological Imaging and Adaptive Radiotherapy,” improving on an already remarkable diagnostic and treatment suite of biological imaging tools.

Apart from the desire to support cancer research, the Kipneses hope their Alberta Cancer Foundation donation sets an example. “There is no better feeling in the world than to give to this cause,” Dianne says. “We knew we could not help everyone with cancer, but this is important research that can make an immediate difference.”