Alberta Cancer Foundation

ou may have heard the exciting news about a new cancer centre being built in Calgary. Our donors have been telling us that this new facility in the south is an urgent priority, so in March, we were excited to be part of the Government of Alberta’s announcement to build this new comprehensive centre.

Our board of trustees from across the province has worked hard to help make the announcement happen. We have been quietly working behind the scenes – via a committee made up of trustees Heather Culbert, Angela Boehm and me, John Osler, to review the foundation’s capacity for a capital campaign and to bring stakeholders together in the support of the new facility. We are thrilled to have former Enbridge CEO and president, Pat Daniel, guiding our capital campaign. We know that his visionary leadership and commitment to the Alberta Cancer Foundation will help us reach our $200-million goal.

Calgary’s new facility will complement the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and position Alberta as having one of the best provincial cancer programs in this country.
Under one roof, the new centre will see researchers working alongside oncologists and care teams, bringing innovative treatment options to cancer patients and their families. As Alberta Health Service’s Dr. Paul Grundy says in this issue of Leap, this new centre will help the entire health-care system provide better support to cancer patients, from the first symptom to survivorship or palliative care.

You will also read about how Dr. Michael Smylie, a medical oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute, has transformed melanoma patients’ lives through research and clinical trials. As a result, survival rates have increased from a dismal five per cent to 20 per cent. That’s progress.

Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, this issue’s Research Rockstar, is applying his work on DNA damage and repair to the correlation between lung cancer and radon-related radiation (almost seven per cent of Canadians are living in homes with elevated radon levels). He believes we can eliminate radon-induced lung cancer within two generations if we identify homes in Alberta with high levels of this gas.

Staff and patients at the Cross Cancer Institute just said goodbye to Laurena Beirnes, who retired after 25 years from her role as co-ordinator for northern Alberta’s bone marrow transplants. Her position includes providing patients with excellent care and support before and after travelling south to Calgary – one of the largest BMT clinics in Canada.

All of these people – and more – are powerful parts of Alberta’s cancer-free movement, making transformational impacts and easing the journey for those facing cancer. We are privileged to tell their transformational
stories and share them with you.

John Osler, Chair
Alberta Cancer Foundation

Myka Osinchuk, CEO
Alberta Cancer Foundation