Your Impact in Alberta
A Message from Christy Soholt of the Alberta Cancer Foundation
Since my inaugural walk, I look forward to this amazing Weekend every summer. Two days where I bear witness to and participate in a movement that changes the face of women’s cancer for all Albertans. This year, 2012, will mark my fourth Weekend and although the fundraising is slightly more challenging and the training reminds me that I am a year older each time, my commitment to walking grows stronger with each step.
I started walking before I knew much about the Alberta Cancer Foundation. I started walking solely to help fund research that would advance treatment and care for women like me that were diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age of 28. I continue walking because I now see amazing progress first-hand. I continue walking because I’ve met incredible people that have inspiring stories of courage, support, and sacrifice. And I continue walking to do what I can for all cancers. We are all part of movement to end cancers that claim the lives of far too many mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and friends. It is a movement for all of us who believe a cancer-free future is possible. It is a monumental event that changes lives.
Over 8 years, the Weekend has raised $47 million for cancer research, treatment and care! We have launched more than 50 new research projects taking place at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the Cross Cancer Institute and the University of Lethbridge. And we’ve made screening and earlier diagnosis possible for thousands of rural Albertans with two mobile facilities, fully equipped with state-of-the-art digital mammography. When I meet with researchers in the province, or sit with my oncologist for a yearly appointment, or walk through the halls of the cancer centres, I am fortunate enough to see how this investment has made a difference.
But we can’t stop here. This year more than 2,700 new women’s cancer cases will be diagnosed in our province and sadly more than 600 women will lose their lives to breast and gynecological cancers. While we celebrate many milestones, we owe it to those we love to continue walking until we can prevent or cure all cancers.
We need to keep the momentum going. My husband, Trevor, and I will once again join thousands of you throughout the streets of Calgary, each with your own reason for walking. Our team is dedicated to Dad’s girls and is in memory of my Dad that passed away from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010. Dad would do anything for his daughters, granddaughters and my Mom. He was devastated by my diagnosis as I was by his. He often said if one of us was to succumb to the disease he would much rather have it be him than me. In his absence, Trevor and I walk for progress for those he loved. One step at a time, one dollar at a time, we know we are making a difference.
As a member of Alberta Cancer Foundation team, and as a survivor, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a woman, I invite you to walk with me on July 21-22 in Calgary, in the 2012 Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers!
-ask a friend or family member to join you - and take your first steps toward a cancer-free future.
Alberta Cancer Foundation
Progress Brought to You By Shoppers Drug Mart
Weekend to End Women’s Cancers
Step by Step - Accomplishing Significant Progress
||In 2004, the Alberta Cancer Foundation was able to invest just $300,000 annually in breast cancer research.
||Thanks to past Weekend participants and donors, over 8 years, the Weekend has raised $47 million for cancer research, treatment and care.
||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 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.
Working on Your Behalf
The following are just some of the Alberta researchers whose work is supported by funds from Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers:
|Dr. Bassam Abdulkarim
Dr. Oliver Bathe
Dr. Nigel Brockton
Dr. Robert Campbell
Dr. Gordon Chan
Dr. Sambu Damaraju
Dr. Doug Demetrick
Dr. Christine Friedenreich
Dr. Don Fujita
Dr. Mark Glover
Dr. Neil Hagen
Dr. Michael Hendzel
Dr. Frank Jirik
Dr. Olga Kavalchuk
Dr. Susan Lees Miller
Dr. Roger Leng
|Dr. John Mackey
Dr. Tony Magliocco
Dr. Don Morris
Dr. Derrick Rancourt
Dr. Wilson Roa
Dr. Michael Sawyer
Dr. Sanjay Sharma
Dr. Andrew Shaw
Dr. Carrie Shemanko
Dr. David Stuart
Dr. Sung-Woo Kim
Dr. Katia Tonkin
Dr. Joan Turner
Dr. Jack Tuszynski
Dr. Michael Wienfeld
About Alberta Cancer Foundation
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is more than a charity. It is a movement for cancer-free lives, today, tomorrow and forever. It’s a movement of those who know a cancer-free future is possible and aren’t satisfied with “some day.” It’s a movement of those who won't let anyone face cancer alone, of those who know something can be done and know we need to do it. The Alberta Cancer Foundation is a movement of everyday heroes who honour those lost to cancer and stand with those who face cancer today.
Supporting the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and 15 other cancer centres throughout the province, the Alberta Cancer Foundation is making an impact on cancer research, prevention and screening, and patient support. Some significant accomplishments of 2009 are as follows:
- Funded $14 million of $28 million of research grants awarded by the Alberta Cancer Research
- Established 11 endowed research chairs in whole or in part by the Alberta Cancer Foundation attracting international cancer experts to live and work in Alberta
- Provided funding to launch 37 additional Alberta cancer research projects last year
- Funded Canada's first long-term epidemiology study following 30,000 healthy Alberta volunteers to learn more about who gets cancer and why
- Presented more than 25,000 women across the province with access to state-of-the-art traveling digital mammography screening units
- Supported hundreds of patients through their cancer journeys through the following:
- 548 patients received much-needed financial assistance
- 10,000 patients and families attended patient orientation at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre
- 1,062 patients and families participated in the Arts and Medicine program at the Cross Cancer Institute
- Raised more than $20 million through direct gifts, more than 300 volunteer community fundraising events, annual major events including The Weekend to End Women's Cancer, The Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the Underwear Affair, and the annual Cash and Cars Lottery.
In short, support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation helps move Albertans closer to a cancer-free future. Through groundbreaking research, evidence-based prevention campaigns and support for patients and families, the money raised has a big impact. For more information about the Alberta Cancer Foundation visit albertacancer.ca.
For more information please call .
Thrive on Wellness
Alberta Cancer Foundation's 5-year Cancer Prevention Initiative
The Alberta Cancer Foundation has funded Thrive on Wellness, a 5-year cancer prevention initiative working in partnership with Alberta Health Services. The goal of the program is to support Alberta communities to enhance opportunities for healthy living in an effort to reduce cancer and chronic disease.
In the first year (2011), thirty one rural communities across Alberta took part in the Thrive program through community engagement and priority setting. With the support of seed funding, approximately half of these communities have started projects to address their local needs and enhance the health of their communities.
Examples of community projects include:
The expansion of a community kitchen program in Hinton where participants take part in the planning and preparing healthy meals to take home and freeze. The group is introduced to additional skills such as meal planning, choosing and following recipes, and shopping within a budget.
A community walking program has been developed in Canmore aimed at building awareness around regular physical activity, as well as increasing active living opportunities and enhancing social supports for local citizens.
Cochrane is organizing a Commuter Challenge that will focus on Active Transport options, such as walking, cycling, carpooling/ride-sharing, taking transit, and encourage locals to discover the benefits and ease of use of these options. Cochrane also hosted a Community Health Fair to increase awareness and participation to promote healthy eating and recreation activities, as well as to provide education and resources about other events in the community.
Over the remaining four years of this program, Thrive on Wellness aims to support many more rural communities to enhance and promote healthy living and community participation.
Research and Prevention
In addition to helping the lives of those living with cancer, the Alberta Cancer Foundation also supports breakthrough research and cancer prevention treatment programs. Below are some of the innovative programs that your fundraising dollars support!
Cervical Screening Program
The Alberta Cervical Cancer Screening Program is being expanded to include 680,000 more women, ensuring higher screening rates and better outcomes for those at risk of developing cancer.
The program encourages women to be screened, mails them their Pap test results and reminds them of overdue tests.
Women ages 21 to 69 who live in the North, Edmonton and Central zones of the province will soon receive an introductory letter explaining how the program will help them.
Currently, women who live in these areas receive Pap test results from their health care provider. This will continue, but the program will provide additional assurance for women by sending them a printed copy of their results and recommended next steps.
The program will also provide a safety net for women with abnormal results by sending reminders if they are overdue for follow-up tests. Invitations and reminders will soon be sent to under-screened women.
Click here to read more about our cervical cancer screening program.
Roche Fellowship Progam
Awarded on alternate years, the overall objective of this programme is to encourage people of the highest career potential to complement their medical or science qualifications and experience with a first-class business education in an international setting. It is expected that recipients of MBA fellowships will in time go on to become senior managers and leaders in the health care sector or in health-related industry, and will make a major contribution to economic prosperity.
This year's Fellowship recipient, Carla Prado, focused on the side effects of chemotherapy. People affected by cancer who are treated with chemotherapy usually experience side effects of chemotherapy which may be unpleasant, but are manageable. A small fraction of patients also experience side effects which are unpredictable, severe, and in some cases, life threatening. Developing a way to predict these undesirable effects is urgently needed.
Carla's research focused on characteristics of patient's bodies that may predict treatment side effects. Specifically, people are different from one another with regard to the amount of fat and lean tissue. We have already shown that breast and colorectal cancer patients who have unusually high levels of fat and less lean tissue than normal, have more severe treatment side effects. A new approach for personalizing patient care may be demonstrated through our research. Calculating chemotherapy dose in proportion to each person&'s body's features will improve the quality of life of cancer patients by minimizing the side effects of treatment. This could potentially also lead to a significant reduction in health-care costs related to hospital stay and medical care.
The success of Carla's research had a lot to do with the Alberta Cancer Foundation-funded tumour bank at the Cross Cancer Institute.
Click here to read more about the Alberta Cancer Foundation's contribution.