Sometimes it’s the big things that stand out. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Last week was huge for B.C. Cancer. On Wednesday, our fundraising partner, the B.C. Cancer Foundation, announced that an anonymous donor was giving more than $18 million to be used for both research and clinical trials involving radionuclide therapy — which uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to target the site of metastatic cancers, killing the cancer cells while avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue.
Obviously, this is a massive gift — the second-largest we’ve ever seen at B.C. Cancer. It will enable us to build a team and tackle this critical work, both in the lab and in the clinic. The initial plan is to conduct research and development of radiopharmaceuticals and provide therapy for men with incurable, metastatic prostate cancer — and we will see where we go from there in terms of treating other cancers.
While the latest news is almost overwhelming, it was just a few weeks ago that Gia Tran told her story. She’s been collecting bottles and cans in the Downtown Eastside for more than two decades, and once a week — for 20-plus years! — she’s walked her donations up to the foundation’s office at Broadway and Heather. Gia’s done this because she just feels there are people who need her help. She’s right. And while it’s hard on some levels to compare her $15,000 with the anonymous donor’s $18 million, on other levels it’s not so hard at all. We really do need, and the people of British Columbia benefit from, every dollar that is raised.
Then there are the cyclists — these unique, passionate cyclists. In late August, I stood onstage at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds and looked out over a sea of 2,500 people about to spend two days doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Every year I am struck by this crowd: 2,500 people who all, somehow, raised at least $2,500 to take part in the ride. It’s easy, on that weekend, to be reminded about how much people care. The weather, a fairly constant downpour, didn’t stop anyone from riding more than 200 kilometres. At the dinner, you could have heard a pin drop when doctors and families spoke of their experience with cancer. Do you know how impressive it is, how hard it is, to capture the attention of 2,500 people? This year, as I rode the route, one man from the Interior told me about how he was out there riding because he’d conveniently been in Vancouver for chemotherapy treatments. Another woman said she’d done every ride across Canada.
So it’s the really big donations and the smaller, but no less significant, donations that count from an incredible array of people whose emotional investment in cancer is unmistakable. It’s what keeps us going and drives us forward.
Our goal is to improve cancer care and increase survival rates. People dream of curing cancer but we’re only too aware of its prevalence: one in two British Columbians will develop cancer in their lifetime, one in five will eventually die from it. And in a population that’s aging, and living longer with cancer, the numbers of those who will have it will continue to grow. We, and you, are hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t touched by it.
In the three years I’ve led B.C. Cancer, I have been regularly stunned and delighted by the collective generosity of British Columbians. Your money has gone to identifying and developing new and effective treatments for cancer, which are producing exciting results in a range of different cancers.
Your money has gone into looking at ways to prevent ovarian cancer, a deadly disease that is so often diagnosed in the advanced stages. Your money has enabled us to acquire technologies that allow us to better diagnose and treat cancer.
At Prince George’s Centre of the North — one of six B.C. Cancer regional centres — you have supported a patient comfort fund, so that we’re able to pay for groceries, or daycare expenses, or travel for those from remote communities who can’t readily afford all those ancillary costs that are attached to their cancer treatment.
With this latest gift, we are looking at making further inroads with prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer among Canadian men.
Here’s an amazing number: annually, approximately 90,000 British Columbians donate to the B.C. Cancer Foundation. To those people, and everyone else who’s touched by cancer, I say this: We want to bring innovative new treatments for patients in B.C. — our mandate is within this province. But consistent with our vision of “A World Free From Cancer,” we want our work to have global impact. Dollar by dollar, you’re enabling us to do that.
I am proud to lead this organization, where everyone has the same goal: to make things better for everyone in B.C. who’s touched by cancer. We are inspired by the confidence that all of you have in the work that we do.
Dr. Malcolm Moore is the president of B.C. Cancer.
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Source : https://theprovince.com/opinion/op-ed/malcolm-moore-the-collective-generosity-of-british-columbians-to-fight-cancer-is-astounding