Vancouver, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation’s 10th annual Inspiration Gala, presented by Encana, raised a record-breaking $5 million in support of the BC Cancer Agency’s Personalized Onco-Genomics Program (POG).

Philanthropy reined over the evening of fine wines, decadent food, and luxurious auction items, ensuring that the future of integrating genomic sequencing into standard cancer care becomes a reality for patients tomorrow. The $5 million raised at the Inspiration Gala will immediately support phase II of POG, seeing 300 patients enter a world-first clinical study that provides oncologists with game-changing genomic data to guide treatment decisions.

A moving tribute to the late Dr. Donald Rix—the first POG participant whose belief in genomics and willingness to take part in an early study initiated this tidal shift in the way cancer is being treated—was followed by a $1.5 million gift announcement from the Rix Family Foundation. Generosity erupted in the Fairmont Pacific Rim ballroom as guests raised their paddles in donations surpassing $1 million.

2014 Inspiration Gala Chair, Tamara Taggart, was moved by the commitment of British Columbians to improve cancer care for all: “As someone who was diagnosed with a rare cancer almost three years ago, the POG program really speaks to me. The medicine used to treat my cancer was developed for another cancer and research turned this into a life-saver for me. The generosity of Inspiration Gala supporters will ensure research brings about real change,” remarked Taggart.

With BC Cancer Foundation support, Dr. Janessa Laskin, co-lead of POG and medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, will harness the technological expertise of the Genome Sciences Centre to guide treatment decisions for patients enrolled in POG. “We are leading the world in our ability to take genome sequencing technology directly to patients in the clinic, essentially cracking the cancer code and offering new treatment solutions for patients with the most challenging cancers,” said Dr. Laskin. 

Douglas Nelson, President and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, thanked 2014 Inspiration Gala Chair Tamara Taggart, committee members and guests for their outstanding generosity, providing the platform to take a giant leap into the future of cancer care. “These funds will turn the hopes of cancer patients into life-saving options in the very short-term,” said Nelson.

Roche Canada contributed $1 million toward the program, “We believe in the power of personalized medicine and our gift to the BC Cancer Foundation will help BC Cancer Agency experts in their ability to deliver what patients need next,” said Ronnie Miller, CEO, Roche Canada.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the BC Cancer Foundation’s Inspiration Gala has raised $20 million to accelerate research in lung, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, brain, colorectal, lymphoid cancers and personalized medicine at the BC Cancer Agency. The Gala has enabled groundbreaking discoveries in each of these projects, enriching our understanding of cancer, informing new treatment protocols, and helping to save lives. Over the past decade, Gala funding has led directly to targeted therapies for ovarian and lymphoid cancers, a comprehensive BrainCare BC program and clinical trials in brain cancer, the development of advanced clinical tests for acute myeloid leukemia, and world-first discoveries of the genetic make-up and subtypes of breast cancer.

 

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Media contact: Allison Colina
Communications Manager
e. Allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca
t. 604-707-5934

The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.