COQUITLAM, B.C. – A local family has raised over $90,000 to support cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency in memory of their mother. The Sarabjit Gill Memorial Fund benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation will advance research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of endometrial cancer, the fourth most common cancer among Canadian women.

Mandeep and her siblings, Jag and Manpreet Gill lost their mother to endometrial cancer – a type of cancer that begins in the uterus – more than two years ago. By the time she was diagnosed with the disease, the cancer was so aggressive and so far spread that the treatment options available were limited.

“We hope that our gift will help researchers to further understand this disease so that no family has to suffer the untimely loss of a loved one,” shares Mandeep. “We also wanted to do something that embodies our mother’s kindness, so the decision to support a research initiative that brings hope to others came naturally.”

Endometrial cancer has been understudied in the past, limiting improvements to treatments and survival rates. “Currently, clinicians are often unable to tell their patients if their disease has been definitively cured by surgery or if they will need further treatment,” explains Dr. Jessica McAlpine, a gynecologic oncologist and translational researcher at the BC Cancer Agency who is heading a research study focused on endometrial carcinoma.

“With the support of the Gill family, we will be able to use the latest genomic sequencing technology to classify the diverse changes in the genetic structures of endometrial tumours. Such information can tell us about the character and extent of the disease, and ultimately help guide patient management, including determining the role of surgery, chemotherapy and the frequency of follow-up care for the patient.”

“More importantly, knowing more about the molecular make-up of endometrial carcinoma may reveal possible new specific treatments for this disease”, says Dr. McAlpine.

The Gill family is touched by the outpouring of community support they received during the last two years. Through the generosity of family members and friends that have come together to honour Sarabjit’s kindness and giving nature, they received over 200 gifts that enabled them to quickly surpass their fundraising goal of $75,000. The Gill family plans to carry on their mother’s legacy by continuing to fundraise for the Sarabjit Gill Memorial Fund.

President and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation Douglas Nelson says, “The way in which the Gill family has honoured Sarabjit and the way the community came together is inspirational. The Sarabjit Gill Memorial Fund lays the foundation for discoveries that will have a meaningful impact on future cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

For those interested in more information about the Sarabjit Gill Memorial Fund and how you can help support endometrial cancer research, please visit: http://bccancerfoundation.com/sarabjitgill

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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

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Halimah Basrael, Marketing + Communications Coordinator
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604.707.5946
e. halimah.basrael@bccancer.bc.ca