VICTORIA, B.C. – A close-knit friendship has spurred a $250,000 gift to the BC Cancer Foundation that will help advance the latest work in ovarian cancer research.

Victoria resident Patty Pitts’ generous gift honours two close friends – Carol Lalonde and Marlene Palmer – who both passed away from the disease.

Generously donating money from a recent family inheritance, Patty’s gift established The Carol Lalonde/Marlene Palmer Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and will help bring new hope to British Columbians facing an ovarian cancer diagnosis.     

“I wanted to use this money to make a real difference,” says Patty. “I know it’s too late for Carol and Marlene, but it can impact someone else in the future.”

Patty met Marlene in 1980 when both were young reporters at CHEK TV. She met Carol two decades ago and quickly forged a strong friendship as they “hit it off right away.” They soon became travel partners, hiking overseas and taking road trips. Sadly, Carol was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the fall of 2015. It was through Patty that she was introduced to Marlene, and in November of 2016, Marlene also learned she too was facing ovarian cancer.

“Some days Carol and Marlene had chemo treatment together and joked about being chemo buddies,” says Patty. “It helped them to be able to share their feelings and support each other.”

Marlene, a former publicist for Loverboy and Bryan Adams, among others, passed away last December. Then, Patty tragically lost Carol in August.

Her friends’ experiences inspired Patty to want to help change the outcome for other women facing the disease. Her gift will support Dr. Brad Nelson, director, and his team’s work in immunotherapy research at the BC Cancer Deeley Research Centre, right here in Victoria.

“I was so moved by how hard these two women fought,” says Patty of her friends. “I know my gift will make an impact by enabling clinicians and scientists to make further strides in understanding ovarian cancer, saving more lives.”  

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About the BC Cancer Foundation

As the fundraising partner of BC Cancer and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, the BC Cancer Foundation works with 90,000 donors and communities to advance research and enhance care for the people of B.C. Together, BC CAN change the outcome for each person facing this disease. BC CAN break down cancer.

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