VANCOUVER, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation announced $3 million raised at its winter’s magic themed Inspiration Gala on Saturday evening, held at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Funds raised will advance genomics – the analysis of an individual’s DNA to better understand their cancer.
BC Cancer’s brilliant oncologists, bioinformaticians, pathologists and scientists are now one step closer to achieving their mission to break down cancer and change outcomes for the more than 27,000 British Columbians diagnosed with cancer each year.
“A new era of cancer care has arrived because of our generous donors,” said Sarah Roth, president and CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. “Genomics represents a paradigm shift, ensuring our health and the health of our children and grandchildren for years to come.”
Genomics is an area of research and care that touches all teams at BC Cancer as they strive to make the most informed, effective treatment plans for patients. With unique information gained from each genomic test, experts are able to consider tried and true cancer therapies, as well as treatments that have never been used for cancer.
The $3 million raised at the Inspiration Gala will help patients like seventeen-year-old Michelle Reilly, who is facing Glioblastoma Multiform of the spine. Michelle’s mom Carla, key speaker during the evening, moved the audience as she shared her daughter’s devastating diagnosis, but hopeful outlook, as Michelle’s disease was matched to a promising immunotherapy drug through the Personalized Onco-genomics Program (POG).
“Not only did the POG program offer hope for our family, it offers a look into the incredible future of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and that’s something we can all be hopeful for,” says Carla. “Although Michelle’s future is unclear this important information is still being used to look at more treatment options specialized for her. The results could also greatly help the survival of another patient just like Michelle.”
The night kicked-off with a special $360,000 gift announcement from the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation in memory of a director who passed away from lymphoma earlier this year.
With more than 500 guests in attendance in a magical frosted room, the crowd was so moved by the stories shared that during the live auction fund-a-need, an anonymous donor raised their paddle for an incredible $500,000. Then, another anonymous donor raised their paddle for $250,000, followed by a subsequent $250,000 from the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation.
After all the live auction items had been sold, the room was taken by pleasant surprise when Dr. Marco Marra, director and distinguished scientist, BC Cancer’s Genome Sciences Centre, took the stage to auction off his double-helix DNA tie which sold for $11,000.
Generous community support will enable BC Cancer to lead transformative work with state-of-the art whole genome technology and robust clinical trials to test new genome-based treatments for widespread use.
“In the next decade, we will see that every person with a diagnosis of cancer will have a full genomic study done,” said Dr. Kim Chi, chief medical officer, BC Cancer. “By doing so, we can design personalized, precision medicine for each person and their cancer.”
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