BC Cancer Agency Cancer Research Centre - Graduate student, Interdisciplinary Oncology, University of British Columbia

Funds raised through the BC Cancer Foundation have played a significant role in the work of the lung cancer research team that I am part of, which includes my supervisors Dr. Wan Lam and Dr. Stephen Lam and my fellow students. In the early days of the Wan Lam Lab, the Foundation provided start up funds that allowed the lab to develop new technologies to study the molecular genetics contributing to different forms of lung cancer.

In 2011, I was fortunate to receive the Betty Rice Award (awarded through the Foundation), a scholarship donated by the Rice family that is awarded to medical residents and graduate students doing lung cancer research. Betty Rice was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and a never smoker who passed away from lung cancer. It was a great honour to receive the award and an even greater honour to present my research on never smoker lung tumours to her husband, daughter, and grandchildren. It was a very positive experience for the Rice family to see the type of research their donation is supporting and it was great for me to have the opportunity to interact with the family, learn about Betty’s story, share my work, and answer their questions about what exactly we are doing at the lab to help lung cancer patients.

The Foundation has also contributed to the MDS-Rix Endowment Fund, a project dedicated to the development of screening strategies for early detection of lung cancer, which is critical to improve the outcomes of lung cancer patients. Most recently, the Foundation aided our lab with the purchase of a high-tech machine we can use to study individual lung cancer cells which will enable us to better understand the contribution of single cells to lung tumour biology.

In addition to funding these projects, the BC Cancer Foundation supports the BC Cancer Agency’s annual conference, where scientists, doctors, students, and patients from all disciplines congregate to share and highlight the progress made in cancer research throughout the year. The conference is a great opportunity to present work, obtain feedback, and generate new ideas and collaborations, each of these being key to the advancement of our understanding of cancer biology and our ability to treat it. Hearing about all of the successes is very inspiring and the conference would not be possible without the help of the Foundation.

Thanks for reading,

Kelsie