October 19, 2023
Event runs from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
KF Centre for Excellence
5800 Lapointe Dr
The 2023 Evening of Inspiration builds upon the 2022 public launch of BC Cancer’s Foundation most ambitious campaign to date – GoBeyondBelief
As we celebrate the astounding generosity of supporters like you, there is still much to be done on the path to a world where cancer is powerless.
We all know someone who has or is courageously facing cancer. Join us as we continue to go Beyond Belief for you, your families and communities across the province.
Beyond limits, beyond barriers, beyond impossible.
We invite you to join us for a memorable evening, filled of hopeful conversations, the latest from world-leading BC Cancer experts, live music and delicious refreshments. We look forward to seeing you.
Dr. Ross Halperin
Executive Medical Director & Medical Oncologist
BC Cancer – Kelowna
Dr. Ross Halperin, FRCPC, obtained his MD at the University of Alberta, completing his Radiation Oncology residency at the Cross Cancer Institute (CCI) in Edmonton, Alberta. After residency, he did a fellowship in lung cancer three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) at Washington University Mallinckrodt institute. He moved to Kelowna in 2003 to join BC Cancer – Kelowna’s Radiation Oncology department where he commenced its prostate brachytherapy program. Dr. Halperin has served as regional professional practice leader of radiation oncology at BC Cancer – Kelowna as well as interim vice president for radiation therapy, functional imaging, surgical and oral oncology at BC Cancer. He is a past president of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology and is a board member of the Canadian Radiation Oncology Foundation.
President and CEO
BC Cancer Foundation
Sarah has had a 26-year career as a fundraising professional. She has been the CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation for eight years, in which she has elevated the BC Cancer Foundation’s revenue to record heights in all lines of business.
She previously worked for Boston Children’s Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Hospital where she was a part of two multi-billion dollar campaigns, and spent eight years as the assistant dean of development and alumni relations in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.
Dr. Brad Nelson
Distinguished Scientist and Director, Deeley Research Centre Co-Director of BC Cancer’s Immunotherapy Program
Professor of Biochemistry/Microbiology at the University of Victoria
Professor of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia
Dr. Nelson received training at the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (postdoc), and in 2003 became founding Director of the Deeley Research Centre. His laboratory is pursuing the development of innovative immunotherapies for cancer with areas of focus including understanding how tumour-reactive T cells and B cells promote cancer patient survival; using genomic and bioinformatic methods to decipher the barriers to effective immunotherapy; and using the power of genetic engineering to create more precise and potent immune cells for use in immunotherapy.
Dr. Susan Ellard
Medical Oncologist and Department Head, Medical Oncology
BC Cancer – Kelowna
Dr. Ellard obtained her MD at the University of Toronto, then completed specialty training in Vancouver and a research fellowship in new drug development in Glasgow. With over 25 years of clinical experience, she has been with BC Cancer- Kelowna since its establishment. She is the department leader for medical oncology at BC Cancer-Kelowna, specializing in gynecologic, genitourinary, and breast cancers. Dr. Ellard initiated the clinical trials program at BC Cancer – Kelowna, and has been a leading clinical trial investigator at BC Cancer throughout her career.
Romanza del Arco – Denis Letourneau and Susan Schaffer
Denis Letourneau was recognized with the Okanagan Arts Award in 2008 for the depth and breadth of his musical contributions to the Okanagan. He served as Concertmaster of the Okanagan Symphony for 39 Seasons, and was featured as a guest artist with the OSO on several occasions, including performing for Queen Elizabeth II in her Silver Jubilee celebration. As first violinist of Heartstrings quartet, he performed for visiting dignitaries including U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Sr, Astronaut and Senator John Glenn, and numerous western Canadian Premiers. He is equally well known throughout the Okanagan for his jazz improvisation, having performed on his Ted Thompson 5 string electric violin in ensembles such as The Big Day, Foreign Exchange, The Green Dragon Jazz Ensemble, and most recently, Wood, Wire and Fire. In semi-retirement, he continues to perform in the Classical ensemble Voix du Coeur while pursuing other interests, including sailing his boat Saturnina and dancing ballroom, Latin and Argentine tango with his wife.
Susan Schaffer is well known to Okanagan audiences, having served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Okanagan Symphony for more than three decades, and more recently, filling in as Concertmaster during the past three Seasons, as well as performing three series as a guest artist. In addition to her OSO work, she has performed with myriad ensembles, including with the Kamloops Symphony, where she was Principal Viola for 10 seasons, Opera Kelowna, Okanagan Festival Singers, Aura Chamber Choir, Heartstrings Quartet and Romanza del Arco duo, and has been a featured artist at the Vernon Proms All Bach concerts for the past six years. Her studies began in Southern Alberta, where she performed with the Lethbridge Symphony for seven seasons before completing a B.Mus. degree from UBC under full scholarship, in addition to training at the Banff Centre and with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. She has been an avid violin/viola teacher in Kamloops, at the Kelowna Community Music School and at Fountainview Academy near Lillooet, and currently teaches exclusively at her home studio in Armstrong. Aside from her musical endeavours, you’ll find her dancing with her husband Denis Letourneau, or walking in the woods with their poodle, Grace.
As a duo, Denis and Susan have been performing as Romanza del Arco since 1992. They have toured from Osoyoos to Lillooet, Abbotsford to Lake Louise, and most points between, playing extant Classical duos from four centuries as well as their own arrangements.