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BC Cancer Foundation Welcomes Miranda Lam as New Board Chair

June 11, 2024

Found in General

Miranda Lam knew from a young age that she wanted to make a difference.

“I wanted to be a lawyer because it was a way to effect change,” she says. But she also knew she couldn’t do it all on her own. “Great things do happen with one person, but even greater things happen with a group of committed people.”

Strength in numbers to create real transformation is something Miranda realized when she joined the BC Cancer Foundation board as a director in 2021. And even more so in her role as chair of the Beyond Belief Campaign Cabinet, in which helped the Foundation launch the most ambitious and comprehensive health campaign in B.C. history towards its $500 million goal.

“Miranda has been an invaluable catalyst in our community, bringing both a personal and professional passion to advance cancer research and care. It’s a privilege to welcome her as our new board chair and we look forward to her continued leadership and vision to drive innovation and bring hope to individuals and their families facing cancer,” says Sarah Roth, BC Cancer Foundation President & CEO. 

Miranda joined her first board, at Vantage Point, as a “clueless, young, first-year UBC law student with no experience.” By 28, she was its chair. Service on the boards of other organizations followed, including the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the UBC Alumni Association, Imagine Canada, the Vancouver Foundation and UBC’s Board of Governors.

All while her career — which began as a judicial law clerk to five B.C. Supreme Court justices, a position reserved for top-ranking law graduates — flourished. Called to the bar in 2004, she practised with Davis LLP, and then joined McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where she was made a partner at age 32.

Miranda’s professional accolades include leading lawyer recognitions in several independent publications, Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50 list, Business in Vancouver’s Forty under 40, an Association of Women in Finance Rising Star Award and the YWCA Vancouver Woman of Distinction Award.

Her current role as chief legal officer and vice president, Business Development at Acuitas Therapeutics, Inc, a biotech company and global leader in the development of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology, marries perfectly with her mission to fuel the work at BC Cancer.

“Founded by scientists, Acuitas’ backbone is innovation and research,” she says. And so when an opportunity arose to support BC Cancer research, specifically Dr. Pamela Hoodless’s work using LNP delivery in targeting cancerous cells, Miranda had a feeling it would capture the attention of Acuitas’ Community Impact Committee.  This resulted in a $1 million donation that helped establish a unique multi-disciplinary liver cancer research program.

“Acuitas is always interested in catalytic effect. It is keen on supporting research that is challenging to fund but has the potential for big impact,” says Miranda. “What really caught their attention is that liver disease has long been stigmatized, and as a result is underfunded, due to a perceived association with alcohol use. But we know that is not always true, and that the liver plays a key and complex role in regulating human health, so the potential for this research is enormous.”

Miranda has powerful firsthand experience in facing personal tragedy as a result of cancer. She lost her mom, Lucia, who was 59, in 2011 after a lingering cough turned out to be Stage 4 lung cancer. “From the day of diagnosis to the day of her passing, it was probably a week,” she says.

Like 30% of BC Cancer’s lung cancer patients, Lucia was a non-smoker. “She was the first person to cross the street if someone lit up a cigarette in front of her, and spent her whole life being mindful of what she ate and staying healthy. Unfortunately, anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.”

“Cancer is something over which we often have no control, so we have to look at what we can do about it.”

BC Cancer’s Dr. Stephen Lam’s research around the higher incidents of lung cancer in women of Asian descent due to increased exposure to air pollution in high risk countries hits home for Miranda, as her mom grew up in Hong Kong before coming to Canada at the age of 16.

“The connection between Asian women and lung cancer is a relatively new development. The work being done now will make a difference for others going forward,” she says.

A longtime champion of diversity and inclusion, Miranda is committed to the Foundation’s goal of creating equal access to cancer care across the province. “There are already enough challenges when facing cancer; we need to reduce the added barriers as much as possible.”

Diversity in leadership is important to achieving this, she says. “We have representation from Prince George on the Beyond Belief Campaign Cabinet, people from the Island, the Interior, and from all over the Lower Mainland. Cancer care is a provincial issue, but it’s also very personal. And the best way to create change close to home is through local impact — which has the ability to become even broader impact.”

“Cancer is the world’s number one health crisis, and sadly, it will touch all of us. If we work together, in our communities and across the province, we can be a part of the solution. I am honoured to serve as board chair to support the dedicated team at the BC Cancer Foundation.”