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BC Cancer Foundation’s Inaugural Discovery Luncheon – Abbotsford raises $35,000 to improve cancer treatment options in B.C.

November 6, 2013

Found in News

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation’s inaugural Discovery Luncheon – Abbotsford raised an amazing $35,000 to support the Clinical Trials Program for the BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford Centre. The Abbotsford Centre is a key participant in the advancement of cancer clinical trials in British Columbia which will help change the future of care through more effective treatment options.

The Discovery Luncheon celebrates the importance of discovery research happening each year at the BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford. “The translation of research discoveries into new and effective clinical practices in the community of Abbotsford will yield benefits for the people of Abbotsford, the province, and beyond,” says Erik Dierks, Vice President of Development at the BC Cancer Foundation.

Eight clinical trials are currently underway at the BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford as researchers strive to achieve a higher standard of care for breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer patients. Clinical trials have been known to play an important role in improving patient outcomes through the development of treatment options for diseases that were previously incurable, and through determining the safety and efficacy of patient care strategies.

“The Abbotsford Centre is seeing an increasing number of patients from the community as well as the fast-growing regions of the Fraser Valley,” says Dr. Muhammad Zulfiqar, Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford Centre. “Funding support enables us to offer these patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials which will ultimately guide the oncology community in raising the quality of care to improve patient outcomes.”

Susan Hiltgen was being treated for colon cancer when she was offered the opportunity to participate in a trial seeking to determine if a sufficient amount of chemotherapy can be delivered in three months instead of the standard six.

“As a cancer patient, you schedule your life around your treatment, which then takes over your body with fatigue and other side effects,” describes Hiltgen.

“If patients can be safely treated with less chemotherapy, they can carry on with life a lot sooner. Clinical trials are one of the stepping stones to improving the quality of life for patients, so it is very important to support the advancement of such initiatives,” says Hiltgen.

Local philanthropist Mr. David Holmberg, who had lost his son David Jr., to brain cancer, contributed a generous matching gift of $15,000 at the Luncheon. A clinical trial gave David Jr. 17 months of added time with his family until he passed away at age 48. “I have no doubt that the clinical trial treatments gave David extra time, and I know that what we are doing here today will give patients and their families a reason to hope,” says Holmberg.

With generous support from the 2013 Discovery Luncheon guests, the Clinical Trials Program will help make a difference for those diagnosed with cancer in our province for generations to come.


The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.

Media enquiries please contact:
Monica Bisal, Communications Specialist
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604-707-5934