Ovarian cancer research propelled by philanthropy

September 28, 2017

Much of the progress we have been able to achieve to date within the Ovarian Cancer Research (OVCARE) program has been possible thanks to our many partnerships.

Indeed, mentioned in my first blog, the nature of OVCARE as a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution research group makes partnership inherent to our success. In fact, our partnerships extend beyond the medical and scientific communities to include patients their families and the philanthropic organizations that support us.  Maintaining and building on these partnerships will be essential as we embark on our fifteen year plan of reducing death and suffering from these cancers by fifty per cent.

Our goal is to create and nurture a steady stream of discoveries moving into the health care system and becoming standard of care. We can only impact the lives of all women if our research becomes part of everyday clinical practice, and if it is imbedded deeply within the clinical team, this is possible.

Philanthropy is essential in our efforts in this regard. Think of our research as you would a car – major grants are the equivalent of gas you put in the tank to fuel research, but monies from the Foundation allow us to retool the engine so that we can continue along our quest to reduce death and suffering from ovarian cancer.

We view ourselves as being in a true partnership with our donor community. The BC Cancer Foundation has been extremely generous towards us over the years, and we are committed to working with them and their many donors to ensure they know how their money is spent and how much we are able to leverage their donations with other sources.

Another area of partnership includes the thousands of women who enable us to advance our research. When faced with a horrible, life-changing appointment during which they are told they have ovarian cancer, almost invariably these women respond to the news with an amazing act of generosity by providing us with permission to study their cancers.

This is a true act of generosity, because when a woman signs a consent form to have their tumours analyzed for research, the work that is being done is unlikely to help them. Rather, it will help others well into the future. It’s inspiring to think of how many people respond to this difficult news by doing something to better the lives of others.

We are grateful to these women as well as the BC Cancer Foundation for helping us achieve all that we have to date. Together, we get closer to reducing the incidence of ovarian cancer in British Columbia and beyond.

It has been a pleasure being your guest blogger this month and to update you on the many advancements that have taken place with OVCARE since I last blogged several years ago. Thank you for reading.

Dr. David Huntsman