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Doug Chambers: Leading the Provincial Charge From the Inside

April 24, 2024

The BC Cancer Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Doug Chambers, a longstanding catalyst in the Interior region, as the new chair of the Beyond Belief Campaign Cabinet.

Doug brings an international resume and a close-knit, community-minded approach to bring about transformative change to his new role. Reflecting on the provincial scope of Beyond Belief — the most ambitious and comprehensive health campaign in the history of B.C. — he hopes to leverage his more than a decade of experience in the Interior to support cancer research and care on a broader scale.

“We’ve had some really good success in the Okanagan and took a different tack in order to get there in terms of communicating our message. I think that approach has really resonated with other parts of the province,” Doug says of his work on the Foundation’s Interior Transformation Council and the region’s record-time fundraising of $6.1 million to support a new Systemic Therapy Suite at BC Cancer – Kelowna.

“By reframing the complex research and clinical trial work at BC Cancer into tangible progress, which is changing outcomes for patients, we’ve given our donors initiatives they can sink their teeth into, understand, and invest in.”

A distinct vision of ambitious but achievable goals is crucial for garnering community support, he adds. “When we say this is where we came from, this is where we are now, and this is where we are going — that’s what gets people excited.”

Raised in Kelowna, Doug studied mechanical engineering at UBC and then held technical roles in the energy and automotive industries. After switching to strategy and corporate finance, he worked in Beijing for two years, before pursuing an MBA in Singapore and Paris. He was working as a strategy consultant in London when the arrival of his oldest son in 2009 changed everything.

“I was working 80 hours a week, travelling four days a week. It just wasn’t the lifestyle that we wanted. So, it was time to move home.”

Fast forward a few years after settling in Kelowna, where’s he currently a director, branch manager and portfolio manager at Odlum Brown. Doug and his wife Sarah decided it was time to direct some of their attention — aside from their busy careers and family extra-curriculars of soccer, hockey, skiing, sailing and mountain biking — to philanthropy.

“We wanted to lead by example to show our two boys how to make an impact in our community beyond what we do professionally — and our two priorities were education and health care,” he says.

They divided and conquered. Sarah focused on education and Doug took up the reins in rallying community support specifically for cancer research and care.

“It’s so pervasive, it impacts everybody,” he says, including his own loved ones, but it’s bigger than that — advancing cancer care close to home for people across the province has wider reach.

“When one in two people are going to be facing cancer, the societal and economic implications are huge. Oncology is a space where innovation, technology and research have the potential to dramatically reduce that impact.”

In his new role, Doug brings not just leadership but a deep-seated belief that we can chart a course towards a future where cancer is no longer feared but a manageable challenge we face together.

“With prescreening, advances in imaging and genetic testing, I envision a scenario — even just ten years from now — when we can catch a lot of cancers much earlier, when they’re highly treatable.”

But it will take all of us to make this happen says Doug, quoting Regional Medical Director of BC Cancer – Kelowna, Dr. Ross Halperin: “Every community needs a terrific cancer centre but in order to have a terrific cancer centre, you really need the support of the community.”

Join Doug in advancing cancer research and care across B.C. by donating today.