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A Gift Gives Brain Cancer Care in B.C. a Major Boost

July 22, 2012

Found in News

VANCOUVER, B.C –At the finish line of the Prospera Valley GranFondo, the BC Cancer Foundation announced a major gift of $350,000 from Eleni Skalbania, owner of the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, to support the purchase of Canada’s first AutoLITT brain cancer treatment technology.

“Having hope is powerful when you’re diagnosed with a devastating disease like brain cancer, and that’s exactly what the AutoLITT technology will offer to brain cancer patients and their family members across our province,” says Skalbania, who strongly believes in providing BC Cancer Agency specialists with the best possible tools available for treating patients.

In addition to Skalbania’s gift, cycling team AutoLITT raised over $70,000 for the new brain cancer technology as a lead up to the inaugural Prospera Valley GranFondo. Team AutoLITT is led by Philip Meyer of the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa and Christian Meier, professional cyclist who lost his brother to brain cancer.

Traditionally, brain cancer therapies have been centered on three main treatment options: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. AutoLITT is a new therapeutic system offering the potential to improve current brain cancer therapies and reduce long term treatment side-effects.

Dr. Brian Toyota, head of BrainCare BC at the BC Cancer Agency, is trained to operate this new technology, which allows him to visualize the brain and eradicate tumour cells by manipulating a thin, heat emitting laser probe directly targeting the tumour. He explains that the technology is less invasive than traditional surgery as it prevents damage to neighbouring healthy tissue and reduces the procedure time by approximately half.

“The generosity of Eleni, the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa and team AutoLITT inspires me to continue our efforts of improving brain cancer treatment so we can cure more patients down the road,” says Dr. Toyota.

Meier, who recently competed in BC Superweek and spearheaded team AutoLITT’s fundraising efforts, knows all too well how devastating brain cancer is for the loved ones of those diagnosed. He lost his 26 year old brother, Michael Meier, to the disease three years ago and is determined to see treatments and survival rates improve.

“I know Michael would be proud of our accomplishment today,” says Meier. “Every effort made to support new brain cancer treatments, like AutoLITT and others, could mean that one less person is lost to this disease.”



For additional information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Allison Colina
BC Cancer Foundation
e. allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca