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Philanthropy and Research: How Donors are Making a Difference

May 22, 2015

In my last two blog posts, I wrote about progress we’ve been making to improve outcomes for women facing endometrial cancer. Today, I’d like to tell you about the impact one family has had in supporting this research.

After losing their mother to endometrial cancer, the Gill family wanted to make a difference. They approached the BC Cancer Foundation and talked about supporting research specific to this disease – I was lucky enough to have my proposal chosen as the focus of their incredibly generous support.

In the two years since receiving the donation for endometrial cancer research through The Sarabjit Gill Fund, we have had three major publications in peer-reviewed journals with four more submissions planned in the next two months. We are becoming recognized as one of the world centres for molecular work in endometrial cancers.

Certainly, the OVCARE team has a history of strong endometrial cancer work that preceded the Gill Fund (work done by a fantastic PhD student Melissa McConechy) but the difference that the Gill family support made to our research endeavours is tremendous and allowed us to embark on new directions.

There are many other key players in this work: the leaders mentioned in my first blog installment, statistical support from Aline Talhouk and Samuel Leung, PhD students, post docs, pathologists and medical students (Dr. McConechy as well as Angela Burleigh, Hector Li Chang, Tony Karnezis to name just a few).

We have applied for national grant funding to continue this work but would have never had the data to support such a proposal without the Gill family’s help. What a difference one family can make! We truly believe this work can impact care of women in this province and beyond within the next several years.


How do I support the BC Cancer Foundation? Though not nearly as generous in scale as the Gill family’s support, I have enjoyed participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Underwear Affair – these events have provided research and clinical dollars.

I am continually inspired by patients and their families who participate in Foundation events and support them by any means – they remind me why I go to work each day…(and how fortunate I am).


Dr. Jessica McAlpine is a participant of Ride to Conquer Cancer