Your Dollars at Work
Walkin’ The Walk! A Peek at This Year’s Walk from Paul!
Dear Weekend Participants,
The most powerful force on earth is a large group of over 4,000 women and men with a just cause who decide they want to change the world. This is the best and most accurate description of the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers that I can think of. September 7 and 8, 2013 will mark the Eleventh year of the Walk. It is going to be the best Weekend ever!
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised across Canada by the remarkable women and men of the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. The walking is not easy…..32 km on Saturday and 28 km on Sunday for a grand total of 60 km for the two day walkers. Fundraising is also challenging in that a two day walker must raise $2,000 and one day walkers commit to raising $1,250. However, we know that anyone can do it you are fully supported with fundraising and training advice from the time you register. We have 16 year old students who do the walk, and the amazing 100-year old Kitty Cohen. This is truly a walk for all walks of life!
So why do these brave and spirited women and men sign up to walk? As Johnny Reid sings so brilliantly, because “They want to change the world.” We all want to Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime…..and particularly we want to End Women’s Cancers in Our Lifetime! We have made significant progress at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in women’s cancers research, clinical enhancements and survivorship programs, but there is more to be done, and we need your help. We are one year into our Billion Dollar Challenge, which is a five-year initiative to help revolutionize cancer care by creating a new gold standard of Personalized Cancer Medicine at The Princess Margaret. Every patient is unique. Every patient's cancer is different. So it follows that individualized treatment will get the best results. As one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world, The Princess Margaret has the responsibility to lead the way in improving the standard of care for patients in the province, across Canada and around the world. Changing the paradigm of cancer medicine requires a major investment. The donations you give to The Princess Margaret over the next 4 years will make Personalized Cancer Medicine a reality.
We are going to have another incredible event in 2013! This year, Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, and Camp are all being held in the iconic Rogers Centre! We'll be walking a new route with more waterfront and exciting new neighborhoods, and sleeping under the stars, or, if it rains, under the dome on this historic Rogers Centre Field. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we are so excited for you be a part of it!
Get ready, veteran walkers, for some exciting changes and delightful surprises. Newbies, get ready for a weekend that will change your life. I can’t wait to see you and start walking!!!! See you on September 7 and 8!
Paul Alofs (10 Year Walker)
President & CEO
Click on the image to read and download our full report of how we're using your fundraising to help end women's cancers:
Be Inspired by Dr. Tak Mak
Thank You, Walkers
The 2012 The Shoppers Drug Mart® Weekend to End Women’s Cancers™ marked the tenth year we have walked together what an incredible Weekend it was!
These ten years of shared experiences have formed a long-lasting bond between us, and I am ever grateful for your support and, above all, for your trust.
I can promise you this: as researchers we will do all in our power to reward that trust.
With your help, in 2004 we launched the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research. Today that Institute houses over 100 researchers and clinicians who are working ceaselessly to bring about the defeat of this devastating disease.
However, these past years have shown us that ours is a mission that cannot be achieved by a small group in a short time.
Several years ago, with your help, we took our battle beyond the borders of Ontario and joined forces with the formidable team of Dr. Dennis Slamon at UCLA. Dennis is the inventor of Herceptin, the only sharp-shooting drug for breast cancer to date. Since then, we have gained two more outstanding allies in our fight: Dr. Sam Aparicio of the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, and Dr. Jeff Pollard of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. We share a joint vision, and we will all work together, sometimes slowly but always methodically, and in the end, we will learn why breast cancer starts and how to stop it.
As we continue on in our journey, we can rejoice in significant progress. We now know that breast cancer is not one disease, but several different ones. Some have been easy to characterize, but others remain a difficult challenge. Unfortunately, as you are well aware, we are still losing women to cancer and therefore, we have not finished our work. Our focus is to carry on with everything we have, and develop targeted treatments for every woman that is diagnosed with a gynecological or breast cancer.
So, I once again thank you for your continued support. Rest assured that the research community shares your dreams, and that we remain united with you in our cause to make women’s cancers, and eventually all cancers, a nightmare of the past.
The Impact of the Funds You Have Raised
The walkers, crew, volunteers, supporters and donors of The Shoppers Drug MartŪ Weekend to End Women’s
Cancers™ throughout the years are extremely important to breast and gynecologic cancer work at The Princess
Margaret. All funds raised for The Weekend are advancing Personalized Cancer Medicine in critical areas such as:
$50.5 million to The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research led by Dr. Tak Mak, with 11 Principal Investigators and over
130 staff. Fundraising by Weekend Walkers and donors has been supporting the following:
Dr. Tak Mak and his team of researchers from The Campbell Family Research Institute announced a new “sharpshooter” cancer drug
that will target an enzyme called PLK4, which plays a crucial role in the process of cancer cell division. On July 18, Dr. Mak and his team
gained clearance by Health Canada to proceed with the drug into Phase I Clinical Trial in Canada. * Read more
Scientists led by Drs. Mona Gauthier and Tak Mak have discovered how BRCA1 gene mutations specifically predispose women to breast
and ovarian cancers. Read more
- Dr. Pamela Ohashi’s research into T-cell activation and boosting the immune system to fight tumors. Her work focuses on understanding
the signaling pathways of T-cells to help activate, direct and enhance anti-tumor responses in cancer. Clinical trial of her team’s adoptive
cell therapy will begin in the fall of 2013.
- $5.2 million to purchase cutting edge research equipment and support breast cancer research activities in The Princess Margaret
research expansion at MaRS (Medical and Related Science).
- $3 million to create The Weekend to End Breast Cancer Chair in Breast Cancer Research, held by Dr. Tak Mak, a world renowned
cancer research scientist.
- $1.5 million to the Walker Innovation Program, which supports researchers and new ideas that have the potential for advancing
scientific knowledge of breast cancer.
- $1.4 million to support Dr. Norman Boyd’s research into breast cancer prevention, focusing on the understanding of mammographic
density as a risk factor.
- $1.8 million to support Mass Spectrometer program.
- $3.9 million toward a comprehensive breast imaging program and the purchase of a breast MRI and digital mammography machine.
- $3 million toward a newly revamped and re-designed M. Lau Breast Centre that provides complete care for breast cancer patients.
- $2.4 million to support clinical trials for breast cancer patients, and $500,000 for fellowship program.
- $2 million to support an extensive Tumour Bank, database maintenance and pathology renovations.
- $1.3 million to support Dr. David McCready’s rapid diagnosis pilot study, which is now The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre and sees
up to 1,500 patients a year.
- $550,000 to support the clinical trial of intraoperative radiation therapy, led by Dr. David McCready and Dr. Anthony Fyles.
- $250,000 toward the design and creation of the new Conway Chemotherapy and Transfusion Centre, the largest centre of its kind in
- $550,000 to support the surgical robotics program for gynecological cancer patients.
- $160,000 toward the Familial Ovarian Cancer Clinic, which now also provides genetic counselling for breast cancer patients.
- $2.2 million for other clinical enhancements and genetics research programs.
PMC Foundation Fund
- $9.4 million for the establishment and continued support of the first in-hospital Survivorship Clinic and Program in Canada. This
includes ELLICSR, a 12,000-square-foot innovative research centre, led by Dr. Pamela Catton, and www.caringvoices.ca, an awardwinning
online community for survivors and their families.
- $1 million to provide reconstructive breast surgery for women who have had breast cancer.
- $2.5 million to support the PMC Foundation Fund.
*New cancer drug development is a long and risk- filled
process. We are very encouraged by this discovery and
reaching this major milestone. The drug discovery from Dr.
Tak Mak and Dr. Dennis Slamon announced by The Princess
Margaret Cancer Foundation in June has been cleared by
Health Canada and is in the process of being cleared by the
University Health Network Research Ethics Board before
the clinical trials can begin later this year. When cleared, the
drug will be listed at:
The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Learn more about the institute
Under the leadership of Dr. Tak Mak, who is the first Weekend Chair in Breast Cancer Research, The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at The Princess Margaret brings Canada’s top researchers together to mount a multi-pronged attack on breast cancer. This team, in association with a network of international partners, is:
Directing research into areas targeting genes to fight the disease
Developing new treatments
Conducting clinical trials
The Cancer Centre's M. Lau Breast Centre
has been revamped into a well-designed, integrated and highly functional new breast centre, made possible by The Weekend. The centre officially opened in August 2006.
Why The Weekend Matters to Us
The staff at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre explains how women's cancers have affected our lives, and why The Weekend matters to us.
The WEWC Breast Cancer Survivorship Program
For cancer survivors and their families, The Weekend Survivorship Program, led by Dr. Pamela Catton, medical director of patient education and survivorship, and her team, provides a community of care, support and information.
A very special meeting place is now at the heart of the hospital’s breast centre - The Weekend Cancer Survivorship Centre.
The Cancer Survivorship program - Walking together with, through and beyond - is an integral part of The Princess Margaret's commitment to provide excellent care for patients and their families, thanks to Weekend support. The program features peer and clinical support, guidance in self-care and how to navigate the healthcare system, and a virtual on-line community, Caring Voices.
Promoting Early Detection and Getting Answers Faster
Thanks to The Weekend, Dr. David McCready, head of the breast cancer program, and his team are using state-of-the-art digital mammography and promoting early detection in the community. The Weekend also seed funded Dr. McCready’s rapid diagnosis pilot study, which is now The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre and sees up to 750 patients a year. After being referred to the clinic by their family doctor, in one day, a patient can have a physical exam, a mammogram, an ultrasound and a tissue biopsy, if needed, and review the results with a surgeon. If the tests confirm that there is breast cancer, the patient leaves the clinic in one day with a treatment plan, and takes it back to their referring physician. Weekend proceeds purchased a key piece of equipment that is used in this program, the Xpress Rapid Tissue Processor, one of the world's most advanced biopsy testing systems.
Early detection - The Princess Margaret has expanded its screening program in the community to encourage women over 50 to have regular mammography. One of two new, state-of-the-art digital mammography machines be used in this program was purchased with funds raised by The Weekend.
Ending Breast Cancer One Person at a Time
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC), partnering with Business News Network (BNN) for the 2008 Gift of Stock campaign, took cameras behind the scenes to view some of the excellent work that's being done at the renowned cancer treatment and research centre.
IIn this mini-documentary, we are invited into the home of Paula Seigel to hear about her personal bout with breast cancer. This is one of many of the Cancer Centre's extraordinary success stories in the fight against this disease. Breast cancer is diagnosed in more than 250,000 people each year in North America. In 2012, Paula will be celebrating 10 years as a breast cancer survivor. Her story gives hope to the endeavour of conquering cancer in our lifetime. View Paula's Story
Supporting Research for Other Women’s Cancers
Since 2010, some of the funds raised from The Weekend are directed to research for all women’s cancers, benefitting women who have vaginal, vulvar, cervical, endometrial, ovarian or a fallopian tube cancer.
Canadian data for these types of cancer are given below.
(also known as Uterine cancer)
The Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world, responsible for developing and testing new treatment approaches and raising the standard of care for all cancer patients. Just as we raise the bar in the area of breast cancer research and treatment, we also do so with other women's cancers.
Drs. Stéphane Laframboise and Barry Rosen lead a very strong clinical research team for gynaecological cancers, and Dr. Patricia Shaw heads up a strong laboratory research program for ovarian cancer.
Dr. Joan Murphy
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Patricia Shaw
Dr. Stephane Laframboise
Here are some of the research programs these doctors have helped launch:
- Dr. Shaw is one of the first investigators in the world to have recognized that many ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tube and not the ovary. This knowledge and understanding of the disease could lead to new opportunities for early detection.
- The symptoms of ovarian cancer do not typically appear until the late stages of the disease, and this is a major reason for the high mortality rate. Searching for markers or specific proteins associated with the disease is critical to diagnosing ovarian cancer earlier.
- Dr. Murphy is leading a study involving 2,000 women where two new ways to potentially improve the reliability of Pap smears in preventing cervical cancer are being tested. These tests are for HPV (human papilloma virus) and P16, a molecular marker indicating that a malignant process may be in evolution
- Together with Bayer Inc., PMCC is evaluating a new drug that blocks the formation of new blood vessels in tumours and allows radiation to work more effectively
- Attempting to understand why cervical cancer grows in aggressive and unpredictable ways in some patients and not in others, specialists at Princess Margaret are using new CT, MRI and PET scanners to study the growth of cervical cancer before, during and after radiation treatment (PMCC is one of the only cancer centres in the world where these measurements are routinely taken in women)
Our Report on Women's Cancers
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (formerly known as The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation) has provided an amazing resource for participants of the Weekend to End Women's Cancers to aid your fundraising! Simply click on the link below for an interactive report that explains how YOUR funds help research, cancer prevention, and treatment of women's cancers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. You can view the report which includes short videos with our leading doctors and researchers, or download it in handy pdf form to send out to potential donors! The choice is yours. Just click on the image below to get started!
Message From Stephen Bear
As the Volunteer Chair of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, I am honoured and excited to support you in your work. It is critical to the success of The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and University Health Network that we continue to raise funds to support the care, research and teaching that goes on each and every day on behalf of the cancer patients in our Cancer Centre and cancer patients around the world.
I have chosen to serve as a volunteer for many reasons, but let me give you the most important one. The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre makes a difference! A difference in the lives of Canadians and for cancer patients around the world. I want to spend my volunteer time and energy supporting a place that matters and The Princess Margaret matters.
Why do I believe that?
Research done by our scientists and clinicians resulted in the discovery of the stem cell and the cancer stem cell. This means that bone marrow transplantation is now used throughout the world so that people with leukemia can recover and live long and productive lives. Excellence at the Cancer Centre has made it the only non-U.S. site funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute to design, develop and conduct early-phase drug therapies. This is an important role for our Cancer Centre to play and will allow patients in Ontario to have early access to new therapies. And, our donors have supported such projects as the redevelopment of the chemotherapy day area at the Cancer Centre - a huge accomplishment that provides people having cancer treatment with more comfort, convenience and a welcoming atmosphere. Our donors also supported the creation of the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre, which provides a diagnosis and treatment plan for women with suspected breast cancer within just days of referral. These are only a few of the outcomes that our foundations work has resulted in and that we can be truly proud of.
I volunteer because the research we support will help conquer cancer in our lifetime. If we don’t fund research, we’re saying that things are just fine the way they are and nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to cancer treatment.
We have all taken on the ambitious goal of raising a billion dollars to continue the fight against cancer. We will do this together by meeting or exceeding the targets we’ve set for ourselves and by continuing to innovate in the field of fundraising. As you’ll see in our Annual Report which is now online, we have seen remarkable growth over the past five years and your Board continues to steward the funds of the Foundation for maximum impact.
In 2008, our gross revenues, excluding lottery revenue were $61,678,000 and last year $80,299,000 came in to the Foundation. In addition $ 18,080,000 net revenue was raised from lotteries last year, compared to $13,714,000 in 2008. This is a remarkable achievement, especially considering that our direct fundraising costs, expressed as a percent, were 14.4% in 2008 and 17.7% in 2012 and our general fundraising and administrative expenses as a percentage of total net fundraising revenue were 9.8% in 2012 - well under the acceptable total fundraising costs of 35% suggested by CRA guidelines. Direct costs of our lottery programs of 68% are also among the lowest in the industry and below the acceptable costs of 70% or higher suggested by CRA fundraising guidelines.
I urge you to read the Annual Report. It is our report back to our donors and our community. We can all be proud of the funds we raise, the impact those funds have, and the fact that we keep our costs low. You also need to know that, when the right opportunities arise, our Board will consider investing money to raise additional funds. This is an important part of our social enterprise model, and we have a history of doing so, starting with the lottery program in the mid-nineties. We will continue to do so with the support and assistance of the leadership team, every member of the Foundation and our suppliers who bring their expertise and skills to the table.
Our Foundation stands out in its ability to create new ways of raising revenue. The success of all our fundraising programs, including our event program (Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, the Ride to Conquer Cancer and Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer) is critical to the success of the research program at The Princess Margaret and the Ontario Cancer Institute. As a result of the successful fundraising, as just one example in 2008 the Foundation gave $54,637,000 in grants to our scientists. That amount was $63,484,000 last year! These details and others can all be found in our Annual Report.
I will close by saying that, as your volunteer Chair, and with the support and guidance of my fellow board members, my focus continues to be supporting your professional fundraising, stewarding and managing the dollars you raise, and strengthening the relationships we have with all of our donors. It is important that our donors understand how we spend their money so we will continue to talk about the work that is done in the Cancer Centre, the equipment we buy so that researchers and clinicians can continue their work, and the differences we make to the lives of the cancer patients who are receiving their treatment today as well as in the future.
Together we are and will be a big part of the battle to conquer cancer in our lifetimes!
Chair, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
A Message from The Princess Margaret’s Leaders in Personalized Cancer Medicine
At The Princess Margaret, we are excited to be leading a new integrated approach to cancer treatment called Personalized Cancer Medicine.
This approach will include using a patient’s genetic information to more precisely diagnose their cancer and tailor the most effective treatment for them.
But Personalized Cancer Medicine at The Princess Margaret is so much more. We have always focused on the individual needs of each patient and not just their disease.
That is why we have:
- Developed award-winning clinical programs to assist our patients and their families
- Recruited highly-skilled physicians and scientists who have the expertise to lead important research projects and clinical studies that improve the standard of care for patients
- Built integrated teams that include engineers, bioinformatics specialists and medicinal chemists. These teams are translating new technology and discoveries into improved therapies that will help more patients sooner
Our strong culture of innovation has made this centre a world leader in cancer research and treatment, and with your financial support, we will lead the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine.
Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz
Dr. Ben Neel
What is Personalized Cancer Medicine?
Over the past 50 years, our scientists and physicians have learned just how complex cancer is. Every patient and every patient’s cancer is unique.
There has been a clear understanding for some time that cancer is a very different disease depending on where it originates. So today, lung cancer is treated in a different way than colon or kidney cancer, or leukemia.
But more recently, new technology and insight have allowed us to see that the disease is even
more complex than that. There can be many forms of lung cancer or colon cancer, and a
genetic analysis of a tumour may be required to confirm the specifics of each patient’s disease.
The Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world with an outstanding reputation for breakthrough research, exemplary teaching and
We are one year into our Billion Dollar Challenge, which is a five-year initiative to help revolutionize cancer care. Over the next four years, The Princess Margaret will be continue to be creating the blueprint, developing and implementing new procedures, and setting a gold standard for Personalized Cancer Medicine for all patients at The Princess Margaret, across Canada and around the world.
In addition to genetic analysis of tumours, this new approach to cancer treatment encompasses four main themes:
Detecting cancer earlier
If cancer is detected at an early stage, the prognosis for a complete remission is much improved. Our research teams are working on many early detection initiatives, including:
- Developing and testing better imaging equipment so small tumours can be seen more clearly
- Identifying unique ‘markers’ of cancers that can be detected in blood and serum tests
Diagnosing with more precision
New equipment and procedures that determine the specific genetic mutations or changes that
gave rise to a patient’s cancer are being tested at The Princess Margaret. This information will
enable the experts to recommend the optimal combination of drug and other therapies for
successfully treating each patient.
Targeting treatment for each patient
Improved surgical, radiation and drug treatments will target only the cancer and leave healthy
tissue alone, minimizing toxic side effects. Our scientists and doctors are testing new treatments that can more effectively detect and eradicate cancer cells leading to more durable cures.
Supporting patients and families throughout their cancer journey
Being well-informed about their disease, the treatment they will receive and the side effects
that can be expected gives patients and their families more confidence, reduces anxiety
and leads to improved quality of life. Our award-winning survivorship, patient education
and psychosocial support programs need to be expanded so that more patients can be
empowered throughout their personal cancer journey.
The Billion Dollar Challenge
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation has just marked its first year into the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE, continuing its world-leading efforts to improve the standard of care for cancer patients at The Princess Margaret, across Canada and around the world.
This Challenge is a 5-year initiative to secure $1 billion to revolutionize cancer care by creating a new gold standard: Personalized Cancer Medicine.
Every patient is unique. Every patient’s cancer is different. So it follows that individualized treatment will get the best results.
Changing the paradigm of cancer medicine requires a major investment. The BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE includes the largest single fundraising campaign in the history of Canadian healthcare.
Our scientists and physicians have an excellent track record of leveraging the financial support they receive. So to meet this challenge, we’re reaching out to our donor community with a goal of $500 million which our researchers hope to match with $500 million in research grants.
Your support of The Weekend is helping The Princess Margaret lead the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine.
Long-term Donor support helps fund cancer breakthrough
Thanks to The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers donors and participants, two of the world’s most acclaimed cancer researchers, Drs. Tak Mak of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dennis Slamon of the University of California, Los Angeles, were able to announce a major breakthrough in their decade-long pursuit to develop a new class of “sharpshooter” cancer drugs.
Read Our Full Press Release here.
According to Dr. Tak Mak, “The incredible fact that this drug has been developed solely with donor and grant dollars makes it an even more extraordinary accomplishment.”
Weekend Participants do more than fundraise. They also inspire with the passion they bring to the cause --from the doctors who do the research, to the President of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation himself, Paul Alofs: “Let me be clear, without the support of our walkers and their donors, as well as the extreme generosity of the Campbell family, this breakthrough could not have taken place.”
We have come so far in the past ten years—imagine what the next ten years could bring. Every single person involved in The Weekend makes a difference. Be a part of the next groundbreaking discovery by registering today, and together you can be a part of an amazing group of people dedicated to helping end women’s cancers.
Health Canada provides clearance for Phase 1 clinical trial in Canada
The new drug (CFI-40095) created by the team led by Drs. Tak Mak of The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dennis Slamon of the University of California, Los Angeles, two of the world’s most acclaimed cancer researchers, has been cleared by Health Canada to proceed to Phase 1 clinical trial in Canada. In the lab, the drug has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast and ovarian cancers as well as colorectal, glioblastoma, lung, melanoma, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
Key supporters integral to the research and the development of the drug have been the walkers and their donors in the Shoppers Drug Mart™ Weekend To End Women’s Cancers®, with special thanks to title sponsor, Shoppers Drug Mart, and long-time, robust supporters, CIBC, as well as the Campbell family, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Genome Canada and The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
The drug is wholly owned by University Health Network (UHN). It is expected that the clinical trial will begin later this year.
We are grateful to all supporters and those involved in reaching this critical milestone.
*New cancer drug development is a long and risk- filled process. We are very encouraged by this discovery and reaching this major milestone. The drug discovery from Dr. Tak Mak and Dr. Dennis Slamon announced by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in June has been cleared by Health Canada and is in the process of being cleared by the University Health Network Research Ethics Board before the clinical trials can begin later this year. When cleared, the drug will be listed at www.canadiancancertrials.ca.