Message of Thanks
AS THE WORLD TRANSFORMED
Everyone remembers where they were the month when the news came the world was shutting down. We remember the images of once-bustling city streets, suddenly empty. Essential workers navigated going to work while the rest of the world was in isolation. People lost their jobs. Businesses shut down. As the world transformed, so did we at the Alberta Cancer Foundation. We went through our own organizational change to ensure we deliver the very best to Albertans facing cancer and work as efficiently with our partners as possible.
And while covid cancelled many things, it didn’t stop cancer. It also didn’t stop innovation, research and a commitment to making sure we have the very best right here at home. In fact, last year, 52,440 people donated, inspired to help create more moments for Albertans facing cancer. And because of those donors, the foundation was able to respond to the urgent needs of those Albertans and the 17 centres that serve them. Our patient financial assistance programs was accessed 4,400 times. We continued to support ground breaking cancer clinical trials and ground breaking research. Projects like the CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial led by Dr. Michael Chu. This revolutionary treatment involves harvesting a patient’s own immune cells and altering them in the lab to strengthen their ability to take on cancer. Once infused back in the patient, those modified cells proliferate and get to work. Typically an extremely expensive therapy, Dr. Chu’s ‘made-in-Alberta’ clinical trial will use manufacturing sites in Calgary and Edmonton rather than commercial pharmaceutical facilities, to reduce the cost by as much as 90 per cent. Treatment will also be more timely and convenient, as patients have access closer to home. Donnie Bernado was one of the first patients to undergo this treatment in May and by this September was considered in remission. There is no greater news than that. You can read a bit more about him and many other examples of impact throughout this report.
That this inspiration continued despite the challenges in our province and the world is a testament to the Alberta spirit. In a year that brought us heartening stories of frontline heroes without capes, you were also one of those heroes.
Wendy Beauchesne, CEO
and Dr. Chris Eagle, Board Chair