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 (4,500+)
of mostly women 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 I can think of. This September
10th and 11th will be the ninth year for the Walk.
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 28km on Sunday for a grand total of
60km for the two day walkers. Fund raising is also tough in that a two
day walker must raise $2,000 as a minimum.
So why do these brave and
spirited women and men sign up to walk and volunteer? 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! By the way, Johnny Reid and his Pink Tartan team are
walking and Johnny will be singing at opening ceremony!
So let me give
you a heads up on the incredible route this year. We are starting at
Downsview Park where the parking is free and plentiful. We’ll walk a
beautiful city plus park walk downtown through some of Toronto’s most vibrant
and diverse neighbourhoods.
We’ll walk around the U of T, down my
favourite restaurant street in the world (Baldwin Street) and then come out
right by Princess Margaret.
We’ll stop for pictures and celebration and
high fives with hospital staff and volunteers by the score.
back to Downsview through parks and a great and eclectic cross section of
We’ll finish to cheers and hugs and celebration
back at camp at Downsview. Camp is amazing and this year will be a grand
celebration so hang around even if you are not sleeping out.
starts bright and early at Downsview. We’ll travel through neighbourhoods
which have been so special and welcoming in the past as well as new
neighbourhoods. Near the end of the walk on Day 2 get ready for some
great surprises…..actually ALWAYS be prepared for great and warm and wonderful
surprises both days!
Finishing line at Downsview and closing ceremony is
special and emotional and memorable beyond description. This is just a
sneak peak at what will be the most special weekend of the year!
veteran walkers for some great and special new route, camp and other delightful
surprises! Newbies, get ready for a weekend that could well change your
life! I can’t wait to see you and start walking!!!! This will be the BEST
WALK YET!!! See you SOON!!!
Paul Alofs (9 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 2010 Weekend marks the eighth weekend we have walked together, and our eighth closing ceremony.
These eight 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, eight years ago we launched the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research. Today that Institute houses 100 researchers and clinicians who are working ceaselessly to bring about the defeat of this devastating disease.
However, these seven years have shown us that ours is a mission that cannot be achieved by a small group in a short time.
Three 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.
Many of you will recall that he stood before you three years ago at the closing ceremony to express his thanks for your support in fighting a disease that respects no border.
Just three months ago, Dennis met with many of you at the Princess Margaret Hospital to tell you how our joint forces are going to forge ahead.
Today I am pleased to tell you that we gain 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.
At this seven year mark, 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.
We, Drs Hal Berman and Mona Gauthier, have also discovered that the genetic signatures of the worst types of breast cancer are similar to those of ovarian cancers. There are clues in here, and if we can find the common elements, we may be able to develop drugs that can cure a whole raft of devastating malignancies.
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 breast cancer, 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 Mart® 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 support critical areas such as:
- $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.
- $2.3 million to support clinical trials for breast cancer patients.
- $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 750 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 North America.
- $200,000 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.
In 2011, we are expanding the power of this event. Yes, breast cancer is a core issue in women’s health. But so are other women’s cancers and now that we know there could be links between breast and gynecologic cancers, it’s time to evolve our mission. Now, we’re no longer determined to end only breast cancer, but all women’s cancers, step by step.
The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret Hospital
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, will:
The hospital's M. Lau Breast Centre
has been revamped into a well designed, integrated and highly functional new breast centre, made possible by the WEBC. The centre officially opened in August 2006.
Why The Weekend Matters to Us
The staff at Princess Margaret Hospital explains how women's cancers have affected our lives, and why The Weekend matters to us.
The WEWC Breast Cancer Survivorship Program
For breast cancer survivors and their families, WEBC Survivorship Program, led by Dr. Pam 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 www.survivorship.ca. For survivors, the Breast Cancer Survivorship program - Walking together with, through and beyond - is a new part of The Princess Margaret's commitment to provide excellent care for patients and their families, thanks to WEWC support. The program features peer and clinical support, guidance in self-care and how to navigate the healthcare system, and a new virtual on-line community, Caring Voices www.caringvoices.ca.
Promoting Early Detection and Getting Answers Faster
Thanks to The Weekend, Dr. David McCready, head of the breast site, and his team are using state-of-the-art digital mammography and promoting early detection in the community. They are also piloting a process for streamlining all examinations and procedures so the team can deliver a faster diagnosis and start treatment earlier.
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 that will be used in this program was purchased with funds raised by the WEBC.
When a suspicious abnormality is detected through screening or a clinical examination, patients will eventually be able to consult with surgeons, radiologists and pathologists in a single visit so that rapid diagnosis and a treatment plan can be completed quickly. WEWC 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.
Ending Breast Cancer One Person at a Time
The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation (PMHF) 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.
In 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 hospital’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. Paula is a 6-year breast cancer survivor. Her story gives hope to the endeavour of ending 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., PMH 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 (PMH is one of the only cancer centres in the world where these measurements are routinely taken in women)
Our Report on Women's Cancers
Princess Margaret Hospital 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 Maragaret Hospital. 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!