Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division - Impact Report 2009-10
O n t A r i O D i v i s i O n i m pA C t r e p O r t
2009 | 2010
mAKinG tHe mOst impACt...
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, FiGHtinG BACK... “Fighting back.” Whether describing a mom and her infant son battling a rare form
community-based organization of volunteers of deadly leukemia; a new father advocating for tougher laws against cheap, illegal
whose mission is the eradication of cancer cigarettes; or groups of women getting together to raise money for women’s cancer
and the enhancement of the quality of life of every three minutes, research, these two words embody the new spirit that infused the Canadian Cancer
people living with cancer. Society in 2009-10.
another Canadian is faced
Inspired by research involving volunteers, staff and the general public – and
with fighting cancer. exemplifying two of our values of being ‘progressive’ and ‘courageous’ – the
Society’s edgy new ‘Join the Fight’ branding is re-introducing us to Canadians.
that’s why – empowered It boldly declares that we are the number one enemy of cancer. It invites Canadians
to engage in frank conversations about cancer, and to join with us in making the
by its volunteers and donors most impact in the fight against all cancers. Most of all, it reminds us all that this
is a fight for life.
– the Canadian Cancer society
In the pages of this 2009-10 Impact Report, you’ll discover the facts – and the
is working tirelessly to do human stories – behind our fight against cancer here in Ontario. You’ll read about
how the Society continues to do everything we can to prevent cancer from
everything we can to prevent happening in the first place; how we fund research to outsmart all types of
cancer; how we empower, inform, support and improve the lives of those across
cancer, save lives and support the province living with cancer; and how we rally Ontarians to take action, in their
own personal ways, to make cancer history.
people living with cancer.
2 A Message from the Chair It’s thanks to the continuing generosity of our donors that we are able to make
and Acting Chief Executive Officer progress in the cancer fight. Through their support, Ontario Division was able to
With your support, we are raise $85 million last year. In addition to the support from our donors, one of the
greatest things about our organization is the partnership between our staff and
Prevention and Advocacy
making more impact, in more
6-11 our diverse team of 65,000 volunteers located in every corner of the province.
12-17 Support and Information communities, than any other Their shared passion for our mission is truly inspiring. Thanks to all of you for
sharing your time, talents and funds with us; we hope that, in return, you felt a
cancer charity in Canada. sense of pride and accomplishment for your contribution to the cancer fight.
20 Gift Planning But we cannot stop now. There are still many battles to be won before we can
declare victory against this formidable foe.
22 Corporate Development thank you for joining the
24 Bequest Gifts Received Last year’s economic downturn was a challenging time for all charities. But thanks
fight against cancer. to our judicious financial planning and ‘fight back’ spirit, the Society is emerging
26 Corporate Recognition from the recession in solid shape. We remained true to our mission, improved our
28 Report from the Chair, engagement with volunteers, strengthened our connection with corporate
Audit & Finance Committee supporters, and diversified the way supporters could donate. The result? Our
donors stayed with us, enabling us to commit $24.7 million to research, and to
continue to offer valued services and programs to cancer patients and their families.
30 Provincial Board and Committees
...in tHe FiGHt FOr liFe
Transitions on the leadership front also demonstrated the Society’s resilience. We thank Saluting Our Outgoing Volunteer Chair
former Ontario Division CEO Peter Goodhand, who moved from Ontario Division to We pay tribute to Marion Kirsh as she concludes her two-year term as Chair of
become the Society’s National President and CEO on May 1, 2009, for establishing Ontario Division’s Board of Directors. Over her tenure, Marion’s goal was to fully
such a solid foundation for success here in Ontario. To all our volunteers and staff, your embrace two key Society values – “courage” and “progressive” – and this goal
unfaltering commitment in this time of uncertainty was – and is – greatly appreciated. was exceeded. The Society achieved key advocacy wins against tobacco,
cosmetic pesticides and toxic emissions; a stronger emphasis was placed on
Amid 2009-10’s challenges and successes, the Society never strayed from our
singular vision of a world where no one fears cancer. We know that 2010-11 will prevention screening for breast and colorectal cancer; PhotoSensitive’s poignant
include an economy emerging from recession, the increasingly costly and focused Cancer Connection’s photo exhibition and the new ‘Join the Fight’ branding
nature of cancer research, and a continued vigilance on fiscal restraint and financial connected Canadians in new and exciting ways; and despite the economic
strength. We look forward to your continued support as we fight back… for life. recession continued financial strength was realized.
introducing Our incoming Volunteer Chair
As Marion’s term comes to an end, we welcome the familiar
face of Stephen Baron to this role on April 23. Here’s a bit
of background on Stephen:
Society roles: Currently sits on the Society’s Ontario
Division Board of Directors, in addition to the Nominating
& Governance Committee; past Treasurer and Chair Finance
Committee, Ontario Division; active volunteer with the Society
at both the provincial and local level.
full-time position: Head of Finance, Canadian Wealth
stephen Baron, incoming Chair
“This is a truly exciting time to help
Other volunteer activities: Recently served in
lead Ontario Division in its fight
several leadership capacities with his synagogue; served
against cancer. I’m inspired
marion Kirsh, Chair rick perciante, Acting Chief executive Officer on Board of Directors for children’s summer camps.
by the passion and enthusiasm
I see throughout our organization, Stephen lives in Thornhill with his wife Karen and
and I know we will continue to their three children.
make vital progress in defeating
cancer and supporting those
who battle the disease.”
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 3
investing in breakthroughs
• There are more than 200 different types
of cancer and research is key in the fight
to eradicate cancer and enhance the lives
of those living with cancer.
• Every three minutes, another Canadian is
faced with fighting cancer.
• Childhood cancer, although rare, is the
leading cause of death from disease in
Canadian children over one month of
age, second only to accidents.
• The Society’s annual research grant
t h E i M PA C t h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
competition brought together scientific
experts from around the world to help
outsmart cancer by selecting the ‘best of
the best’ projects and pointed out gaps in
cancer research and opportunities in the
• The Ontario Division of the Society invested
$24.7 million in 2009-10 in research in
Canada that spanned cancer prevention,
early detection, new treatment options
• In Ontario, 133 research projects received
funding and over 1,000 cancer patients were
enrolled into Society-funded clinical trials.
• The Society’s investment in research is
producing significant victories. For instance,
incidence and death rates for most types
of cancer have stabilized or declined
during the past decade.
• Research has also led to considerable
progress in cancers that affect the youngest
• Childhood cancer death rates have OUR fight
declined by about 50 per cent since 1985. Lori Taraba (left): Age 46, married with twin boys born in 1997 and one daughter born in 2000, living in Niagara Falls.
My son Brock was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just 10 months old.
• The five-year survival rate for childhood
Having completed 26 months of treatment, Brock is now a happy, healthy 12-year-old.
cancer is now 82 per cent, an 11 per cent Dr. Lillian Sung (right): Society-funded cancer researcher studying the role of infection in children with leukemia.
increase over the last 15 years.
tHAnKs tO reseArCH, mOre CHilDren Are BeAtinG CAnCer
“For the first 10 months of his life, my son assistance. He loves bicycling, elephants, In addition, Dr. Sung chairs a committee
Brock – unlike his twin brother Conner – just reading mystery books and playing video with the Children’s Oncology Group – a
seemed to keep on getting sick with things games with Conner. When Conner wins, renowned group that includes international
like bronchitis or throat infections,” explains “I just challenge him again,” Brock says. hospitals and institutions that lead clinical
Lori Taraba. “By August of 1998 however, trials to improve cure rates for childhood
Brock was fortunate with regards to
the really serious symptoms began to cancers. Their collective goal is to find
infection during his treatment; infections
appear.” After several days of investigation, better cancer treatments so that more
among children during cancer treatment
Lori received the diagnosis: high-risk acute children like Brock can survive.
are common and can be more deadly than
lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). For children
the cancer itself. Although he did contract “It feels incredible to work on the leading
under a year with ALL, the survival rate is
two serious bacterial infections in the early edge of cancer research,” says Dr. Sung.
low and the prognosis is poor. After a good
phases of his treatment, both were “Having seen the devastating impact
cry, Lori remembers thinking: “Now that we
successfully treated with intravenous this disease has on children, their family “my son is here because
know what it is, we’re ready to fight it with
antibiotics and caused no long-lasting members and friends, I feel very
everything we’ve got.”
ill-effects. Other children with leukemia privileged to be able to make a difference of the researchers who fight
Besides Brock’s bouts of chemotherapy are not so lucky. in the fight against cancer.”
in the spine every 16 weeks, he also required cancer every day.”
Dr. Lillian Sung is an award-winning And that difference means the world to
10 days of double-dose radiation to his
researcher at The Hospital for Sick children like Brock and their parents. lori taraba
head. “We were advised that Brock could
Children in Toronto who, through Canadian “My son is here because of the researchers
experience some limitations in terms of
Cancer Society research funding, is who fight cancer every day,” says a
fine-motor, math and language skills,
studying the role of infection in children grateful Lori. “Thanks to research, cancer
speech and physical growth due to the
with leukemia. “In my research, we’re is no longer a death sentence.”
head radiation,” Lori says. “But the doctors
looking for genetic markers that will identify
also told us that there were things we
children who have the highest risk of
could do as parents to minimize these
developing infections, a serious side-effect
consequences.” Once the limitations
that can lead to death in some of these
began to appear at around age two, Lori’s
young patients,” says Dr. Sung. “We’re also
remarkable plan to support Brock kicked in.
testing different treatments to try and
Today, Brock is a healthy, self-sustaining reduce the infection risk – ultimately, we
pre-teen who is fully functional with some want to improve cancer survival.”
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight: the Canadian Cancer society
much progress has been made in the fight against cancer, but more needs to be done. is the largest charitable
visit www.cancer.ca/impact09 to learn how you can join the fight to help us end cancer. funder of childhood cancer
research in Canada.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 5
working for safer workplaces
• At present, we simply don’t know enough
about our exposure to cancer-causing
substances in the workplace. There is no
reliable data on the number of occupation-
related cancers in Ontario, and the connection
between cancer and ongoing low-level
exposure to many carcinogens is unclear.
• We do know that industrial workers are more
likely than others to be at risk of exposure
to workplace carcinogens, and that 20 to 30
per cent of their cancers might be related to
• In March 2009, the Society helped launch the
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC)
– a world-class facility dedicated to
improving knowledge and evidence to identify,
prevent and ultimately eliminate exposure to
cancer-causing substances in the workplace.
The Centre is a joint undertaking funded
by the Ontario Division of the Society, Cancer
Care Ontario and the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board, and was developed in
collaboration with the United Steelworkers.
• The Society’s advocacy efforts, in partnership
with other health, environmental and labour
organizations, led to the introduction of the
Toxics Reduction Act in April 2009. After
its introduction, the Society continued to
advocate for tougher measures to reduce
t h E i M PAC t
• With the support of the Society, the OCRC
has begun making progress in raising
awareness and building a research program
that will ultimately lead to safer, healthier
Fred LeBlanc: Age 43, married, living and working as a firefighter in Kingston.
I serve as the elected president of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.
I’m actively involved in the fight to protect the health and safety of Ontario firefighters, including the issue of workplace toxins.
FireFiGHters BAttlinG FOr eArlier CAnCer sCreeninG
“People have a great fear of fire,” says Fred is getting worse. “Some of today’s new “My profession has me fighting fires while tackling a challenging
LeBlanc, a 25-year veteran firefighter and composite materials burn hotter and faster. our Association fights for firefighter safety,” connection with cancer
president of the Ontario Professional Fire Although firefighters have better protective Fred concludes. “The OCRC goes a step Although there’s convincing evidence
Fighters Association. “They’re afraid of gear, they are still absorbing these toxins further, fighting not only for firefighters but showing a relationship between exposure
to harmful substances in the workplace and
what it can do, how it damages people and through their skin.” all workers, so that one day, Canadian
certain cancers, actually proving a definite,
property, how it traumatizes them, and how workplaces will be free of cancer-causing causal relationship is very difficult. That’s
The Association is fighting hard to inform
it doesn’t stop until we force it to stop or substances.” because cancers can take a long time
its membership – and especially the to form, and because it’s hard to isolate
until it runs out of fuel. I believe that’s quite
medical community – about the need suspected carcinogens from other factors
similar to how people feel about cancer,”
for earlier cancer screening for high-risk in the workplace.
individuals. It’s also actively promoting the To tackle this challenge and drive progress
In 2007, Ontario enacted ‘presumptive benefits of fitness and other healthy lifestyle in the cancer fight, last March the
Occupational Cancer Research Centre
legislation’ covering full-time firefighters practices to help offset the higher
(OCRC) was launched. This joint
meaning that eight types of cancer – occupational cancer risk. undertaking was funded by Cancer Care
bladder, brain, colorectal, esophageal, “the OCrC goes a step Ontario, the Workplace Safety and
Fred is very excited about the new Insurance Board, the Canadian Cancer
kidney, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma
and ureter – can be presumed to be caused
Occupational Cancer Research Centre further, fighting not only for Society, Ontario Division and developed in
(OCRC). The founding partners, Cancer collaboration with the United Steelworkers.
by workplace exposure unless proven
otherwise. “For instance,” Fred explains,
Care Ontario, the Canadian Cancer firefighters but all workers, This innovative centre – the first of its kind
in Canada – will use its dedicated funding
Society, Workers Safety Insurance Board
“firefighters who contract brain cancer after so that one day, Canadian to build new knowledge about work-related
and the United Steel Workers, are sharing risk factors for cancer by working closely
10 years on the job, or those who contract
their expertise to reach a common goal:
bladder cancer after 15 years, now qualify workplaces will be free of with stakeholders, and will apply the results
to better understand and protect workers in the areas of community action, public
for benefits under the Workplace Safety and education, prevention, legislation and
from occupational cancers. cancer-causing substances.” policy development.
“I’m hoping the OCRC will foster greater Fred leBlanc Ultimately, the OCRC’s research findings
“Despite being in better physical shape than
acceptance of the fact that some cancers should translate into vital breakthroughs
most Ontarians, firefighters have an that will lead to tangible actions to help
are occupationally caused,” Fred says.
increased risk of getting cancer,” Fred eradicate the threat of workplace-induced
“Its focus on occupation-related research cancer and enhance the lives of Ontario
notes, adding that cancers are now
should lead to better prevention and workers and their families.
striking firefighters earlier. A major cause,
education programs aimed at workers in
he says, is that the ‘toxic soup’ of
higher-risk occupations, such as firefighters
chemicals found in products all around us
and other industrial workers.”
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight: in north America, Ontario is
Help persuade the Ontario government to strengthen the Toxics Reduction Act through second only to texas in the
tonnes of toxic chemicals being
regulations. visit www.cancer.ca/impact09.
released into the air and water
and going to landfill sites.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 7
Speaking out for change
• Although considerable progress has been
made in provincial legislation supporting
cancer prevention, there’s still more work to do.
Speaking out is vital in fighting back against
cancer throughout the year, so that new
policies are implemented to help prevent
cancer from ever happening in the first place,
and thus build a healthier tomorrow for all
• All year long, Society volunteers and staff
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
actively advocated for healthier public policies
at the municipal, provincial and federal level.
• On November 24, the Society organized its
third MPP Education Day at Queen’s Park in
Toronto, where over 65 Society volunteers,
staff and Ontario Division board members
from across Ontario connected over breakfast
with 42 MPPs, including the Minister of
Health and Long-Term Care, plus
legislative staffers. Public Issues Team
members also held a dozen individual
meetings with MPPs discussing such key
issues as access to cancer drugs;
contraband tobacco; toxic use reduction; and
taking action to restrict youth under 18 from
accessing indoor tanning beds and requiring
health-risk signage be prominently displayed
in tanning salons.
• The Society’s influence in the corridors
t h E i M PA C t
of power is more respected and our ability to
achieve legislative change heightened, thanks
to the relationships built and nurtured through
our advocacy activities at both the community
and provincial level.
• In just one year, the Society was mentioned
Shelley Bresett: Age 42, mother of three children, living in Chatham.
50 times in the Ontario Legislature, Lost my husband Chris in 2006 after his melanoma skin cancer – quite possibly caused by frequent indoor tanning – metastasized into a brain
demonstrating the importance and value of tumour. Now I’m a Society volunteer, tirelessly advocating for healthier public policies.
this event and our ongoing advocacy efforts
with government officials.
FiGHtinG FOr inDOOr tAnninG reGulAtiOns
Shelley Bresett’s husband Chris did all the and painful battle. “Why did he have to North America’s toughest
right things to lead a healthy life: he didn’t suffer this way? Why do we have laws cosmetic pesticide ban
smoke, he ate properly and he exercised to protect us from so many other everyday
After seven years of grassroots advocacy
regularly. Beyond working hard as the dangers, but there aren’t any laws requiring by passionate Canadian Cancer Society
director of a call centre and being a loving tanning salons to properly explain all the volunteers and staff – together with other
partner and terrific dad to his three kids, risks?” health and environment organizations
he pursued his longstanding passion for and thousands of Ontarians – a province-
Once she came to terms with Chris’s
bodybuilding. “Chris did everything he could wide ban on the sale and use of cosmetic
passing, Shelley decided to fight back pesticides took effect on Earth Day, April
to copy the well-tanned musclemen he read
by volunteering with the Society. She 22, 2009, thus helping reduce the public’s
about in the magazines, including, tragically,
provides peer support to other caregivers, risk of developing cancer.
visiting a tanning salon three or four times a
gives talks about cancer prevention, and
week,” Shelley recounts.
serves on the Society’s Public Issues Team, The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act –
Though it’s hard to believe, nobody ever speaking with MPPs about the dangers of “i have no doubt that the strongest cosmetic pesticide legislation
in North America – especially helps
told Chris about the dangers of indoor indoor tanning beds. At last November’s
tanning. In 1999, Chris was diagnosed with MPP Education Day at Queen’s Park, she
indoor tanning led to children, whose rapidly growing and
developing bodies make them more
metastatic melanoma – the deadliest form met with London-Fanshawe MPP Khalil
Chris getting cancer.” vulnerable than adults.
of skin cancer – that had spread to Ramal, the proponent of a private members
his brain. Despite years of agonizing bill restricting tanning. shelley Bresett Exposure to cosmetic pesticides may
surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to increase an individual’s risk of developing
Reflecting on her advocacy work, Shelley cancer. The World Health Organization’s
fight the cancer that had also spread to
says: “By listening to others and speaking International Agency for Research on
his lungs, right hip, pancreas, spleen and
up to help change the laws, I’m doing Cancer has concluded that some
lymph nodes, Chris finally lost his fight on
everything I possibly can to prevent substances used in pesticides are known,
November 7, 2006.
others from needlessly dying from this probable or possible carcinogens, while
“I have no doubt that indoor tanning led horrible disease.” the U.S. National Toxicology Program has
to Chris getting cancer,” Shelley says. classified a number of active pesticide
“Cancer made me a widow at age 38 and ingredients as ‘reasonably anticipated
“He was very strong and fought hard for
stole my children’s father, but we are all to be a human carcinogen’.
almost seven-and-a-half years, but cancer
stronger because of our experience,”
finally beat him.”
says Shelley. “We will never back down.”
Naturally, Shelley and her kids were
devastated to watch Chris’s prolonged
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight: total number of letters, e-mails,
Help the society advocate for restrictions on the use of indoor tanning beds for youth meetings with government officials
under 18. visit www.cancer.ca/impact09. and phone calls linked to society
advocacy campaigns in 2009-10.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 9
tackling the threat of tobacco
• Tobacco is Ontario’s biggest cancer threat,
accounting for 30 per cent of all cancer
deaths. Exposure to second-hand smoke
causes lung cancer and other diseases.
• After years of decline, smoking rates in Ontario
are flattening out. A key reason is the easy
availability of cheap and illegal cigarettes
• Since the majority of smokers begin before the
age of 18, it’s essential to adopt policies that
prevent youth from starting.
• Due in large part to Society advocacy efforts,
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
the Ontario Legislature led the way with a law
banning candy-flavoured cigarillos in 2008.
In October 2009, the federal government
passed legislation addressing cigarillos as
well as tobacco advertising in magazines
• The Canadian Cancer Society’s free and
confidential Smokers’ Helpline phone, online
and text service provided personalized support,
advice and information about quitting smoking
and tobacco use.
• The Society’s Driven to Quit Challenge motivated
Ontarians – with the support of a ‘buddy’ and
exciting prizes – to quit smoking for one month.
The Challenge receives funding from the Ontario
Ministry of Health Promotion and generous prize
support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a
wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc.
• Cessation programs that help smokers quit,
t h E i M PA C t
like Smokers’ Helpline, continued to play a
role in the fight against tobacco.
• Thanks to the 2009 Driven to Quit Challenge,
22,365 Ontario tobacco users were inspired
Andrew Noble: Lives in Toronto with his wife and two-year-old son Thomas.
to make a quit attempt for the month of March.
My father died of lung cancer. As a Society employee, I advocate for changes to laws and policies that enhance tobacco control.
ButtinG Out tHe BiGGest CAnCer Killer
As a youngster, Andrew Noble loved Society, where he advocates for changes in government sues tobacco
playing ball and reading with his father, government policy and legislation to industry to recover health
Arnold. Now, Andrew carries on the enhance tobacco control. His hard work
tradition by reading and playing ball on has led to restrictions on the use of Society advocacy efforts paid off in March
the floor with his own two-year-old flavouring in tobacco products (cigarillos), 2009, when the Ontario government
son, Thomas. and he’s currently battling cheap, illegal introduced legislation that allowed the
cigarettes, also known as contraband province to sue tobacco companies to
Sadly, Thomas never got the chance to recover tobacco-related health care
meet his grandfather. Arnold was diagnosed costs incurred in Ontario, totaling
with an advanced case of lung cancer “It’s frightening to think that 30 per cent $1.6 billion per year.
following an emergency hospital visit in of all cancer deaths are due to tobacco.
September 2004. The radiation treatment On the other hand, if we succeed in In late September, Queen’s Park filed a
$50-billion lawsuit. This legal process will
left him very weak, and after being bringing in measures that lower tobacco
hold the tobacco industry accountable
readmitted to hospital, Arnold Noble, use, we can have a huge impact on “Cancer patients are not
for the harm it’s done to the health of
age 78, passed away in January 2005. cancer,” Andrew says.
statistics; they’re real people Ontarians, and may further restrict the
To help understand his father’s cancer Andrew says the battle against cancer industry’s marketing and sales practices.
diagnosis and treatment, Andrew touches him on many levels. “As a Society with family and friends.” Through the court process, the public will
finally understand that the tobacco industry
consulted the Society’s Cancer employee, I’m proud to fight for policies
Andrew noble has operated outside the rules of normal
Information Service. “My father was a and laws that directly affect the lives of my
business. If successful, the cost-recovery
non-smoker and we will never know the fellow Ontarians. As a son, I’ve experienced
lawsuit could provide funds for other
root cause of his lung cancer,” Andrew the devastating impact that cancer has on essential health care services in Ontario
says, noting that in the 1970s and 80s, a family. And as a new dad, I’m especially and force the tobacco industry to end its
his father’s workplace was filled with motivated to make a difference so that predatory marketing.
second-hand smoke. “The company CEO when Thomas is my age, thanks to
finally banned smoking in the office, long education and advocacy, preventable British Columbia and New Brunswick have
already begun the process of suing tobacco
before it was required by law.” cancers will no longer be a threat.”
firms, while four other provinces have
Today, Andrew is actively involved in the “Cancer patients are not statistics; they’re enacted similar legislation.
fight against cancer through his work as a real people with family and friends,” Andrew
Senior Coordinator of Public Issues at the says. “If we fight back, we will defeat
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight:
total number of unique visitors to
Help us influence the Ontario government to eliminate the production and sale of smokershelpline.ca in 2009-10.
contraband tobacco. visit www.cancer.ca/impact09.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 11
Empowering others through personal stories
• People fighting cancer often have concerns
and questions, and talking with others who
have had a similar experience can be a
• Those who care for cancer patients also
need someone with whom they can share
their concerns and who can provide practical
suggestions to help them in their fight.
• Many patients and caregivers are unaware
of the Society’s Peer Support program, or
wish they had known about it sooner. More
Ontarians need to hear about the program,
so other cancer fighters can benefit from it.
• Through its free, confidential, accessible
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
and personalized Peer Support program, the
Society continued to connect cancer patients
and caregivers with specially trained
volunteers who have had a similar
• In 2009-10, the Society served over 3,000
patients and caregivers and supported 2,500
one-to-one matches, while its 78 active
support group facilitators held more than
230 group Peer Support sessions across
• The Society continued to promote its
Peer Support program, as well as caregiver
recruitment and training, to ensure we’re
doing everything we can to help Ontarians
• The program has made a real difference:
t h E i M PA C t
over 90 per cent of Peer Support users felt
more hopeful, less anxious and more
informed about what to expect throughout
their cancer fight, while 98 per cent would My fight
recommend it to a friend. Eva Salib: Age 57, married with one daughter, living in Mississauga.
I successfully fought breast cancer for the first time in 2004 (two surgeries plus radiation) and received peer support during my treatment.
I’ve provided peer support to 14 patients since 2006, I also volunteer weekly at my local cancer treatment centre.
FiGHters suppOrtinG FiGHters
“I don’t know why,” says Eva Salib, “but explains. “We discussed practical things like Recalling her own battle with cancer,
about 25 years ago, I remember feeling in exercise, diet and treatment procedures, Eva says, “Of course it was difficult and
my heart that one day I would get breast plus how I was feeling. I appreciated physically painful at times, but cancer did
cancer.” As a young girl in Cairo, she had talking with someone who’d been through not destroy me or scar me. As a result of
watched her grandmother undergo very the same thing. She knew the feelings, the my cancer fight, something happened that
aggressive radiation treatment for breast fears and the side effects. She was a maybe made me a better person.”
cancer. comforting person and a good listener.”
Now married and living in Mississauga, Eva attributes much of her recovery to her
Eva’s prediction sadly came true in 2004. Christian faith. “God arranged for me to find
She underwent a lumpectomy, lymph-node the Canadian Cancer Society and their
surgery and then radiation to successfully Peer Support program. From this point,
fight the cancer. Early in her treatment, I decided I needed to give back. It was a
she happened to visit her local Canadian joy, not an obligation.”
“i appreciated talking with
Cancer Society office, where she was someone who’d been through
She waited the required year after
given the Society’s free information kit for
completing her own treatment (to heal the same thing. she knew the
lumpectomy patients; learned about the
physically and emotionally), then began
transportation service (that provided three
weeks of rides to radiation treatments in
peer support training in the summer of feelings, the fears and the side
2005. Her first one-on-one match was in
downtown Toronto); and picked up some
March 2006. “The first time I was on the effects. she was a comforting
brochures. “When I called the Cancer
other end of the phone, I was so happy I
Information Service number on the back of person and a good listener.”
had the chance to help somebody else in
a pamphlet, they told me about their Peer
their fight against cancer.” eva salib
Support program,” Eva remembers.
Except during a recurrence of her breast
Within a week, Eva was matched with a
cancer in 2007-08, Eva has continued
woman who provided peer support for the
providing individual peer support to two or
rest of Eva’s treatment period. “She called
even three patients at a time. She is now
me once a week, and we would talk for
cancer-free, she says proudly.
about 15 or 20 minutes at a time,” Eva
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight:
number of one-to-one
Help the society expand its Peer Support program by getting involved as Peer Support volunteers
a volunteer. learn more at www.cancer.ca/impact09. across Ontario.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 13
helping people one ride at a time
• Fighting cancer involves more than battling
the physical aspects and tackling the raw
emotions of a life-threatening illness.
Fighters also need to work out practical
challenges, like travelling to and from their
• Through its province-wide network of
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
community offices, the Society’s team of
2,800 dedicated volunteer drivers drove
approximately 13 million kilometres,
transporting patients from their homes to
hospitals or treatment centres and back,
which was of particular assistance to those
who may not have had family or friends
available to drive them.
• The Society regularly engages in
evaluation of its programs and services to
ensure the needs of those living with cancer
are being met. The Society’s last user survey
for its transportation service showed that
93 per cent of riders reported that the
service made them feel supported, indicating
that the service meets an emotional as well
as practical need.
• The cancer fight of more than 16,000
t h E i M PA C t
patients was made easier by the Society’s
transportation service in 2009-10.
• About one in five clients surveyed reported
that they would have missed their
appointment were it not for the volunteer
Herbert Francis: Age 74, married, grandfather of three girls, now living in Brampton.
I’ve been a volunteer driver with the Society for seven years. One day per week, I have the satisfaction of driving patients to and from
their cancer treatments.
mAKinG tHe CAnCer FiGHt A little less Bumpy
Having a strong support system makes a One of the drivers who is dedicated to
huge difference when fighting cancer. For fighting cancer from behind the steering
Francis Loh, 78, who was diagnosed with wheel is Herbert Francis, 74. Although no
pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2008, his one in his family has personally battled
greatest support has been Paula, his wife cancer, Herbert – who retired six years ago
of more than 50 years who has been at his from a career as a clerk with Canada Post
side every step of the way. – chose the Society after exploring different
opportunities at the volunteer office in Peel.
Following surgery in November, Francis
“The chance to transport people fighting
began chemotherapy treatments in January
cancer to their treatments felt like a
that lasted until early last summer. He is
meaningful way for me to give back,”
presently awaiting word from his doctors on
he says. “the volunteer drivers are
the next steps in his cancer fight.
A major challenge facing Francis and Paula
Herbert adds that he’s driven patients very nice and are never late.
to nine different hospitals, and that unless
was how to get from their home in Thornhill
they’re having a long treatment and the it’s truly wonderful how they
to the hospital in downtown Toronto for his
hospital is close to his home, he waits for
weekly chemo treatment. “The Canadian
them while they’re inside. “When we’re
give so much of their time.”
Cancer Society’s transportation service has
driving in the car, I can lend a sympathetic Francis loh
been invaluable support,” he explains. “I’m
ear if patients wish to talk about their
retired and on a fixed pension. If I wasn’t able
experience,” Herbert says.
to rely on the service, I’d be spending about
$100 per treatment on taxis, which would “I have the time, and I want to contribute,”
bankrupt me. It’s been a life-saver.” says Herbert. “I’m happy to be helping
people by making their cancer fight a
Francis says that on some trips to the
hospital, he and Paula are joined by one or
two other patients. “The volunteer drivers
are very nice and are never late. It’s truly
wonderful how they give so much of
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight:
total number of roundtrip
Help make the cancer fight easier for someone in your community by becoming a rides provided by
transportation service volunteer. to learn how, visit www.cancer.ca/impact09. society volunteers across
Ontario in 2009-10.
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 15
the right answers, the right way
• Although there’s an abundance of information
about cancer on the internet and through
other sources, its accuracy is often
• Cancer patients, their families and caregivers,
as well as healthcare professionals have
specific questions about cancer and local
support services and are looking for a fast,
easy way to obtain reliable answers.
• Last year, the Society empowered
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
Ontarians by providing them with timely
and customized information through its
Cancer Information Service – a national,
toll-free and confidential telephone
(1 888 939-3333) and online service.
Specially trained information specialists, all
with a background in healthcare, handled
inquiries about all types of cancers in English,
French and 100 other languages through
• The online Canadian Cancer EncyclopediaTM
was updated with the latest evidence-based
information on cancer.
• An online community services locator provided
instant access to contact information for over
4,000 cancer-related community services and
programs across Ontario.
• The Society offered a variety of brochures
in English, French and a number of other
• By providing the very latest and most
t h E i M PA C t
reliable information about cancer prevention,
diagnosis, treatment and support, we helped
Ontarians make the best decisions in their
fight against cancer. My fight
Catherine Le Borgne: Age 48, one of five children, raised in Copper Cliff, just outside of Sudbury.
Lost my father André on January 1, 2010, after he couldn’t defeat the lung cancer that had spread throughout his body.
Spoke with Cancer Information Service three times; found the materials they e-mailed me extremely helpful in keeping my
siblings informed about Dad’s condition.
KnOWleDGe is pOWer, espeCiAlly WHen FiGHtinG CAnCer
Being the only daughter living in the same better understanding of what the family Spreading the word about
town as her aging parents, it was no could be facing over the coming months.” cancer risks in the Lgbt
surprise that Catherine Le Borgne would
André had enough strength to enjoy a
play a key role in keeping her four siblings Research shows that smoking rates are
Christmas dinner at home with his
informed about her father André’s cancer higher in lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans
family including his only great-grandchild,
fight late last year. (LGBT) communities, which may lead to
but his condition worsened soon after.
higher rates of cancer. In response, the
“My dad had been experiencing pain “That’s when his spirit started failing,” Society published a new information and
in his ribs and back for some time,” Catherine says. André passed away on awareness resource in May 2009 entitled
Catherine says. “In September, the pain New Year’s Day. “It was very painful to ‘Facts about Tobacco for Lesbian, Gay and
was so bad he went to emergency. watch my dad slowly lose his cancer battle, Bisexual People: Reasons and Resources
Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung but at least we were given a short window for Quitting Smoking’.
cancer, which had spread throughout his of time to celebrate his life and say our
body. He was given six to 12 months goodbyes.” “the society made it easy for “This brochure plays an important role in
raising awareness across the province,”
to live. Shortly after that, he began radiation
Catherine is grateful to the cancer me to be the ‘information hub’ says Loralee Gillis, the research and policy
treatments, solely for pain management,
information specialists who helped her coordinator of Rainbow Health Ontario,
not to fight the cancer.” that kept everyone in the loop.” a province-wide program working to
during her father’s cancer fight. She says
improve the health and well-being of
“I was very frightened since I knew very little they took the time to find and e-mail her Catherine le Borgne
lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people
about cancer. I picked up all the different various easy-to-understand materials
in Ontario through education, research,
Canadian Cancer Society pamphlets I could concerning cancer diagnosis and
outreach and policy advocacy.
find at the cancer centre to try and make treatments. “It took a big load off my mom, “It is important that we have health
sense of it all,” Catherine explains. “Then, too. Rather than having six or seven people promotion materials specifically
I saw the toll-free number of the Cancer phoning her all the time to find out how dad targeted to LGBT people, and we are
Information Service on the back, called was doing, I could use the information I’d thrilled that the Society has produced
them up, and talked for about an hour with received from the service and include it in this groundbreaking resource.”
a wonderfully caring information specialist my regular e-mails to all my siblings, clearly
The brochure is available in English
named Tara. I trusted what she was telling telling them what dad was going through.
and French in printed form or online
me, and she really helped me get over my The Society made it easy for me to be the
fear and anxiety about what was ahead of ‘information hub’ that kept everyone in
us. After that first conversation, I had a the loop.”
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight:
total number of telephone and
Know someone who’s currently battling cancer? e-mail inquiries handled by
visit www.cancer.ca/impact09 to learn more about the society’s Cancer Information Service. information specialists at the
Cancer Information Service in
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 17 2009-10 (1 888 939-3333
the ultimate fight night
• The Society relies on the generosity of
donors to fulfill its mission. Those wishing to
join the fight look for meaningful and easy
opportunities to contribute to the Society.
• Many people touched by cancer lack the
opportunity to come together in a welcoming
environment where they can celebrate cancer
survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight
back to end this disease.
• 2009-10 was the 11th year for the Society’s
h Ow w E f O U g h t b A C k
signature fundraising event, Relay For Life
(relayforlife.ca), in Ontario. The 12-hour
overnight event took place in 20 countries
around the world, with 474 events being
held across Canada. In Ontario, 105
community Relays and 95 youth Relays were
held, touching 82,500 participants (25,000
of them students) plus 11,300 volunteers.
• Through the Relay For Life website and
Facebook application, participants were able
to collect pledges online and, using words,
pictures and videos, share why they Relay and
how they’re fighting back year-round.
• Relay empowered participants to learn more
about how to prevent cancer, join the Society’s
advocacy efforts or become a volunteer.
• More than 11,000 cancer survivors proudly
walked the Survivors’ Victory Lap while over
130,000 luminaries lit up the night sky.
Photo courtesy of Kathy Traynor Photography
• The $17.8 million raised through Relay in
t h E i M PA C t
2009-10 added punch to the Society’s
• The Facebook presence – which raised an
additional $200,000 – was just one more My fight
way people could fight cancer year-round. Tracy Groombridge: Age 41, widow, mother of 15-year-old son John, living in Peterborough.
Through a breast self-exam in October 2008, I discovered a lump. I underwent a radical modified mastectomy followed by chemotherapy
• Relay enabled participants and volunteers to
and radiation. I did my first Relay For Life in 2009 and am working on other fundraising projects.
celebrate, remember and fight back, and
make the biggest difference in the fight
ReLAy empOWers CAnCer FiGHters tO FiGHt BACK
Nine days after the first anniversary of her Last spring, three weeks into her Girls Night In: a party
husband Jack’s death from Lou Gehrig’s five-week radiation treatment program, with a purpose
disease, Tracy Groombridge discovered a Tracy launched her spirited fight back Last July, the Society launched a fun and
lump in her right breast. She was soon against cancer by taking part in her local flexible community fundraising program
advised she had an aggressive type of Relay For Life. This community-based called Girls Night In to support leading-edge
breast cancer, and needed an immediate fundraising program exists to celebrate research into breast, uterine, ovarian and
radical modified mastectomy, followed by cancer survivors, remember loved ones cervical cancers.
chemotherapy and possibly radiation. lost to cancer, and fight back to find a The host of a Girls Night In event invites a
cure for this terrible disease. group of her girlfriends to come over for a
“Shortly before my surgery, I hosted a big get-together that might feature dinner and
party at my house: the ‘Boob Voyage Party Her team, the Bosom Buddies, raised chick-flicks, a home fashion show, a night of
to the Right Sister’,” Tracy recounts. “On over $12,000 and won an award for their “if every single person joins karaoke or a home spa event. Everyone who
the day of my surgery, I was brave and fundraising success. Tracy herself proudly attends the event donates money – either the
never cried, but it was torture not being walked in the Survivors’ Victory Lap.
the fight against cancer, we amount they would’ve spent on a ‘night out
on the town’ or a set amount – to the
able to be at the rink as team manager for
A regular speaker at public Relay events,
can help save more lives. to Canadian Cancer Society.
my son John’s hockey team. We both cried
Tracy delivered a very powerful speech at a not take action… to not fight Last fall, Gillian Seguin of London invited
happy tears when he showed me the pink
Relay leadership summit last fall. She was about 20 girlfriends to a Girls Night In party
ribbon sticker on his helmet that the coach
had given to him and all his teammates.”
involved in planning ‘Pink in the Rink’ – a back and just let cancer win is at her home where everyone wore their bridal
special event this past February in which gowns or favourite bridesmaid dresses.
Tracy remembers her mother, when picking players from the Peterborough Petes OHL simply not an option.” “Our Girls Night In was a blast and a great way
for our group of friends to get together, share
her up for her first treatment, asking why team wore pink hockey jerseys that were
tracy Groombridge some laughs and party with a purpose.”
she was all dressed-up. “I told her that auctioned off after the game, raising just
‘just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I over $53,000. The website www.girlsnightinforcancer.ca
includes everything needed to plan and run
have to look sick!’”
“If every single person joins the fight against a successful event, including links to Facebook
When talking with others who were also cancer, we can help save more lives. To not and Twitter. Hosts can even create their
fighting cancer, Tracy continually stressed take action… to not fight back and just let own web page that accepts online donations
and can display photos for everyone to
the importance of staying positive. “Accept cancer win is simply not an option.”
the help and hugs of friends and family, cry
when you feel like crying, and talk openly
to anyone who will listen. Bottling up your
emotions will only make things worse.”
HOW yOu CAn jOiN thE fight: total number of Girls Night In fans
Create your own team, pledge a participant or volunteer at a who currently stay connected and
Relay For Life event in your local community. visit www.cancer.ca/impact09. exchange fun event ideas through
FiGHtinG BACK... Canadian Cancer society Ontario Division impact report | 2009 - 2010 19