Lab Lifesavers Raise More than $22,000 for the Princess Margaret

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Dianne Chadwick, Maria Amenta, Yvonne Bedford, Cherry Have, Michele Henry, Dr. Sylvia Asa, Brad Davis and Tom Clancy

It was the third year that members of the Laboratory Medicine Program took part in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer and the team proudly pulled in an incredible fundraising total of $22,341.55.

Every penny goes directly to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in support of women’s cancers research, clinical enhancements and survivorship programs.

20140906_111357Thanks to the generous support of everyone in LMP who bought and played in this summer’s 50/50 draws and those who came out for our two Buffet Staff lunches, every member of the team exceeded their goal and the entire Weekend, overall, raised $7.7 million for our cancer centre.

Yvonne Bedford, has participated in the Weekend for the past three years. Initially she joined because Dr. Asa, LMP’s Medical Director, was taking an active role in promoting the walk and she wanted to support her efforts.

“This year, going through my own journey as a cancer patient, I knew that I had to do it,” she says.

“I wanted to prove I had the energy to complete it. In year’s past, I would walk one day and run the second. (Even though you’re not supposed to run!) I didn’t want to run this year,” she added. “But I walked on Saturday with my sister and my friend as support. It was very overwhelming and was great feeling being able to finish.”

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Dr. David McCready, Lead, Breast Cancer Site Group, Dr. Danny Ghazarian, Lead, Melanoma and Skin Site Group and Dr. Fei Fei Liu, Head, Radiation Oncology and Chief, Radiation Medicine Program

“I was also surprised by my fundraising total – $5,283.55 – which is incredible to see the support from my friends and colleagues. Of course, it’s not about the actual amount. I’d have been happy just to raise the minimum. But, knowing everybody wanted to help makes me feel truly grateful.”

Cherry Have, MLT from cytogenetics, who participated in the walked as a member of the Lab Lifesavers team talked to us about her experience as a walker:

“I was fortunate to meet and walk with another walker, Kelly, who has been participating for 8 years! She shared her very moving story of why she is walking. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago,” Cherry tells us. “Kelly felt helpless and decided to join the walk as it made her feel like she had some control and could make an impact in her mom’s care.  She was empowered to learn she was making a difference!”

Working at UHN, we get to see, first-hand, some of the impacts our investment in cancer care and cancer research. The Princess Margaret Foundation provides literature to all the walkers about the work they have accomplished through the Weekend to End Women’s fundraising efforts, such as a research study that investigates conditions to minimize the side effects of radiation treatment on the heart.

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Cherry, 101 and a half year old walker Kitty Cohen and Kelly

In this particular study, the investigators clinically proved that the simple holding of one’s breath during radiation treatment to the left chest minimized damage to the heart.  During the walk, Cherry talked to Kelley and learned that her mom directly benefited from this research in her treatment at Juravinski Cancer Centre.  She witnessed first-hand how research at PMCC was benefiting patients everywhere.

Maria Amenta, a manager in LMP, when asked about her experience, said “I don’t know if it was the small group of young adults wearing t-shirts that read “I’m walking for my mom” or the courage of friend with cancer who walked along side us but one thing is for sure, it was a very humbling experience and I was proud to be part of it.”

She added, “I have to say, walking through the different communities was a blast.  Diversity truly is a wonderful thing!”

Cherry, in summarizing the event and the experience, said that “even if we don’t find a cure in our lifetime, we will certainly be improving the care of our cancer patients.”

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