Alberta fundraisers throw support behind ‘silent killer’

21 May 2014

Calgary -

A long-time supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society has made a significant donation to help fund research into one of the most hard-to-treat cancers – pancreatic cancer.

The Alberta chapter of Women In Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC) has invested more than $23,000 in pancreatic cancer research. Pancreatic cancer is often detected at an advanced stage, which is why it’s known as a “silent killer” and difficult to treat. The disease has a survival rate of just eight per cent.

WICC recently decided to make this investment as a few board members have been affected by pancreatic cancer, including co-chair Amy Foggin, who lost her best friend to the disease in January. Foggin was the primary caregiver during her friend’s 10-month cancer journey.

“It’s important to our committee that we have a passionate connection to the research that we choose because it keeps us motivated,” she says. “Identifying with the projects we fund is the driving force that keeps us going.”

Other board members have lost friends and family members to pancreatic cancer.

“You hear stories of people getting pancreatic cancer and, more often than not, their survival is rare – as was the case with my uncle,” says WICC board member Rosetta Bilodeau, whose uncle passed away five years ago. “It makes me very happy to know we, as a community, are tackling this form of cancer and hopefully making a difference. I also believe that if we find a cure for one form of cancer, that it will guide us down the right road to follow in order to cure all cancers.”

The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in the country. Thanks to our generous supporters, research has resulted in a higher survival rate for all cancer combined. Some cancers – such as testicular and thyroid – are effectively controlled, meaning they have very high survival rates and low rates of recurrence. But other cancers continue to have very poor outcomes.

“The Society’s goal is to save more lives and one way we’re going to do that is to increase funding in the most challenging cancers: pancreatic, lung, ovarian, throat, brain and colorectal,” says Dan Holinda, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.

“Thanks to WICC’s generosity, we’ll be able to fund innovative and impactful research that will improve our understanding of how to better detect, treat and beat pancreatic cancer.”

The Alberta chapter of WICC made a total contribution of $190,000 to cancer research in 2013. In addition to funding pancreatic cancer, WICC also dedicated more than $66,000 to the Society-funded research of Calgary’s Dr Christine Friedenreich. The Society awarded Dr Friedenreich with the 2013 O. Harold Warwick Prize for her outstanding research on the association between physical activity, cancer risk and survival.

The remaining $100,000 was already earmarked for the two-year Society grant that WICC committed to funding for Calgary’s Dr Frank Jirik in 2012.

To learn more about pancreatic cancer, please go to

About the Alberta Chapter of Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC)

The Alberta Chapter of WICC has been raising funds specifically for Canadian Cancer Society-funded research since 2000, raising nearly $1.7 million to date. This chapter continues to succeed thanks to the generosity and support of the Alberta insurance community.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. Make your gift today at

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339