Alberta fundraisers take on deadly brain cancer

04 February 2015

Calgary -

The Alberta Chapter of Women In Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC) has invested $200,000 into Canadian Cancer Society-funded brain cancer research.

This amount has been fully matched by the Society’s partner Brain Canada, a national, non-profit organization that supports neuroscience research, for a total research investment of $400,000.

“Since WICC’s inception, our passionate and dedicated board has worked steadfastly to make a difference by investing in impactful research that will change cancer forever,” says Amy Foggin, co-chair, WICC Alberta Chapter. “By partnering with the Society again in 2015, we believe we are making a strategic and significant impact in the fight for life.

“When we heard that we could double our impact, directing our funds to brain cancer research was an enthusiastic unanimous choice.”

Brain cancer has a survival rate of about 25 per cent; however, adults diagnosed with the most common type of brain cancer – glioblastoma multiforme – often pass away within a year, even when they undergo aggressive treatment. The brain is also one of the most common sites that tumours spread to (known as metastasis), which makes the disease much more challenging to successfully treat.

Thanks to generous supporters like WICC Alberta, Society-funded research has helped improve the survival rate for all cancers combined to over 60 per cent. While some cancers are effectively controlled and have very high survival rates, other cancers – including brain cancer – continue to have very poor outcomes.

“Thank to the generosity of WICC Alberta, the Society will fund the most promising research that will improve our understanding of brain cancer – how to detect it earlier, prevent metastasis to the brain, and successfully treat the disease,” says Dan Holinda, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.

“We know with a targeted investment in exceptional research we can turn the tide and improve the brain cancer survival rate, just as our supporters helped us do with breast cancer.”

Today, thanks to significant and concentrated research funding, the survival rate for breast cancer has improved to 88 per cent – more than 35 per cent higher than it was in 1986. Doing likewise with brain cancer research will help the Society achieve its goal of doubling the brain cancer survival rate, which is currently around 25 per cent.

About the partnership
Thanks to generous donors like WICC Alberta, the Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with Brain Cancer and the Government of Canada, is funding four new research brain cancer grants, totalling $5 million. Three of these four projects will focus on brain cancer in children.

This partnership is unique because it enables the Canadian Cancer Society to leverage matching funds from Brain Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, a public-private partnership established by the Government of Canada. Through this fund, non-federal donations are matched dollar for dollar by federal funds to support Canadian neuroscience research and advance knowledge and treatment of brain disease and mental disorders.

The Canadian Cancer Society recognizes that the challenge of cancer is bigger than any single organization. That’s why we partner with national and provincial organizations with shared goals in order to have a greater impact against all cancers for the benefit of all Canadians. The Society and Brain Canada are leading research funders, so this partnership will result in increased investment in brain cancer research and will encourage collaboration between scientists from the cancer and neuroscience fields.

Brain cancer fast facts

  • Approximately 1,650 Canadian men and 1,200 women will be diagnosed with brain cancer this year; nearly 2,000 Canadians will die of the disease.
  • Metastatic brain tumours occur at some point in 20 to 40 per cent of people diagnosed with cancer.
  • Brain cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in those aged 15-29 years (leukemia is the most common).

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, contributing more than $2 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 funds the best cancer research in Canada thanks to our generous donors and our rigorous peer-review process. We are the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada, funding hundreds of researchers in universities, hospitals and research centres. Together we are discovering new ways to change cancer forever. Make your gift today at cancer.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339