Cancer Champions Breakfast Raises Over $790,000 for Local Cancer Care

By Cancer Foundation on October 21 / 2021


The Breakfast event took place on the morning of October 20th on our virtual platform. 

Nearly everyone in Ottawa has faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another…but that didn’t stop hundreds of business and community leaders across the city from coming together to make a difference in the lives of local families who are facing cancer. Table Captains, guests, sponsors, speakers, and Leadership Council members tuned into the event from the comfort of their own homes and offices to hear messages of hope and raise much-needed funds for local cancer care. 

The online event raised $790,021 for local cancer care. Although many hoped to return to a live event format, the guests were treated to an exceptional virtual event. For this year’s Breakfast, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation produced an engaging documentary that highlighted the challenges that patients and doctors face on their journey. 

“I’m incredibly proud of this wonderful community each and every day, but especially today,” says Ian Sherman, recently retired Tax Partner and now a Contractor in the EY Ottawa office and a Co-Chair of the Cancer Champions Breakfast. “My biggest thanks go out to our donors, our sponsors, our Leadership Council, and our Table Captains … with 80,000 Canadians expected to die of cancer this year alone, we know we need to make sure that cancer care remains a huge priority, and I think this morning we’ve worked together to do just that.”

This year’s event was hosted by former CBC host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld. The event presented the many incredible gains that have been made in cancer care since the Cancer Foundation’s inception 26 years ago and how advances in cancer research are drastically improving the quality of life for patients.

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation documentary, Hope is Now,  showed the reality that patients and the medical community face daily. For example, we learned about the incredible story of Brianna Murugiah, a 9-year-old who has been fighting cancer for 8 years. The documentary also featured Jo Maisonneuve, a local MMA fighter battling cancer for years and who still fights professionally. 

Guests were also able to learn about the trials and perspectives that our medical community faces. Dr. Rebecca Auer, a Surgical Oncologist, shared the difficult decisions that the medical community must make daily when it comes to patient care. 

But Dr. Auer ended the documentary on a very encouraging note, stating she believes it is inevitable that we will find a cure for thousands of variations of cancer. We have found cures for many different types of cancer. So the cure rates for individual cancers have significantly changed, but not for all cancers. So it’s kind of like checking one cancer off at a time. What I see in the future, and I know it is possible, is that it won’t be a handful. Every single subtype of cancer will have its own unique therapy. And it won’t seem like a miracle. It will just seem like what we do when we have cancer.

Next, the co-chairs, Ian and Randi Sherman, and Chuck and Bonnie Merovitz, shared their reasons for supporting the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. “I have been a lifelong volunteer for cancer care,” said Chuck Merovitz, “because like so many people, I have been touched by the disease. I watched my mother battle cancer when I was just 22. I myself was diagnosed, and I have seen firsthand the impact that events like this can have. I was treated by a new technology I had helped fundraise for.”

Michael Maidment, the President & CEO of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, shared the importance of donating: “The more we raise, the more we can invest in the community. Your gift means we can invest in world-class research right here in our city. This gives patients a chance at life.”

At the end of the event, Lucy shared her own powerful story and reason for supporting the event. “As many of you know, I battled breast cancer. I was lucky to have great care close to home, and thanks to research that came before, I was able to treat it and come out the other side cancer-free. But every cancer story is unique, and my family and I know that all too well. My sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer. In Canada, the survival rate for breast cancer is 88%. But my sister did not survive. I’m sharing this – because I think it’s important.”

She shared the importance of donating to research and encouraged those watching to consider making a donation to keep the hope of better treatments and improved care going strong. 

In addition to the incredible gifts that came in from viewers during the event, a unique feature of the virtual Cancer Champions Breakfast was the launch of The Cancer Project, an online platform where the public can share their cancer story. It shows us how many stories there are and how different every one is.

These stories also serve to remind the public of the incredible people raising funds for cancer research and care in the Ottawa region, and of how important the fight against cancer is, and why we must support it. 

Guests were encouraged to visit the website at


The Cancer Champions Breakfast was sponsored by Presenting Sponsor BMO, Corporate Sponsor Valecraft Homes, Premium Sponsors Assante Wealth, and Joe Clark & Associates. Associate Sponsors were Merovitz Potechin, Emond Harnden LLP, Crowe BGK, Syntax Strategic, Horizant Solutions, and Extend Pharmacy. Supporting sponsors were Alterna, Hendry Warren LLP, WCPD Foundation, Zibi, Giamberardino Contracting, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP, BioCanRX, Centennial Glass, and Duane Francis Wealth Management. 

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, every single dollar raised at the Cancer Champions Breakfast will go towards changing lives through Cancer Coaching at the Cancer Foundation’s Maplesoft-Jones Centre for Cancer Survivorship and through local clinical trials and research happening here in Ottawa. The Cancer Champions Breakfast has now raised nearly 5 million dollars for these initiatives since 2009!

If you missed the live event,  you can learn more about the event and watch our documentary at 

Thank you to all who joined us for our second virtual Cancer Champions Breakfast!


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