Breakfast Really Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

By Christian McCuaig on May 20 / 2016

[Cancer, Cancer Coaching, Clinical Trials, Events, News]Comments

Left to right, top: Mayor Jim Watson, Dan Greenberg, Bruno Racine, Paul Valletta, Dr. Garth Nicholas. Left to right, bottom: Josée Bradley, Linda Eagen, Sarah Arden, Shannon Gorman.

Not many people can say they changed a life on their way to work.

That’s exactly what happened on Thursday, May 19th when nearly 400 business and community leaders came together for the 10th Annual Cancer Champions Breakfast at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. They ate a balanced breakfast, met with over 50 doctors, scientists and Cancer and Wellness Coaches to discuss the future of cancer treatment, and listened to inspiring stories from cancer survivors and researchers in the Ottawa community.

They also raised more than $215,000 for local cancer care.

Hosted by Mayor Jim Watson, the morning was filled with moving testimonials and news of hopeful research advances. High school student Brianna Sanko and a group of her friends kicked things off by announcing how much money they’ve raised through community events over the year, a total of over $10,200. They also revealed a set of brand new haircuts and shaved heads, the results of a haircutting event held May 1st to raise funds for local cancer care and to create wigs for those undergoing cancer treatment.

Brianna Sanko and her friends reveal the amount of money they raised. Left to right: Brianna Sanko, Jennifer Bedard, Lisa Jabionski, Zakaria Hanafi, Isabella Valencia, Valérie Patenaude, Madeleine Mullen, Pierre-Alexandre Langlois-Gaudreaut

Brianna Sanko and her friends reveal the amount of money they raised. Left to right: Brianna Sanko, Jennifer Bedard, Lisa Jabionski, Zakaria Hanafi, Isabella Valencia, Valérie Patenaude, Madeleine Mullen, Pierre-Alexandre Langlois-Gaudreaut

Guests also heard the stories of cancer survivors Jill Hamer-Wilson and Lisa Yull. Jill shared her experience seeing amazing improvements in her health after being put on a clinical trial specifically targeted to treat her type of lung cancer, allowing her to celebrate her fiftieth birthday last year with her family. Lisa spoke about how much she has gained from Cancer Coaching programs that helped her return to work after treatment for colon cancer.

Lisa Yull and Jill Hamer-Wilson

Lisa Yull and Jill Hamer-Wilson

Other speakers included Gary Zed, CEO and President of Presenting Sponsor EY, who described why the Cancer Champions Breakfast is an important opportunity for the community to support local cancer initiatives, and medical oncologist Dr. Garth Nicholas, who spoke about how far clinical trials have advanced cancer treatments. Dr. Glenn Goss, head of clinical trials at The Ottawa Hospital also spoke about the hope that trials bring and importance of investing in them, and cancer survivor and last year’s speaker Denis Raymond made a surprise return to talk about the impact the clinical trial he participated in has had on him. He now has a new outlook on life and many more years to look forward to thanks to the support of donors.

“This year, we were really able to see the power of clinical trials standing right in front of us,” says Linda Eagen, President and CEO of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. “We got to see Denis Raymond again, who came to us for Cancer Coaching when he needed help navigating his diagnosis, and it really helped open up his mind to the possibilities in his life. From there we were able to connect him to a trial – he was supposed to have less than two years to live, and now here he is jumping up on the stage three years later, and he looks great. He’s living proof of what an incredible difference both Cancer Coaching and clinical trials make.”

Chair of the Breakfast Gregory Sanders says, “I am always humbled to be in a room with so many caring individuals from our community who believe in supporting local cancer care. I am very grateful to everyone who helps make the Cancer Champions Breakfast a success.”

Cancer Champions Breakfast Chair Gregory Sanders speaks while cancer survivor Denis Raymond looks on

Cancer Champions Breakfast Chair Gregory Sanders speaks while cancer survivor Denis Raymond looks on

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, every single dollar donated at the Cancer Champions Breakfast will be put directly towards improving cancer care in Ottawa by supporting Cancer Coaching at the Cancer Foundation’s Maplesoft Centre and local cancer clinical trials.

The Cancer Champions Breakfast is Presented by EY, with Associate Sponsor Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall L.L.P/s.r.l, Supporting Sponsors CIBC and Innovative Medicines Canada, In-Kind Sponsors Advantage Audio/Visual Rentals Ltd and the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre, and Networking Sponsor Restaurant 18.

Early mornings are usually a time where we hastily prepare for the rest of our day, but yesterday hundreds of leaders in the Ottawa community stepped up to change lives…before 9:00am.

You can find out more about the Cancer Champions Breakfast, watch the videos we showed our guests, or make your own donation below.
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(All photos provided by Armand Tsai.)

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