Changing Lives Before 9

By Linda Eagen on May 9 / 2018

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

Earlier today, when over 500 business and community leaders greeted each other with a “good morning,” they didn’t know what an incredible morning they were about to shape.

These compassionate people came together this morning at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre for the 12th Annual Cancer Champions Breakfast. In a single hour, with a generous $200,000 matching gift from GumDocs, they raised more than $571,700 to help change the lives of families facing cancer in Ottawa!

Emceed by cancer care advocate and community philanthropist Barbara Crook, the Breakfast included moving testimonials and demonstrated how cancer treatments are improving through the work of local researchers and clinicians. “I wish you could see what I’m seeing up here,” Barbara said, looking out over the crowd as the event began. “A huge room full of people who just can’t wait to change someone’s life.”

I can certainly agree. I cannot describe how amazing it was to see so many passionate people come together to support their community, and really connect with the stories they heard and the people they met.

Jill Hamer-Wilson, a music-loving mom of 3, returned to the stage where she stood two years ago to share an update on her cancer journey. In 2016 she experienced remarkable success as a result of a local clinical trial, and today she shared an incredible new piece of her story. “In January of 2017, a CT scan revealed the cancer was growing again, so I needed a new treatment.” Jill said. “But the amazing thing is that this clinical trial had not only kept me alive for almost two years, it carried me through long enough for another drug to be available for me.” Just two years ago, her current treatment was not available to patients in Ottawa at all.

Sharon Rowan also spoke to Breakfast guests, to share her own passion for supporting Cancer Coaching and local clinical trials. Sharon’s family went through the unthinkable when they lost their infant daughter to Leukemia 6 years ago, a diagnosis for which clinical trials are only recently seeing promising breakthroughs. “A clinical trial might not have been able to save my daughter’s life, but I know Cancer Coaching saved mine,” she said of her family’s experience as they processed their difficult journey. Sharon also asked guests in attendance to consider their support of clinical trials as urgent; though research seems like a long-term investment, she reminded them that families today are depending on new treatment options to become available as soon as possible.

As the President and CEO of the Cancer Foundation, I understand the difficult truth that nearly everyone in our community has been touched by cancer in some way. It was incredibly moving to see so many people coming to find out more about how they can make a difference in local cancer care and improve the lives of local families. Gregory Sanders, our Chair of the Cancer Champions Breakfast for the past 7 years, was equally inspired. “It’s an honour to be in the presence of so many people who care about this community,” he said. “Cancer is hard to avoid, but that doesn’t mean we are powerless against it. The fact that over 500 people took the time to be here this morning to help support local cancer care is proof of that.”


The Cancer Champions Breakfast is presented by Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP, with Associate Sponsors Extension Marketing and S&J Training Solutions, and Supporting Sponsors Innovative Medicines Canada, The Nancy Wright Sales Team of Royal Lepage, and CIBC. In-Kind support was provided by Advantage Audio/Visual Rentals Ltd, BMR Group, the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre, Miller McConnell Signs, and Jordan Michael Photography. Thanks to the generosity of these sponsors, every single dollar raised at the Cancer Champions Breakfast will change lives through the Cancer Coaching at the Foundation’s Maplesoft Centre and through local clinical trials in Ottawa. The Cancer Champions Breakfast has now raised over 3.5 million dollars for these initiatives since 2009!

To everyone who joined us this morning and for those who offered their support from afar, we truly could not make such a big impact without you. Your dedication is fueling new research discoveries, opening new clinical trials, giving patients the tools they need to navigate their cancer journey, and is giving us all hope. And not just hope for the future – hope for the ability we each have today to make sure local patients and their families know they will never have to face cancer alone.

You can find out more about the Cancer Champions Breakfast, watch the videos we showed our guests, or make your donation by following the links below.

Make Your Donation to Support Local Cancer Care Watch Videos


Linda Eagen

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