Belinda Stronach raises $1 million for breast cancer reconstructive surgery



    TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Belinda Stronach today announced she has raised
more than one-half of the funds needed to create The Belinda Stronach Chair in
Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at the Toronto General and Western
Hospital Foundation and committed to raising an additional $1 million to
complete the funding for the Chair.
    Dr. Marla Shapiro, author of Life in the Balance - My Journey with Breast
Cancer, family physician and medical journalist, was instrumental in involving
Ms. Stronach with the efforts to establish the Chair at University Health
Network and the University of Toronto.
    Ms. Stronach, whose personal experience with breast cancer began in the
spring of 2007, feels that her commitment to the Chair will raise awareness
about breast cancer reconstruction and address a gap in the care of women who
are diagnosed with breast cancer.
    "I want more women to be aware that this surgery is available to them and
I also wanted to give the program at Toronto General Hospital and the
University of Toronto the resources to expand so that more surgeons may be
trained in the techniques necessary for successful breast cancer
reconstruction," said Ms. Stronach.
    Dr. Marla Shapiro is a major advocate and has been instrumental in the
creation of the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive
Surgery.
    "This Chair will enable the development of patient education programs and
clinical research to improve outcomes for women seeking reconstruction," said
Dr. Shapiro. "It will also support the training of surgeons with special focus
on the techniques and procedures of breast reconstruction so that we'll have
more experts with an interest in carrying out the surgery across the country."
    A Chair is supported with endowed funds, which assures a steady stream of
revenue to support a variety of activities. It is an academic appointment and
is held by an established or emerging leader in a particular field who
normally holds the rank of professor or associate professor at the University
of Toronto. Stronach's fundraising to date, and her commitment to raise an
additional $1 million, will help to retain and recruit the brightest stars,
advance research and improve the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
    "This is a top surgical priority for University Health Network and will
be the cornerstone for the development of a comprehensive program for breast
cancer reconstructive surgery," said Dr. Robert Bell, president and CEO of
UHN. "This donation will help us to recruit and train more surgeons to perform
reconstructive surgeries so we can reduce wait times and be able to offer this
option to more women, at our hospital and at hospitals across the country. At
present, it is estimated that only 10 per cent of women diagnosed with breast
cancer discuss the option of breast reconstruction with their health care
team. The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery will
help raise awareness and make the treatment available to more women for whom
it is an important part of their treatment."
    To make a donation to the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer
Reconstructive Surgery, please visit: www.belindastronachchair.ca.

    About The Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

    Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation raises funds for research,
education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General Hospital and
Toronto Western Hospital as well as for their respective research arms,
Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute. The
Foundation's vision is to enable global leadership and innovation in health by
developing and sustaining strong relationships with University Health Network
stakeholders.


    
    Backgrounder

    The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at
    Toronto General Hospital

    -   The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at
        Toronto General Hospital provides guaranteed funding for a program to
        ensure that the option of reconstructive surgery for women who have
        undergone mastectomies is more widely known and more widely
        available.

    -   At present, it is the only comprehensive program of its type in the
        Greater Toronto Area, providing patients with the full spectrum of
        breast cancer reconstructive options, including the most complex
        microvascular reconstructive procedures. Last year our
        reconstructive surgeons performed over 130 breast cancer
        reconstructive surgery procedures.

    -   Over the past several years, the program has evolved into an industry
        leader in researching and delivering care to the most complex cases
        in breast cancer reconstructive surgery. Given the high level of
        expertise of its specialists, the program has become a large referral
        centre for difficult procedures.

    -   Beyond the combined skill and expertise of its surgeons, the program
        provides its patients with tools to assist them in moving forward
        with their lives post-operatively.

    -   The Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery Program is in its early
        stage, but has the potential to grow into a centre of excellence in
        breast cancer reconstructive surgery. Such a centre will lead to the
        development of patient education programs and clinical research on a
        larger scale to improve outcomes for women seeking breast cancer
        reconstructive surgery.
    

    The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Reconstructive Surgery

    The Chair provides the cornerstone for the development of a comprehensive
program for Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery.
    The Chair will be an academic appointment held by an established leader
and a professor or associate professor at the University of Toronto. The
$2 million endowment will be used to fund the following priorities:

    
    -   Support for Research - Funding that will ultimately be used to refine
        techniques and improve outcomes in breast cancer reconstructive
        surgery

    -   Fellowship Program - To attract and train clinical fellows in surgery
        and plastic surgery

    -   Visiting Professorship Program - Build an endowment to establish an
        annual visiting professorship in breast cancer Reconstructive
        Surgery.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Fiona Hill, Senior Public
Affairs Advisor - UHN, (416) 340-4011, fiona.hill@uhn.on.ca; Greg MacEachern,
Media Relations for Belinda Stronach, (613) 882-5533 (m),
Gregmac@rogers.blackberry.net


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