$1.5 Million raised at BC Cancer Foundation Inspiration Gala kick-starts major brain cancer project at BC Cancer Agency

    2008 Inspiration Gala supports vision to "revolutionize" Agency's brain
    cancer research and care for B.C. patients

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - An anonymous gift of $500,000 was one of many
inspiring moments for the 350 guests at last night's BC Cancer Foundation 2008
Inspiration Gala which raised a total of $1.5 million in support of the BC
Cancer Agency's new BrainCare project.
    The sold-out evening which was organized by a volunteer committee chaired
by Jane Hungerford and Wendy Armstrong, was filled with the personal stories
of people who had lost their loved ones to the disease.
    "Cancer inspired my dad to help fight for a cure, inspired him to become
more involved, more generous," said Daniel Porte, describing how his late
father Hershey Porte created an endowment fund for cancer research at the BC
Cancer Agency after he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2004. "My father
wanted to help not only himself, but others who had been, and would be
diagnosed with brain cancer," Porte said.
    Twenty-year-old Langara college basketball star Carling Muir, who is
surviving and thriving after brain cancer surgery last year, also attended the
event, where the entire crowd stood to sing Happy Birthday to her. She will
turn 21 on Monday October 27. The event, emceed by CTV's Pamela Martin,
included silent and live auctions and a formal dinner followed by a
performance by the Vancouver Circus School that thrilled the ring-side
audience in Vancouver's Rocky Mountaineer Station.
    The anonymous gift was announced as a challenge to guests, to match it
dollar for dollar, to a maximum of $500,000. During a spirited live auction,
guests donated a further $500,000 bringing the challenge total to an even $1
    Dr. Brian Toyota, head of the BC Cancer Agency's Neuro-oncology group,
described the Agency's BrainCare project he co-founded. "Our vision is to
revolutionize research and the current standard of care for all brain cancer
patients in B.C. BrainCare will cut across basic and clinical research
platforms within the BC Cancer Agency to take full advantage of recent
advances in functional cancer imaging, molecular pathology, genomics and
radiation therapy. Tonight, BC Cancer Foundation donors have helped us take
the first steps, to fund new clinical trials at the BC Cancer Agency for the
benefit of all B.C. neuro-oncology patients - thank you."
    BC Cancer Foundation Board chair Pat Jacobsen and Board Vice-Chair John
Jennings added their thanks. "We are deeply grateful to everyone here tonight,
to our anonymous donor and to BC Cancer Foundation donors for their
extraordinary generosity," Jacobsen said. "The money you have given tonight
will make a difference in the lives of patients and their families who
experience brain cancer."
    According to the BC Cancer Agency, brain cancer has one of the lowest
survival rates of all cancers, at 24 per cent, compared to 86 per cent for
breast cancer and 92 per cent for prostate cancer.

    The BC Cancer Foundation raises funds to support research and
enhancements to care at the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial
Health Services Authority that provides a comprehensive cancer control program
for residents of B.C. and the Yukon.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Penny Noble, APR, Sr. Director,
Public Affairs, BC Cancer Foundation, Tel: (604) 707-5902, Cell: (604)
805-5637; Judy Hamill, Communications Officer, BC Cancer Foundation, Tel:
(604) 707-5934, Cell: (604) 802-6984

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