Ontario Region marks milestone with Gala
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TORONTO, June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the Foundation's Ontario Region marked this milestone with a gala celebration called
"It was wonderful to pause and reflect upon how far we've come since a handful of dedicated founders first began doing their part to put a face and voice behind breast cancer a quarter century ago," says CBCF-Ontario CEO Sandra Palmaro.
CBCF-Ontario brought together more than 500 corporate and community supporters. The gala was emceed by Fashion Television Host Jeanne Beker, and included a dinner, silent auction and musical performances by Canadian singer/songwriter and Juno Award Winner Chantal Kreviazuk, and the Havergal College Chamber Choir.
The event also brought together more than 20 of the Foundation's founders, including Nancy Paul.
Says Paul: "Twenty-five years ago, I inherited three step-children, a young boy and two teenaged girls. My husband's first wife, the children's mother, had died of breast cancer at age 41." Paul promised her husband to work to create a future without breast cancer.
"I thought," said Paul," it only takes one person to take one step and others will follow." Paul, herself a prominent Toronto community leader, gathered together a group of women to raise money for breast cancer. A fundraiser was held and a movement was born. Defined from the start as being dedicated to breast cancer research, education and awareness, the Foundation touched a chord with the thousands of Canadians affected by this disease - still the most common cancer in women.
The event also included the Foundation's first research grant recipients, Dr. Lavina Lickley and Dr. Kathleen Pritchard of Women's College Hospital. Twenty-five years later, Dr. Pritchard, now on the Board of Directors of CBCF-Ontario Region, observed "Much has changed since the Foundation's early days. The breast cancer mortality rate has dropped by 30%, largely due to organized breast cancer screening programs and improved treatments."
"The Foundation was instrumental in bringing about organized breast screening programs for Ontario women, and continues to advocate for the expansion of breast screening," said Deborah Dubenofsky, Chair of CBCF-Ontario Region's Board of Directors. "And research grants provided by the Foundation have had an impact in many areas, including advances in treatment. The Founders - all dedicated volunteers - had a vision that continues to resonate and motivate thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters today."
Cristie Schultz was one of five people affected by breast cancer who were profiled in a video screened at the Gala called Voices of Breast Cancer. She says she never anticipated, and could never have prepared for the news of a diagnosis at age 31, despite both her mother and great grandmother having also been diagnosed.
"A breast cancer diagnosis is a terrifying experience and it all happens so quickly," said Schultz, whose tumour was caught early. Today, at age 32, Schultz is finding renewed joy and hope in life, and giving back by supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. "I am so appreciative of the incredible treatment options that are now available due to the advancements that have been made because of research, such as that funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region."
Paul couldn't agree more. She said today, "We've come a long way in terms of putting a face and voice to this terrible disease but we all know our quest has not ended," she said. "The only things that matter are the lives that are saved and the lives that are lengthened."
The Gala's presenting sponsor was long time supporter, CIBC, and the silver sponsor was Aeroplan. The Gala's co-chairs were Veni Iozzo, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, CIBC, and Jennifer Bell, Vice President, Communications and Content Management, TIFF.
"On behalf of everyone at CIBC, I want to offer our warmest congratulations to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation on their 25th anniversary, said Christina Kramer, CIBC Executive Vice President, Distribution Services. "Our strong partnership has been built over the past 25 years, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure is a tradition that our employees are extremely proud to be a part of each year. More than 13,000 CIBC employees run, walk, fundraise or volunteer for the Run every year across Canada and together we have raised more than $26 million to help create a future without breast cancer. We salute the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for your tremendous contribution."
About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Ontario Region:
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1986 as the first volunteer-led organization in the country devoted exclusively to breast cancer research, health promotion and advocacy. Our goal is to reduce the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, and to improve quality of life for those affected. We direct donor dollars to world-class researchers and clinicians who are making groundbreaking progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded over 450 grants, supporting research projects and fellowships. For more information, visit: www.cbcf.org/ontario.
CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2010, $33.7 million was contributed through the CIBC group of companies to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada, supporting a wide variety of national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit www.communitymatters.cibc.com.
/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:
SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Ontario Chapter)
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