Today, Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Chair of Oakville’s Terry Fox Run, celebrated Oakville Terry Fox Day by sharing details of the federal government’s $150 million investment in the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network at The Firehall in Bronte, two days after she announced the investment alongside federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor at the New Brunswick Precision Medicine Centre in Moncton.
The funding, which was included in federal Budget 2019, will help accelerate precision medicine for cancer patients across the country and will be matched by the network’s partners and funds raised through Terry Fox Runs across Canada. The partners will also work together to share data, resources and knowledge, all with the goal of achieving Terry Fox’s dream of a world without cancer. Five regional consortia, representing cancer research and care institutions in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, are expected to participate in the network once it is fully operational. A key network deliverable is the creation of a high-quality shareable dataset of 15,000 cancer cases completed by 2023.
It was on July 13, 1980 that Terry Fox ran through Oakville in the early morning on his way from Toronto in the Marathon of Hope which saw him run a marathon a day in his quest to raise funds for cancer research.
“We thank the Government of Canada for its leadership in making this investment and for this vote of confidence,” Dr. Victor Ling, Terry Fox Research Institute President and Scientific Director, said at the Moncton announcement. “Under this new network, centres and researchers will form the Team Canada of Cancer Research, sharing knowledge, harnessing technology and championing collaboration so cancer patients from coast to coast to coast will benefit.”
As members of the “Team Canada of Cancer Research,” the centres and their researchers are joining forces for the first time ever to apply new technologies such as genomics, advanced imaging, big data and artificial intelligence.
In April, 2016, Dr. Ling visited MP Damoff’s office in Ottawa to introduce the concept of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network and asked her if the federal government would be willing to support the project. She told Dr. Ling it wouldn’t be easy, to which he replied that what Terry did wasn’t easy either, but we have to try. As a long-time supporter of the Terry Fox Foundation and Chair of Oakville’s Terry Fox Run, she was immediately on board, speaking with Ministers, fellow MPs and Terry Foxers about the importance of the network. Three years later, on March 18, 2019, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the budget in the House of Commons and said, “To help give more cancer patients and their families help and hope, we will provide the Terry Fox Research Institute with up to $150 million to establish a national Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network,” bringing Pam to tears.
“On the road 39 years ago, Terry wrote in his journal that he wanted ‘to try the impossible to show that it can be done.’ The Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network will try the impossible every day in research labs, hospitals and institutes across Canada,” said Pam in Moncton. “Today we keep our promise to Terry to continue his dream of a world without cancer. One day we will look back and recognize this as the moment we truly transformed cancer research in Canada and around the world, just like Terry did.”
“We thank the Government of Canada for its leadership in making this investment and for this vote of confidence”Dr. Victor LingPresident, Terry Fox Research Institute
At The Firehall today, Damoff stressed the importance of increasing participation in this year’s 39th annual Terry Fox Run in Oakville and across Canada as the $150 million government investment must be matched in part by Run funds. “Every dollar invested by the government in this bold initiative needs to be matched. We encourage Canadians to join our roadmap to cure cancer by making a donation, fundraising for The Run and making a difference. Right now, we have a critical opportunity to realize Terry’s dream of a world without cancer. We need everyone to come out on Run day – join a team, form a team, encourage your friends, family and neighbours to join you – so that we can raise the matching funds in support of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network. Our goal for this year’s Oakville Terry Fox Run is $200,000. It’s ambitious, but we can do it.”
At the Moncton announcement, Terry’s brother Darrell Fox said, “We have remained protective of the Marathon of Hope branding, using it sparingly and selectively, waiting for the right opportunity to maximize its meaning and value. We have found that opportunity with the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network and precision medicine. Terry said the Marathon of Hope must continue without him and he would be very proud to see this happening in this highly collaborative and inspired way.”
ABOUT THE MARATHON OF HOPE CANCER CENTRES NETWORK: The Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network is the realization of a long-standing vision of the Terry Fox Research Institute. Inspired by Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, the network represents a powerful collaborative platform that will close the gap between research in the lab and patient care in the clinic. Just as Terry Fox united Canadians with his run and dream to end cancer, the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres will unite our cancer researchers to pursue that same goal with precision medicine. www.marathonofhopecancercentres.ca
ABOUT THE TERRY FOX RESEARCH INSTITUTE: The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), established in 2008, invests in world-class, collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships. Together with its research and funding partners, TFRI is working to inspire the
transformation of cancer research in this country by bringing together leading cancer research and treatment organizations in Canada and empowering them under the framework of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network. www.tfri.ca
ABOUT THE OAKVILLE TERRY FOX RUN: Oakville’s 39th annual Terry Fox Run will be held on Sunday, September 15, at 10:00am at Coronation Park (Third Line and Lakeshore Road), with registration beginning at 9:00am. Walk, run, bike, board, blade, push a stroller, pull a wagon or walk the dog along a beautiful 2k, 5k or 10k route. The Oakville Terry Fox Run has raised over $2.4 million to date. Individuals and teams can register online at: www.terryfox.ca/terryfoxrun/oakville