MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2012
A Gift Gives Brain Cancer Care in B.C. a Major Boost
BC Cancer Agency First-in-Canada to Receive the AutoLITT
Brain Cancer Surgical Technology
VANCOUVER, B.C –At the finish line of the Prospera Valley GranFondo, the BC Cancer Foundation announced a major gift of $350,000 from Eleni Skalbania, owner of the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, to support the purchase of Canada’s first AutoLITT brain cancer treatment technology.
“Having hope is powerful when you’re diagnosed with a devastating disease like brain cancer, and that’s exactly what the AutoLITT technology will offer to brain cancer patients and their family members across our province,” says Skalbania, who strongly believes in providing BC Cancer Agency specialists with the best possible tools available for treating patients.
In addition to Skalbania’s gift, cycling team AutoLITT raised over $65,000 for the new brain cancer technology as a lead up to the inaugural Prospera Valley GranFondo. Team AutoLITT is led by Philip Meyer of the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa and Christian Meier, professional cyclist who lost his brother to brain cancer.
Traditionally, brain cancer therapies have been centered on three main treatment options: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. AutoLITT is a new therapeutic system offering the potential to improve current brain cancer therapies and reduce long term treatment side-effects.
Dr. Brian Toyota, head of BrainCare BC at the BC Cancer Agency, is trained to operate this new technology, which allows him to visualize the brain and eradicate tumour cells by manipulating a thin, heat emitting laser probe directly targeting the tumour. He explains that the technology is less invasive than traditional surgery as it prevents damage to neighbouring healthy tissue and reduces the procedure time by approximately half.
“The generosity of Eleni, the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa and team AutoLITT inspires me to continue our efforts of improving brain cancer treatment so we can cure more patients down the road,” says Dr. Toyota.
Meier, who recently competed in BC Superweek and spearheaded team AutoLITT’s fundraising efforts, knows all too well how devastating brain cancer is for the loved ones of those diagnosed. He lost his 26 year old brother, Michael Meier, to the disease three years ago and is determined to see treatments and survival rates improve.
“I know Michael would be proud of our accomplishment today,” says Meier. “Every effort made to support new brain cancer treatments, like AutoLITT and others, could mean that one less person is lost to this disease.”
For additional information or to arrange an interview please contact:
BC Cancer Foundation
The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge. As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions.
Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.