Princess Margaret gets $50 million donation for cancer research
Joshua Freeman, cp24.com
Published Monday, January 21, 2013 1:14PM EST
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation announced it had received a $50 million donation to help fund cancer research in what is being heralded as the largest private donation in Canadian history.
The hospital said the donation, made by philanthropists Emmanuelle Gattuso, Allan Slaight and the Slaight family, will be distributed over the next 10 years and will be used to advance personalized cancer treatment.
"This outstanding gift will add significant momentum to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s global leadership role in advancing personalized cancer medicine," said University Health Network CEO Dr. Robert Bell, speaking at a news conference Monday morning.
Hospital officials said the donation will be used to create a “superfund” to attract top researchers who will focus on advanced areas of cancer research, such as precision genomics, advanced tumour biology, immune therapy and molecular imaging.
"Emmanuelle Gattuso, Allan Slaight and the Slaight family have made this historic gift to our Billion Dollar Challenge to help transform cancer care as we know it today," said Paul Alofs, CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. "This will be a revolution that will take place over the next ten years.”
Speaking to CP24, Gattuso -- a 10-year cancer survivor herself -- said the donation was a natural move for her family considering their own struggles with cancer.
“My husband and I and the Slaight family really feel it’s so important,” Gattusso said. “Our parents used to say when you don’t have your health you have nothing. I unfortunately found that out and so did my sister. And my mom unfortunately passed away from cancer.”
While the donation is a landmark because of its size, Gattusso said she hopes others join in to donate as well, no matter how much they’re able to give.
“Even younger children today know what cancer is and everybody can contribute something,” she said. “Every little bit helps. I cannot stress that enough.”
In April, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation launched a “Billion Dollar Challenge,” a five-year initiative to try and raise one billion dollars to revolutionize cancer care through an emphasis on personal cancer treatment. So far the challenge has raised $243 million through a combination of donations and grants.
This is the second major donation to The Princess Margaret by the Slaight family. In 2009, the family donated more than $22 million to create The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre for breast cancer patients.