The Breast Cancer Society of Canada

Research saves lives!
Breast Cancer Ribbon

Connecting Donors with Researchers

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Mr. Iwanicki with Dr. Isabelle Sirois

Researcher Dr. Isabelle Sirois giving Mr. Iwanicki a tour of her lab.

This is a very special day for us at the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. Today we are able to demonstrate the value and impact of a donation to breast cancer research by connecting the donor with the researchers. Very few donors have the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of their generosity.  And, on the other side of the coin, very few researchers have the opportunity to meet their benefactor; the one who enables them to pursue a career in life saving research.  But let me back up a moment and explain how this all came about.

Inspired by one family’s search for a cure, the Breast Cancer Society of Canada’s mission is to engage in grassroots fundraising that supports patient focused research for diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Since the founding of the ‘Society ‘in 1991, we have grown to be one of Canada’s national funding agencies for breast cancer research. While there are many excellent charities that support Breast Cancer Research, we are very proud of our energetic and nimble organization and the funding niche we fulfill.

We focus on grassroots approaches to fundraising by working with people and community groups to engage in active fundraising events for breast cancer research across Canada.  We primarily fund Translational research:  Translational Research takes knowledge and learning from significant research projects that put valuable theories into practice. This approach fosters strong collaborative partnerships between researchers and physicians, across multiple fields of study to provide the very best for breast cancer patients.  The Breast Cancer Society of Canada currently funds through the following research centers and cancer treatment centers:

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Vancouver B.C.

Tom Baker Cancer Centre- Calgary AB

University of Alberta/Medical and Dental Faculty – Edmonton, AB

Canadian Institute of Health Research – Ottawa, ON

Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation/Odette Cancer Centre- Toronto, ON

London Health Sciences Foundation/Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit – London, ON

Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Foundation/Beatrice Hunter Research Institute- Halifax, NS

A few years ago I was contacted regarding a bequest in the will of Eileen Iwanicki. Eileen had left instructions in her will for a donation to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada; what a kind and thoughtful gesture. Given the significance of the donation, we at the ‘Society’ wanted Eileen’s legacy to receive appropriate recognition. Since we are a grassroots organization we do not have palatial buildings or prominent edifices to name in her honour. So we came up with another idea; we created the Eileen Iwanicki Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Breast Cancer Research. I then approached the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) to discuss options of launching this fund through their organization. I also negotiated matching funding from CIHR; doubling the impact of the donation from the Iwanicki Family. What a wonderful legacy for Eileen; enabling recent research graduates an opportunity to investigate new ideas in breast cancer research.

So here we are today, meeting the first two recipients of the Eileen Iwanicki Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Breast Cancer Research, Dr. Isabelle Sirois and Dr. Pierre-Luc Boulay.  I am delighted that Mr. Iwanicki has had this opportunity to meet you both personally to obtain a better understanding of the impact of Eileen’s bequest. We, at the ‘Society’ are very pleased that we could facilitate today’s meeting.

As the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, the very best part of my job is to say ‘thank you’.  Words cannot express the level of gratitude I feel today. Eileen’s bequest and your continued support of her decision, Jack, will touch many lives for many years. Funding research is the only answer to finding solutions for so many people that find themselves diagnosed with breast cancer each day. So Jack, please accept my sincere appreciation.  And Drs. Sirois and Boulay, thank you for your dedication to finding these much needed solutions; your work will affect many.



Marsha Davidson

Executive Director

Breast Cancer Society of Canada

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