Relay for Life for life teams hoping to raise $75,000 toward cost
Cancer patients at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre could see their chemotherapy drugs mixed by a robotic system later this year.
Hamilton Health Sciences is contemplating the purchase of a $750,000 robotic system that will prepare doses of chemotherapy drugs in a sterile and automated environment near the second floor chemotherapy suite at the cancer centre.
“Chemo therapy drugs are toxic,” noted Dr. Richard Tozer, head of systemic treatment and supportive care programs and chief of oncology at the JHCC. “The purpose of the chemotherapy robot is to make the preparation of these drugs safe and also more efficient so we are able to treat our patients in a more timely manner.”
Employees, volunteers and patients at the JHCC are hoping to raise at least $75,000 for the robotic system at the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual 12-hour Relay for Life, a major fundraising event at Dofasco Park in upper Stoney Creek.
The Concession Street hospital and cancer centre announced on Feb. 28 that it had formed a partnership with the cancer society.
At a ceremony to officially launch the partnership, Tozer said JHCC supporters had already organized 41 teams for the relay and they hope to enter at least 50 teams.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to fundraise for our patients in a very direct, meaningful manner,” Tozer said.
The relay is a non-competitive event that features teams of 10-15 people walking around the outdoor track.
Many are cancer survivors or relatives and friends of people who are battling or have died from the disease.
Dunnville resident and cancer society volunteer Tamara Lovegrove said the partnership between the JHCC and the cancer society should encourage more participation in the relay.
“It will spread the word so much better to people that need to be going to the relay,” said Lovegrove, who at the launch talked about her battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma starting in 2008 which nearly killed her.
She credited JHCC staff and Dr. Graeme Fraser in particular with saving her life.
Lovegrove, who is now in remission, said the oncologist referred her to a new trial drug at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto two years ago.
“Without all that money towards research, that trial may not have been around for me to try,” she said.
Linda Wu, president of the Hamilton Wentworth unit council of the Canadian Cancer Society, said last year’s relay featured 115 teams and raised over $350,000
With the JHCC on board, she figures the number of teams could rise to nearly 200 and more than $400,000 could be raised and much of that money will remain in Hamilton.
This years Relay for Life is slated fro June 7-8 starting at 7 p.m.
Wu noted the cancer society provided $46 million to researchers across Canada last year and about $5 million has gone to Hamilton researchers over the last 5-6 years.