KGH Foundation Kicks Off Cancer Campaign

‘All funds raised will stay close to home.’
KGH Foundation Kicks Off Cancer Campaign

KELOWNA, B.C., April 15, 2024 – The KGH Foundation is announcing today that for the first time ever, the organization will be publicly fundraising to advance Cancer Care at Kelowna General Hospital. The announcement comes as the latest installment of fundraising commitments attached to the foundation’s $40 million Closer to home than you thinkcampaign, which launched just over one year ago. 

Last year, over 7,500 people from the Central Okanagan and surrounding communities in BC’s southern interior underwent surgery or were admitted for cancer-related care at KGH.

“If cancer hasn’t affected you personally, chances are it has touched someone you love,” says KGH Foundation CEO, Allison (Allie) Young. “For the people who live in the Central Okanagan and surrounding areas, advancing cancer care where it matters most – right here in our home community – must be a priority. For most cancer patients living in the Central Okanagan, Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) will be a huge part of their journey.”

The KGH Foundation has committed to raising funds to advance essential cancer care services at KGH, specifically in the vital areas of medical imaging, lab diagnostics, surgical oncology and cancer care innovation.

“When we think about all that cancer care entails, it’s important to recognize the significance of early detection, timely and accurate diagnosis and surgery as a primary treatment,” explains KGH radiologist, Dr. Brenda Farnquist. “For example, medical imaging plays a crucial role. Early and clear detection through advanced imaging technology can significantly alter the course of a patient’s journey and lead to improved outcomes and survival rates.”

The KGH Foundation has been funding cancer equipment and innovation projects for some time, including the acquisition of blue light cystoscopy (2021) that allows urologists to improve tumour detection for bladder cancer at the time of surgery and most recently (2023), trials of new technologies for wireless breast localization to reduce discomfort and enhance surgical accuracy for breast cancer patients. Today’s announcement however, is the first time that the KGH Foundation will be publically fundraising publically specifically for cancer care.

“We are thrilled that the KGH Foundation is engaging the community to help raise awareness and much-needed funds to keep lab diagnostics close to home,” says KGH Pathologist, Dr. Dante D’Urbano. “Building capacity to reduce or eliminate the need to send cancer specimens to Vancouver for testing will help speed up the diagnostic process, reduce the waiting time for test results and treatment plans, and most importantly, help mitigate the anxiety patients and families feel during what is most often a very difficult time.”

Dr. Sita Ollek is a surgical oncologist at KGH who has been working with the foundation on the wireless breast localization project. “The innovation taking place in surgical oncology has the potential to dramatically impact patient care and outcomes,” she explains. “Surgery is often vital for accurate disease staging, increasing survival chances and reducing recurrence risks.  Funding for the latest equipment and technologies will allow us to operate with enhanced precision, minimize invasiveness, and shorten recovery times for our cancer patients.”

A sizable portion of the funds raised for cancer care have been dedicated to funding innovation. Young explains, “This includes trials of new technologies and proof-of-concept projects, applied research, training in advanced techniques and other initiatives that aim to improve processes, pre and post treatment approaches and overall care that addresses the unique needs of our region’s patients.”

“This is our chance to work shoulder to shoulder with our incredible doctors, clinicians, and health care professionals to enhance their ability to deliver the highest standard of care possible, which is what our community deserves,” says Young. “Every donation to the KGH Foundation’s Cancer Care campaign will stay right here in this community.”

The KGH Foundation’sCloser to home than you think campaign is the not-for-profit organization’s most ambitious fundraising effort to date. The goal is to raise $40 million to help fund the immediate needs and long-term system changes in local health care, both at KGH, the region’s primary referral hospital, and in the community. The campaign is unique in that it’s structured to provide funding across multiple priority areas of health care, including Cancer Care. Since launching in March 2023, over $20 million has been raised.

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class healthcare close to home for a growing and diverse population in the interior of B.C. Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House, and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

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