2021 Impact Report

BC Cancer Foundation

Opening Remarks

Sarah Roth


In a year that tested us all, you, our donor community, stepped forward to support cancer research and care, with breathtaking results. 

Together, we raised $50.3 million with over 222,000 donations from across the province. We are incredibly humbled by those who rallied together to show BC Cancer experts that you believe in their vital work, and BC Cancer patients, that they are not alone.

With you, we achieved remarkable milestones that will further our mission to bring hope to patients and families. We launched a $20 million campaign to break down women’s cancers, bolstered by a transformative $5 million gift from Laurie Rix. The Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation pledged a historic $15.3 million donation, the largest gift to lung cancer research in Canada. And we appointed a first-ever chair in brachytherapy at BC Cancer, to elevate cancer care to new heights.

You fueled these successes and more.

As the pandemic forced unprecedented pivots for clinicians and researchers and introduced many new challenges for patients and families, you were there to fund critical patient support services and ensure life-saving research continued to improve cancer outcomes.

On behalf of our Foundation, thank you for being an integral part of our community.

Sarah Roth,
President & CEO,
BC Cancer Foundation


This was a year no one could have predicted. However, it was also a year of perseverance and adaptation, and our Board of Directors is proud and emboldened by the Foundation’s successes.

Raising over $50.3 million during a global pandemic is a remarkable achievement. This was possible thanks to incredible community relationships and support, agile operations and purpose-driven governance. Our Foundation proved resilient and maintained its role as a beacon of hope, continuing to fund innovations in research and care. 

This was evident with the creation of COVID relief funds; transformative gifts to both breast cancer and lung cancer research, and our ability to pivot to virtual events – including the Workout to Conquer Cancer, which saw record participation and funds raised.

Our Board remains passionately committed to BC Cancer’s vision of a world free from cancer. We are humbled by the donors who stepped forward this past year to support research and care for vulnerable patients. And I am proud of our Board for rallying together in support of BC Cancer experts to raise over $600,000 with the support of our networks.

Cancer didn’t slow down during COVID and neither did we.

Thank you.

Kirsten Tisdale,
Board Chair,
BC Cancer Foundation

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April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021

BC Cancer Foundation is the fundraising partner of BC Cancer. Together, with donors like you, we are driving world-leading cancer research and care innovation, and saving lives in British Columbia. This year we raised $50.3 million to change outcomes for patients across the province. We share this achievement with you and we won’t stop, until cancer does.

Fundraising: $39.1 million – represents all donations received as a result of annual fundraising programs, major gifts and bequests.
Investment and Other Income: $6.6 million – includes interest, dividends and realized gains on investments.
Charitable Events: $3.2 million – represents revenues generated primarily from mass participation events.
Government Grants: $1.4 million

*The financial highlights on this page are based on BC Cancer Foundation’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021


BC Cancer experts are at the helm of cancer research and care innovation. With community support, BC Cancer researchers are developing breakthroughs that are elevating the global understanding of cancer, transforming care and saving more lives. You fuel this progress.

  • Dr. Juanita Crook


Precision radiation is a growing source of pride at BC Cancer. Last year, donors elevated the brachytherapy program to new heights with the appointment of the first-ever Chair in Brachytherapy at BC Cancer – Kelowna, Dr. Juanita Crook.

Dr. Crook is a radiation oncologist at BC Cancer – Kelowna and a pioneer and leader in the field of brachytherapy – a quick and highly effective form of treatment that delivers a radiation dose directly to a tumour site internally via implanted seeds.

Brachytherapy is now proven to be more effective and less harmful than standard external beam radiation therapy. It is expected that up to 15,000 cancer patients will require brachytherapy over the next decade.

As the Chair in Brachytherapy, Dr. Crook will lead a world-class program that will usher in a new era of excellence, propelling leading-edge innovations with a provincial impact. This includes a research initiative to better understand how to define and target specific areas of cancer, using Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. This project will lead to the widespread adoption of image-guided brachytherapy across B.C.

This $3.5 million campaign became a powerful rallying point for donors in the Interior, including community leaders who helped raise $1.9 million of our goal. Donors in the community showcased their confidence in BC Cancer excellence and their passion for driving the future of cancer treatment.

With your support, this program will continue to expand and transform cancer care in our province and beyond.

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Genomics - Marathon of Hope

BC Cancer is one of only a handful of cancer treatment centres in the world that has a state-of-the-art genome analysis facility embedded within it: Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC).

This centre and its revolutionary work, has placed BC Cancer at the helm of research innovation thanks to world-leading expertise, including Dr. Marco Marra, who was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2020.

Dr. Marra is Director of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer and is the recipient of numerous awards, and is one of the world’s most cited scientists with more than 500 scientific publications. With donor support, Dr. Marra continues to extend the reach of genomics to break down cancer.

It is this leadership that has resulted in BC Cancer joining the Marathon of Hope (MOH) Cancer Centres Network in partnership with the Terry Fox Research Institute created by the Canadian Federal Government. The government will invest $150 million over five years to participating centres based on their partners’ ability to raise matching funds, for a total of $300 million in funding.

The MOH network unites top-tier cancer researchers and clinicians across Canada, allowing them to share data, treatments and outcomes – creating Canada’s largest cancer genome database.

With you, the Foundation is already leveraging these funds to advance genomic research.

This is the future of cancer care and you are propelling it forward.

PET/CT Expansion
This year, thanks to your generous support, thousands of patients gained access to the best in cancer diagnostics, closer to home.

BC Cancer – Kelowna installed a new PET/CT scanner suite, which has served over 1,200 patients, and counting! This milestone reflects the impact you make – patients in the Interior and beyond now have quicker access to vital scans without having to travel to Vancouver.

BC Cancer – Victoria celebrated the one-year anniversary of their PET/CT installation with over 2,200 patients scanned.

Bringing essential care closer to home is just one way donors like you are changing lives.
Bladder Cancer Breakthrough
As the fifth most common cancer in B.C., bladder cancer is often associated with low survival rates for advanced-staged patients. Dr. Bernie Eigl and his team at BC Cancer are at the forefront of improving patient outcomes through innovative research, targeted therapy and clinical trials.

One exciting avenue of research underway uses blood-based circulating tumour (ct) DNA testing to determine if a patient has a gene mutation commonly found in bladder cancers. This test can provide a better assessment and inform treatment options.

Over the next year, Dr. Eigl envisions an increase in provincial collaboration that will enable patients to participate in clinical trials closer to home. Increased participation will generate more data, leading to more effective treatment options for bladder cancer.

With continued donor support, Dr. Eigl and his BC Cancer colleagues can continue to ignite progress and change outcomes for this deadly disease.


In a year of challenge, our community stepped forward in support of cancer patients across the province. With you, we connected patients to vital care, we launched transformative initiatives and kept the momentum in our mission to break down cancer. All, thanks to you.

  • Healthcare Heroes


The pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges and stress to cancer research and care. It required quick adaptations, prioritization and the relentless dedication to our mission.

As BC Cancer experts stepped up to serve at-risk patients, donors like you came forward to advance vital research and support BC Cancer patients and their families when they needed it the most.

With you, our Foundation created a COVID Response Fund, which funded emerging priority needs and connected patients to their care across the province. This fund mobilized donors in a variety of networks and communities, including a fund specifically propelled by South Asian community leaders. With this support, isolated patients in every region were able to receive critical care.

When research funding was at-risk, donors, including the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation, rallied to drive a research rescue initiative that provided vital support for BC Cancer researchers.

COVID relief has been a global team effort and BC Cancer experts are at the forefront of diagnostic innovation. BC Cancer Drs. Stephen Lam and Renelle Myers are currently piloting a study into utilizing breathomics, an emerging field for early detection of lung cancer that uses exhaled breath to assess risk and inform further testing, to create a rapid test for COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, cancer hasn’t slowed down. However, BC Cancer experts haven’t either and, with the support of our donor community, we’ll continue to drive the world-leading research and care required to save more lives in communities across the province and beyond.


  • BC Cancer Research Centre
  • Nicola Brailsford


In February, the BC Cancer Foundation received a historic gift of $15.3 million from the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation to advance lung cancer research and care. This gift is Canada’s largest known donation supporting lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related death in B.C.

This transformative contribution reflects both a commitment to research innovation as well as trust in the world-leading work of Dr. Stephen Lam, Leon Judah Blackmore Chair in Lung Cancer Research, BC Cancer.

“Leon was inspired by Dr. Stephen Lam and BC Cancer, he believed that they could completely change the story for lung cancer, and we were compelled to give knowing how many lives this will help here in B.C., across Canada and around the world,” says Nicola Brailsford, CEO & Trustee, Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation. 

The goal is to immediately begin work at BC Cancer that will see significant advancements in treatment and survival, with Dr. Lam leading the vision.

This will place BC Cancer at the global forefront of innovation in early detection, treatment and high impact research. BC Cancer experts will be able to develop novel early detection methods, artificial intelligence, new therapeutics to prevent and cure lung cancers, and methods to stop tumour resistance and recurrence.

With lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer-related death in B.C., this work will bring new hope to those diagnosed. This could add ten years or more to their lives, to spend with family, friends and loved ones, with minimal symptoms and complications.


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Women's Cancers

In 2020, we announced our commitment to change the outcome for the 5,500 British Columbians who will be diagnosed with a breast or gynecologic cancer every year.

With a tail wind of support, we proudly launched our $20 million campaign in the late fall with an incredible $5 million pledge from Laurie Rix through the Rix Family Foundation, to advance breast cancer research and honour her late husband and father.

“In the 11 years since my father passed away, the progress has been leaps and bounds. When my father was facing his cancer, we went for consults all over the world, and no one could come close to what BC Cancer could do. Today, I am so proud to invest in the BC Cancer team; they are absolute leaders in their field.”

A key component of the Rix donation is support for BC Cancer’s flagship breast cancer study, B-PRECISE, which enrolls patients to analyze their cancer’s DNA, which is leading to a new global understanding of the disease and how to treat it.

Our Foundation was also able to establish a fund to honour renowned gynecologic oncologist and co-founder of BC Cancer’s Ovarian Cancer Research (OVCARE) team, Dr. Dianne Miller with The Dianne Miller Excellence in Gynecologic Cancer Research Fund. This important fund pays tribute to her rich history of impact as she retires from practice, and offers donors the opportunity to continue her legacy.

With ambitious goals, other Foundation champions stepped in to help drive the momentum even further; Foundation board members rallied their networks, virtual event attendees from across the province donated, and businesses, including dozens of women-owned companies in Victoria, contributed to make an impact.

We’re proud to report that with hard work and your commitment, we’ve raised over half of our campaign goal and we’re not slowing down!


Leaving a Legacy
Trish, a retired costume designer in the Vancouver film industry, faced aggressive colorectal cancer for four years and was considered palliative before beginning the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program at BC Cancer in 2014. It was her last hope.

Through POG, and her expert care team, Trish started on a new drug and within eight weeks, Trish was tumour-free. Since then, Trish’s cancer has reappeared and is currently being managed with ongoing treatment.

Trish is hopeful and passionate about the future of cancer care, which is why she has pledged a gift in her will to BC Cancer Foundation. Her legacy will drive research innovations for generations to come.

“Leaving a gift in our wills to the BC Cancer Foundation was an easy decision,” says Trish. “I was given the gift of participating in a BC Cancer clinical trial and the POG Program. These personalized treatments saved my life and bought me precious time with my husband. Our extra years together have been a gift, allowing us to create many meaningful memories with loved ones.

Our sincere thanks go out to all staff who work tirelessly with professionalism, understanding and kindness.”
Why We Workout
During this challenging year, the Foundation reimagined participant experience, while providing a space for connection and impact.

Workout to Conquer Cancer delivered both as 2,200 dedicated participants from B.C. and beyond rallied together to keep motivation levels high and achieve a new fundraising record of $650,000!

From online fitness classes to outdoor walks, the Workout community proved that they were committed to BC Cancer patients and were willing to adapt with us.

The success of this event showcased our collective ability to mobilize remotely around a common goal. We’re incredibly grateful for each individual and team that supported Workout and thank you for moving with us.
Our Ambassadors
In the past year, we challenged ourselves to deepen relationships with donors across B.C. to enhance collaboration, reach new communities and create meaningful impact for families affected by cancer.

To do this, we established regional councils, fundraising committees and cabinets in the Interior and on Vancouver Island. Ambassadors in each region played an integral role by rallying their communities to action in support of cancer research and care.

We gained insight and expertise from South Asian community leaders and young professionals passionate about the power of philanthropy. This year, our Catalyst Ambassador program recruited 11 diverse members from across the province.

Collaborating with new ambassadors was vital to our success during a challenging time. Their input and passion drove funding for COVID-19 relief and cancer research to new heights.


In a year that tested us all, you stepped forward to support cancer research and care, with breathtaking results.

The highlights shared here reflect what you have made possible during this period of hardship. It is emblematic of our combined strength and shared determination.

On behalf of our Foundation, thank you for being an integral part of our community.