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Queen’s receives “transformational” donation to cancer institute

Queen’s University announced the reception of a $25 million donation from Cara and Murray Sinclair and the renaming of the university’s cancer institute after the donors.

The donation will help advance immunotherapy research, multidisciplinary cancer training, and research working on assessing the value of treatments.

In a news conference on Monday, Murray Sinclair said cancer has an impact on almost everyone, and tearfully discussed the personal experience of losing his own brother to cancer in recent months, who he said suffered from the same kind of brain cancer The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie suffered from.

Cara Sinclair said the loss is sadly not unique, but the way it affects so many also brings people together.

“Because cancer affects all of us, we all have a stake in it,” Sinclair said.

“We are all touched by cancer, and because of that we can find the collective strength and motivation to do something about it.

Murray Sinclair is an alumni of the Smith School of Business, and in a release shared hope the donation could inspire more support for cancer research.

“Queen’s takes a unique, collaborative approach to cancer research. It integrates multiple disciplines to solve problems in new ways, with a constant focus on better outcomes for patients,” the Sinclairs said.

“Our family is proud to support the institute, and we hope that this gift inspires even more support for cancer research at Queen’s.”

The Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute is unique in the fact that has three different disciplines focusing on cancer research at different levels: cancer biology and genetics, clinical trials, and cancer care and epidemiology, and the donation will help support cross-disciplinary efforts and some projects that are one of a kind in Canada.

The donation will also support a new cancer training program, and the creation of a new world-class cancer imaging facility and the development of a biomanufacturing facility for cell-based therapies.

Eman Radwan, a PhD student at Queen’s and representative of the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute Executive Committee, said she believes this will lead to new discoveries in cancer research while making the lives of patients easier in the meantime.

“What happens now is that people have to travel or wait for six to eight weeks, even in Canada, in order to get their immunotherapy prepared by international manufacturing facilities, but this donation will allow us to do that here in Kingston,” Radwan said.

“We believe that this donation will support the Institute to have new discoveries that could make a huge difference in cancer care across Canada and across the globe.”

On Monday Kathy Tidman, a school teacher and cancer survivor, said having local access to the services could be a “gamechanger” for so many patients and their families.

Rebecca Hansford, another Queen’s PhD student and member of the Institute’s Executive Committee, said she sees patients benefiting right away from this donation with an option for treatment being brought closer to home.

“They [patients] can stay in the province, they can stay in this part of the province in particular if they’re in Kingston region, they don’t have to travel far at all,” Hansford said.

“If we consider someone who has a cancer diagnosis how stressful it would be to not only have to receive treatment and be worried about what’s coming next but also have to travel and leave family or leave their job… I think that’s where we’ll see a really amazing benefit for folks.”

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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