Cancer has been a part of Peggy Miller’s life for nearly thirteen years. The vibrant 69-year-old was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), a blood cancer, in 2008. It’s one of the most common cancers affecting people over age 65. CLL is rarely curable, a reality Peggy knows well. It’s very treatable though, due in large part to research which you have helped fund. Thanks to your support, Manitoba is internationally recognized for its CLL research and clinical excellence. “Research means everything to solving this disease. Donor funds are needed to make this happen,” says Peggy. For years Peggy’s cancer didn’t require any treatment but that changed in 2014. Fortunately, there was a donor-funded clinical trial available to her. This trial tested a new drug designed to prolong remission for CLL patients. Peggy received three rounds of chemotherapy which positively and tremendously impacted her quality of life. Six years later, she is doing amazingly well.
“I feel very fortunate to have been a study patient,” remarks Peggy. “I am so blessed to be ok after all these years and I’m grateful to donors for your support of research and trials.”Peggy is living proof the research you contribute to at CancerCare Manitoba changes lives for the better. Simply put, your commitment has helped make advancements possible for CLL and many other cancers. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent cancer, detect it early, treat it better and improve the quality of lives of patients who are living with cancer. To do these things we need research,” said Dr Neil Watkins, director of the Research Institute and Hematology Centre at CancerCare Manitoba and the University of Manitoba. “None of the advances which have happened over the years would have happened without research support and donor dollars.” While research is sometimes viewed as a solitary pursuit which happens deep in a lab, that’s not the way at CancerCare Manitoba. It happens throughout the entire system, from scientific analysis to clinical trials and ultimately to care. This has not always been the case though. Research has evolved over the past number of decades – from basic science rooted in cancer cells to translational research which brings results to patients – thanks in large part to your investment. This approach and your support of local research are crucial to improving outcomes for Manitobans with cancer. “We are a comprehensive cancer centre and patients, scientists and physicians interact in many ways,” said Dr Watkins. “This provides a positive effect for everybody because we all understand what we’re here for and why we’re working so hard.” Donations targeted for local research have consistently shown excellent results as tremendous progress has been made for certain cancers, like breast and prostate. We can’t take our foot off the gas pedal though because for others like lung and pancreatic, we still have a long way to go. Thanks to your contributions, advances are happening for these cancers and there have been some very promising research developments in the last 10 years. Now more than ever it’s important to continue building on the research and treatment successes donors have supported at CancerCare Manitoba over the last several decades. “Research and innovation drive treatment. We’re striving toward tomorrow’s treatment. It’s not just the length of lives for survivors; it’s how they live. That’s the biggest change from decades ago to today’s approach,” said Dr Sri Navaratnam, President & CEO of CancerCare Manitoba. Your support of our broad cancer research program helps recruit and keep the best and brightest scientists and clinicians who are here in Manitoba searching for discoveries which ultimately benefit the people we all care deeply for.
“Having a comprehensive cancer program built on a strong research foundation enables us to attract top-notch talent,” said Dr Navaratnam. “Thanks to your commitment to the Foundation, we are able to have a huge impact on people’s lives.Your generosity makes research and trials possible in our province. The end and most important result … more effective treatments and a far better quality of life for Peggy and so many others like her living with a cancer diagnosis.