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Peter Mansbridge and Monika Deol entertain and inspire at sold-out BC Cancer Foundation Inspiration Gala

TV personality Monika Deol chaired the 400 person sold-out BC Cancer Foundation Inspiration Gala on Thursday, while CBC News's Peter Mansbridge entertained guests and donors with his witty humour and inspiring stories.

Peter Mansbridge and Monika Deol

In chic fashion at the BC Cancer Foundation Inspiration Gala, 1.5 million dollars was raised for the BC Cancer Agency's Personalized Medicine Project to focus on Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and some rare pediatric cancers. CBC's Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge, along with Gala Chair and board member, Monika Deol, welcomed a sold out crowd of 400 people. 

The Rocky Mountaineer station was transformed into a majestic far-away place, resplendent with the vibrant colours of saris, spices and ornate Moroccan-style lanterns, yet the goal stayed close to home—personalizing cancer treatment for patients in British Columbia. Stories of survival and success to drive home the message of a world free from cancer were featured.

The event featured a silent auction with luxurious items such as an $8000 Rolex watch and a food and wine evening for 20 and an exclusive Sonora Resort getaway. My favourite item, though, was Craigs Yeats Gallery and Studio's "September Hues Coal Harbour" painting. Live entertainment and dancing rounded out the memorable evening.

Famous Players Band

Dr. Marco Marra of the Genome Sciences Centre and BC Cancer Foundation President and CEO Douglas Nelson thanked Gala sponsors for their generosity, which allows every donor dollar raised at the event to be invested into ground-breaking genomics research at the BC Cancer Agency.

Dr. Marco Marra and Douglas Nelson

Other notable guests included BC Cancer Foundation board member John Jennings, as well as interim research vice president Dr. Sam Abraham, and CBC senior meteorologist Claire Martin. I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Vancouver Sun society columnist Malcolm Parry who inspired me with his own story of overcoming esophageal cancer.

John and Christine Jennings

Dr. Sam Abraham and Debbie Wiecke

Claire Martin and Peter Mansbridge

Sharon Kennedy and Julian Benedict

According to research by Dr. Marra, acute myeloid leukemia affects approximately 200 British Columbians per year, and is fatal without appropriate therapy. Treatment options include chemotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplantion (SCT). While stem cell transplantation can be a successful treatment for some patients, it is associated with a high risk of medical complications and high cost to the health care system. The Personalized Medicine Project, a main focus of the event, is a research initiative that personalizes cancer care treatment based on genetic profiles.

The BC Cancer Foundation's seven Inspiration Galas have raised over $9 million to-date for cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency, which goes to directly fund major breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.

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