NEWMARKET, ON – Southlake Foundation’s highly anticipated Here and Now Gala took place on Saturday, October 22, attracting more than 800 dedicated supporters, leaders, and patrons for an evening of philanthropy and celebration. This extraordinary event—Southlake’s most successful Gala ever—raised over $3.5 million to support the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake and launched a $20-million Campaign, HERE is Where Cancer Meets its Match.
“We are so grateful for all those who came together with purpose and compassion to champion cancer care, close to home,” said Arden Krystal, President and CEO, Southlake Regional Health Centre. “The Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake is here today thanks to the steadfast dedication and support of Southlake’s physicians, nurses, staff, and caring community of donors and volunteers.”
Legendary Canadian sports broadcaster, Rod Black, and television personality, journalist, and philanthropist, Joan Kelley Walker, emceed the event. Mr. Black and Ms. Walker—both residents of Southlake’s catchment—entertained and guided guests through the evening while inspiring the audience with personal stories of their families’ experiences with cancer.
Visionary philanthropic leaders, Frank Stronach, the van Schaik family, and the Bahen Chant family, were celebrated alongside Magna International, for their important roles in making the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre a reality. Over 10 years ago, their transformative gifts inspired Southlake’s community of donors to raise nearly $65 million, ensuring access to regional life-saving cancer care, close to home.
While the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre has served with distinction for 12 years, the local communities are among the fastest growing and aging in the province, and technology continues to advance care.
Chief of Surgery and Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Sara Temple, spoke proudly of the world-class cancer care patients receive at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre. She went on to say how challenging the COVID-19 pandemic has been for everyone and that many patients delayed seeking medical attention. More advanced cancer diagnosis, coupled with an expanding and aging population, amounts to rapidly rising needs for cancer care.
“Two out of five Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime,” said Dr. Temple. “I spend a lot of time giving people a cancer diagnosis and walking them through their treatment plan. Almost every patient asks, ‘Can I have my treatment here or do I have to go somewhere else?’ The relief they feel when they know they can get their care here is palpable. And I am so glad we can make their cancer journey a little easier.”
Jamie Pimek, a former patient of Dr. Temple, shared how important receiving his own cancer treatments close to home was for him and his family. A two-time cancer survivor before turning 40, Jamie shared his gratitude to the community who generously support and continue to invest in the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre.
To help doctors like Dr. Temple save the lives of people like Jamie, Southlake wants to double the number of systemic therapy (chemotherapy) chairs from 23 to 42. During the evening’s live Fund the Need auction, an incredible 13 new systemic therapy chairs and ancillary equipment were funded thanks to the generous outpouring of support from Gala guests.
The Gala’s success catapulted the HERE is Where Cancer Meets its Match funds raised to exceed $10.5 million, more than halfway to the $20-million Campaign goal. The Campaign has received generous lead gifts from Magna International, The Powell Group of Companies, and Fastfrate Group through Audrey’s Place Foundation, and Peter and Teresa van Schaik.
“Reaching the halfway milestone of our Campaign is extraordinary,” says Jennifer Ritter, President and CEO, Southlake Foundation. “The life-saving and life-changing care that happens every day at Southlake’s Stronach Regional Cancer Centre is a testament to our communities’ powerful support. They have stepped up once again to ensure we all have access to the essential cancer care we need, right here, close to home. Cancer has met its match!”
Gifts to the Campaign can be made at southlake.ca/here