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How Chris Kucharski owns cancer

A campaign of this magnitude doesn’t happen without the support and dedication of our community. The OWN.CANCER campaign cabinet is made up of passionate Calgarians who are champions for improved cancer research, treatment and care in our province. Through their advocacy, donations and guidance, we’re closer to reaching our $250 million fundraising goal in support of the Calgary Cancer Centre. In this series, we’re sitting down with our cabinet members to learn what the OWN.CANCER campaign means to them and the impact it will have on Albertans facing cancer.

Chris Kucharski has had a thriving career as a telecommunications professional and executive, having retired as Shaw’s President – Consumer in 2018. Since then he has split his time in between startup investing in the tech space along with various philanthropic endeavours, including serving as Board Trustee for the Alberta Cancer Foundation since 2019. Staying active and healthy remains a personal priority, along with spending time with family, creative pursuits, and consulting work. Chris also holds degrees from the University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University.

What inspires you to OWN.CANCER?

Certainly nobody wants to hear the words that you have been diagnosed with cancer. Your world is rocked and the mental challenge can become nearly as big as the physical one. When I was diagnosed, my core motivation became about the ones I love – living longer to watch my kids become adults and go through life’s milestones, having new experiences, or just enjoying the simple moments of hanging out together. I’m not always successful at it, but I think I am happiest when I keep gratitude top of mind, and the most important things front and centre. So for me, it comes back to what the core mission of  the Alberta Cancer Foundation is all about – creating more moments for Albertans facing cancer, and the reality of how precious our time here really is.

 

For me, it comes back to what the core mission of  the Alberta Cancer Foundation is all about – creating more moments for Albertans facing cancer, and the reality of how precious our time here really is.

– Chris Kucharski

 

Why was it important to you to volunteer and contribute to this campaign?

I’m a born and raised Albertan, and have lived in Calgary for over a decade.  Making the effort to give back to the community that has been so good to me has become something that matters deeply – and especially so after having gone through my own cancer experience.  I can’t properly convey the gratitude I have for the incredible health care professionals that we rely on here in Calgary and I feel really fortunate to have been under their care at Foothills/Tom Baker. I live nearby the new cancer centre and every time I pass it, I feel so enthused about what this means for our city and community – it’s truly exciting to be a part of.

How do you believe this campaign and the Calgary Cancer Centre will impact Albertans facing cancer?

This really is a game changer for Calgary, and Alberta. When it opens in fall 2023, it will be the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Canada, and a major asset for Calgary and the province. Meaning not just a beautiful facility, but one that will gather the right people/talent with the right tools to drive research and transform cancer care and treatment. That includes precision care, where treatments can be planned and coordinated around each individuals physical, mental and social needs. Regrettably, we know that nearly everyone is affected by cancer in their lifetime, whether themselves or someone they love. Helping the new centre realize its potential to improve care and outcomes is therefore extremely motivating, and I’m certain that’s something all of us can rally behind.

At the Calgary Cancer Centre, we’re bringing together researchers, medical teams, prevention experts, patients and families in ways never before possible. Help make an impact for patients like Ashley, and donate to the OWN.CANCER campaign today.

Barbara Munroe – Campaign Cabinet Members

A campaign of this magnitude doesn’t happen without the support and dedication of our community. The OWN.CANCER campaign cabinet is made up of passionate Calgarians who are champions for improved cancer research, treatment and care in our province. Through their advocacy, donations and guidance, we’re closer to reaching our $250 million fundraising goal in support of the Calgary Cancer Centre. In this series, we’re sitting down with our cabinet members to learn what the OWN.CANCER campaign means to them and the impact it will have on Albertans facing cancer. 

Barbara Munroe is a former lawyer having retired as executive vice president and general counsel of WestJet Airlines. Prior to that, she held senior legal and executive positions at Imperial Oil, SMART Technologies and Blake, Cassels & Graydon. Barbara is now focused on corporate directorships within the oil and gas (Crescent Point) and utilities (ENMAX) sectors, along with being a Trustee of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. She is also a two-time University of Calgary graduate (BComm ’87, LLB ’90).

 

I am convinced that the Calgary Cancer Centre will change the landscape of cancer care and research, while also providing meaningful and diversified economic benefits to Calgary. It will be the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Canada – that’s impact!

– Barbara Munroe

 

What inspires you to OWN.CANCER?

In May 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My world was displaced at the time I was full-stride in my career. One year following my diagnosis, my mother was diagnosed with cancer in her jaw that necessitated invasive surgery with long-lasting daily living effects, and my father is currently living with metastatic prostate cancer.

Having repurposed myself, I now have more time to give and the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the OWN.CANCER cabinet is the perfect fit to add my voice to the advancement of cancer awareness, prevention, screening and increased funding for research in Alberta, and for the new Calgary Cancer Centre.

I learned that the work of the Alberta Cancer Foundation supports every cancer-related clinical trial in Alberta – and that one positive clinical trial can help out hundreds of thousands of patients. That is real impact and is the practical inspiration that got me involved to advocate and fundraise for the OWN.CANCER campaign.

As the Lululemon tag goes “do one thing a day that scares you”. I am lucky as a survivor that I can try to live in the spirit of that adage – my personal inspiration to OWN.CANCER is that facing cancer should not be one of those things!

Why was it important to you to volunteer and contribute to this campaign?

You can’t help but be impressed with what has been built to date. With an investment of $1.4 billion, the Calgary Cancer Centre is the largest government infrastructure project in the province.

Construction will be complete in 2022 and it is anticipated that this facility will open to the public in 2023. That’s not a lot of time! But a lot of energy is going into attracting world-class clinicians and researchers to make the Calgary Cancer Centre the gold standard in care. Countless hours of professional and volunteer time have gone into this project, and we are on the doorstep of something that is going to be nothing short of game-changing.

It keeps coming back to that for me – the integration of research to optimize care – a collaborative approach with all of the right groups represented. This is what will differentiate the new centre and most importantly, offer hope and save lives! Integrated care and research is a pretty involved subject, but I am convinced that through the partnership with the University of Calgary, the Calgary Cancer Centre will be one of the leading cancer centres in North America.

How do you believe this campaign and the Calgary Cancer Centre will impact Albertans facing cancer?

Experience offers some perspective. While going through my own treatment, and observing that of my parents, the care and options were very good. However, the system, and the scattered and various facilities, were complex to navigate and didn’t result in feelings of being intimately connected to the universe of care providers.

Having everything in one place will alleviate anyone from feeling that they are alone when facing cancer. The feeling when walking into the Calgary Cancer Center will not be one of fear, but rather one of belonging.

I am convinced that the Calgary Cancer Centre will change the landscape of cancer care and research, while also providing meaningful and diversified economic benefits to Calgary. It will be the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Canada – that’s impact!

But most importantly, there will be a one-word answer for patients and their families facing cancer who ask “Where do I need to go?”

Here.

 

Click here to learn more about the OWN.CANCER campaign

Mavis Clark – Campaign Cabinet Members

 

A campaign of this magnitude doesn’t happen without the support and dedication of our community. The OWN.CANCER campaign cabinet is made up of passionate Calgarians who are champions for improved cancer research, treatment and care in our province. Through their advocacy, donations and guidance, we’re closer to reaching our $250 million fundraising goal in support of the Calgary Cancer Centre. In this series, we’re sitting down with our cabinet members to learn what the OWN.CANCER campaign means to them and the impact it will have on Albertans facing cancer. 

“The Calgary Cancer Centre is a daring dream being realized through unfettered determination and sheer perseverance.”

Mavis Clark is an educator who retired from the Calgary Board of Education, having held a variety of school-based and senior-level administrative positions. She completed her career as the Superintendent of Human Resources. Mavis graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Education and Masters of Education and holds a Certified Human Resources Practitioner designation from CHRP Canada.

In addition to completing two terms as a UCalgary Senator, she served on community boards, particularly those focused on women and families including Homefront Calgary, Prairie Action Foundation and the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. 

She is a passionate champion for the community, investing time in the education of children, social justice reform, and changing the narrative about lung cancer. 

What inspires you to OWN.CANCER?

“In March 2007, my husband Paul Clark heard four words that would change our lives forever: ‘You have lung cancer’. With the utterance of this unvarnished statement, our charmed life was over as we knew it. Paul was a non-smoker, the picture of health and in the prime of his life when he was diagnosed with this deadly cancer. In April 2010, Paul succumbed to the disease.  Like most people with lung cancer, he didn’t live five years past the diagnosis.

“It was then that I stepped forward to become a vocal advocate to push for the advancement of lung cancer awareness, prevention, screening and increased funding for research.  The stark reality was that the lack of funding would continue to dramatically limit the options and outcomes for lung cancer patients.

“It was clear if nothing changed then countless families would share our heartache. I couldn’t change my own circumstance but perhaps I could make a difference for someone else.”

“I started a personal campaign to “own lung cancer”.  Over the past 12 years, I have become a recognized cancer advocate, bringing much-needed attention to the stigma associated with lung cancer and its dismal survival outcomes.  As a community member, I have supported The Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute through the Cumming School of Medicine. Together, our mission is to decrease cancer in the population, advance treatment and improve the patient experience. To this end, the Paul Clark Lung Cancer Fellowship was established in 2011. It is now an integral part of this mission, to attract and support innovative researchers as they seek to change the outcomes of this devastating disease. These efforts have led to the formation of The Lung Cancer Translational Research Initiative at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.”

Why was it important to you to volunteer and contribute to this campaign?

“In the twelve years since Paul’s death, I have worked closely with a brilliant team of clinicians/researchers who are driven by a commitment to bring real hope to lung cancer patients and their families. I continue to be inspired by their quest to find the right treatment so each patient can live their lives to the fullest. Working with these talented individuals, and being a member of a powerful collaborative partnership between community-health care scientists/medical professionals has helped me to deal with his passing.

“I am thrilled beyond words by the progress our Calgary clinician/researchers are making to translate the bed to bench and bench to bedside knowledge into leading-edge cancer prevention/treatment in many cancers.  I am proud to be part of the OWN.CANCER campaign.  It represents what we do best in Alberta the community coming together to achieve big, bold, audacious goals. 

“The OWN.CANCER is all about engaging the community in a collaborative relationship with the best and brightest in the medical field to be leaders with the goal of conquering cancer at a world level. Collectively we can change the face of cancer if everyone embraces and “owns” the cause.  Every dollar raised will make a huge difference!!!  I am committed to doing my part through the continued funding of The Paul Clark Lung Cancer Fellowship and by leaving a legacy gift to financially support the advancement of cancer research into the future. 

“The OWN.CANCER campaign will impact so many lives…. to me, it is the personification of hope.”

How do you believe this campaign and The Calgary Cancer Centre will impact Albertans facing cancer?

“You can never really anticipate how life will unfold.  We all have dreams. We all have hopes. But sometimes reality has a different plan. The new Cancer Centre will be there for those facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. This magnificent facility is the realization of many acts of generosity, volunteer efforts and institutional partnerships coming together to make an ambitious dream come true.

“The new cancer centre has a powerful humanistic vibe…a feeling like you’re being hugged and enveloped by warmth. You have the sense that it’s no longer about what has happened. It’s about what’s going to happen and creating a safe space for everything that’s coming next. Each cancer patient’s journey will be supported in a building bolstered by imagination, innovation and industriousness. This facility will offer life-affirming support for patients and their families informed by revolutionary research and the utilization of cutting-edge equipment. The new Cancer Centre will be the catalyst for progressive cancer care for our community and far beyond. Working together, all things are possible.” – Mavis Clark

 

Click here to learn more about the OWN.CANCER campaign