20th annual Luncheon of Hope
There was a special anniversary being marked at the annual fundraising luncheon for the Northern Cancer Foundation in Sudbury on Friday.
The Luncheon of Hope, that raises thousands of dollars every year, celebrates two decades and the guest speaker, Linda Ockwell-Jenner, was also remembering a milestone of her own.
“20 years ago, I was actually finishing my radiation treatment in Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. It was my first diagnosis with breast cancer. So, today it’s a double celebration." said Ockwell-Jenner.
She is a three-time cancer survivor, and although she has been through a lot of turmoil in her life, she always tries to remain positive and shares that message by being a motivational speaker.
"I think I’m here for a reason, and every challenge I have, I’m going to turn it into an opportunity to help some people, and that helps me." said Ockwell-Jenner.
Local breast cancer survivor Gary Duhaime also shared his story, and says when he was diagnosed there weren't many resources for him.
That's something he would like to see change.
“There's lots of stuff on female breast cancer, but there's nothing there on male. And I think it’s a story that needs to be told." said Duhaime.
Since inception, the luncheon has raised over $845,000, which has gone towards cancer research and equipment. The money raised from this year's event will go toward the purchase of a special cancer cell detection and analysis system.
Tannys Laughren is the Executive Director of the Northern Cancer Foundation.
“It helps our researchers look at the tumor cells and deconstruct them, and really take a much closer look then they could with just a simple biopsy. They can tell what kind of cancer it is, what stage it’s at and then they can develop a personalized plan. So, it means that every patient, they may even have the same kind of cancer, but they will get the best treatment suited to them." said Laughren.
The new equipment costs $150,000, so the foundation estimates it will take a few years to raise enough money. On average, the luncheon raises over $60,000 each year.