KGH Foundation turns to community for support of cancer care campaign

Click to play video: 'KGH Foundation launches new cancer care campaign'
KGH Foundation launches new cancer care campaign
WATCH: For the first time ever, The KGH Foundation is calling on the Central Okanagan to help raise funds in support of advancing cancer care at the Kelowna General Hospital. Jayden Wasney has the details. – Apr 15, 2024

For the first time ever, the KGH Foundation is publicly fundraising in an effort to advance cancer care at Kelowna General Hospital.

“Our campaign commitment is to, with community support, make investments at KGH and in the community to bring the best health care possible close to home,” explained KGH Foundation CEO, Allie Young.

“That way people don’t have to travel; they have greater access, and we have better patient outcomes in our community.”

Last year alone, Kelowna General Hospital saw over 7,500 people from the Central Okanagan and surrounding communities in the Southern Interior admitted for cancer-related care or surgery.

“Every day I diagnose somebody with cancer — it’s probably multiple people,” said KGH radiologist Dr. Brenda Farnquist.

“Cancers are occurring in younger people at a higher rate than they were before. It affects your friends, your family, your colleges — so this is incredibly important.”

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As a radiologist, Dr. Farnquist says she is one of the first faces people see when they come to the hospital when being tested for cancer. She says the funds raised from this campaign will help ensure people can get treated faster in Kelowna.

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“If I can get them to the next stage in their journey so that they can see the surgeon or the oncologist quicker, it’s going to get them to their treatment quicker,” said Farnquist.

“In my department, what we’re doing is we’re diagnosing, staging, assessing patients post-treatment, so it’s really important — this is absolutely incredibly important for us for patient care.”

In 2019, KGH Foundation’s vice-president of communications, Shauna Nyrose, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first person she saw at Kelowna General Hospital was none other than Dr. Farnquist.

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“At the time, like most people I had no idea what to expect, but I was really surprised by how much of my care took place in Kelowna,” said Nyrose.

“Dr. Farnquist was my radiologist and I met her under extremely difficult circumstances, but I felt really held by the care that I received here.”

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Speaking from experience, Nyrose says the community has a chance to save lives through donating to advancing cancer care.

“(The care) was second to none, but that being said, there is still opportunities for us to be better and that’s what this campaign is all about.

“Having access to world-class cancer care can really impact the outcomes for patients.”

The public cancer care fundraiser is part of the “Closer to Home Than You Think” campaign, which launched in March of 2023. So far it has raised $20 million, with a goal of raising $40 million.

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Every donation made between now and May 15 will be matched dollar for dollar. To find out how you can help, click here.

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