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Atlantic Canadian groups donate $1.4M to pancreatic cancer research

HALIFAX – The biggest donation in Atlantic Canada for pancreatic cancer research was revealed on Monday, as Craig’s Cause, the QEII Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia division announced they are giving a combined $1.4 million to support it.

Craig’s Cause is donating $500,000 while the QEII Foundation is committing $200,000. The Canadian Cancer Society is matching the $700,000 donation for a combined total of $1.4 million.

Stefanie Condon-Oldreive founded Craig’s Cause after her father’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2006. He was diagnosed July 29 that year and died two months later.

Condon-Oldreive became emotional when speaking about what her father would have thought of the donation.

“When we knew his fight was drawing to an end, we promised each other that we would ensure that research continued after he passed,” she said.

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“We were going to support research and do what we could to propel pancreatic cancer research.”

She smiled and said she thought “he would be amazed.”

“He was a very serious man but I think this would just blow his mind,” she said.

Brigitte Schmit, a pancreatic cancer patient living in Halifax, was diagnosed in Feb. 2013 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Schmit said her mother died of the disease 20 years ago, so she has some foresight.

“I am a doctor, a physician, so I knew that the future was not very good. It was pretty bad so it was very, very bad news for me and my family,” she said.

However, news of the donation put a smile on her face.

“Now we know there are some treatments available and we have a lot to do with research so it’s a beautiful thing to be able to go further.”

Pamela Fralick, president and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the $1.4 million donation is significant.

“It really changes the game around pancreatic cancer. We simply haven’t had enough funds going into the research of this disease.”

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“If you look at what’s happened with prostate cancer and breast cancer, how those survivorship rates have gone up, the more we do invest in the right research, that’s what we have to do with pancreatic research.”

The money will be given out to scientists across the country to further research in the field.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in males and females. It is considered underfunded in comparison to higher profile cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.

The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is eight per cent, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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