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Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute celebrates 50th anniversary

Click to play video: 'Cross Cancer Institute marks 50th anniversary' Cross Cancer Institute marks 50th anniversary
WATCH ABOVE: The medical director of the Cross Cancer Institute, Dr. Matthew Parliament, joins Su-Ling Goh to talk about how far the facility has come in 50 years – Jun 5, 2018

The Cross Cancer Institute is celebrating its 50-year anniversary on Tuesday with the Show The Love fundraiser.

630 CHED will be broadcasting live from the institute from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., encouraging listeners to donate to the fundraiser.

The year-long campaign in celebration of the milestone has a goal of raising $5 million.

Demand for services at the cross has been steadily increasing by close to 5 per cent year-over-year, and is expected to continue to grow at that rate due to an aging population and new lines of therapy and treatments available.

This is why the institute’s volunteer program is so important, providing over 45,000 volunteer hours annually to help patients through their care.

READ MORE: Volunteers offer hope to patients at Cross Cancer Institute: ‘I’ve beat this and you can too’

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Executive director of the Cross Cancer Institute David Dyer said the staff is what sets the hospital apart.

“They get this diagnosis which is very scary and life-changing, and they’re very worried about coming to the cross for the first time. So, after they have their first appointment with the cross though and meet our team of nurses, researchers, oncologists, volunteers, everybody together, they have that sense of hope. They know that the cross is going to look after their care that they provide.”

LISTEN BELOW: Executive director of the Cross Cancer Institute David Dyer talks about the Show the Love fundraiser

Over 500 patients go to the cross every day for consultation, diagnosis and treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Watch below: A former patient of the Cross Cancer Institute speaks to Su-Ling Goh about the care the facility provides

Click to play video: 'Cross Cancer Institute celebrates 50 years as demand increases' Cross Cancer Institute celebrates 50 years as demand increases
Cross Cancer Institute celebrates 50 years as demand increases – Jun 5, 2018

The institute is also home to a lot of clinical research with over 600 patients enrolled in one of over 100 clinical trials with access to the newest drugs and cancer therapies available.

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Such research has led to treatments for certain cancers, like melanoma.

Oncologist Michael Smylie started at the institute in 1994, and back then there was no effective treatment for the skin cancer, but that’s all changed.

“In about 2006 we started working with the new class of immune drugs called immune checkpoints. And we, early on, started to see some patients who would get complete disappearance of their cancer, and over the years it has never come back, and this is evolved now where these immune checkpoints have shown huge impacts on survival,” Smylie said.

“And now a metastatic melanoma patient, when they come to the clinic, they can expect to have long-term survival and probably about 30 to 40 per cent of those patients will be cured from their disease.”

LISEN BELOW: Michael Smylie is an oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute

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Experimental oncology at the cross is home to both Alberta Health Services and University of Alberta researchers, collaborating with oncologists to identify mechanisms that cause or advance cancer so that they can design new drugs that inhibit cancer development and growth.

LISTEN BELOW: George Andrews is the president and CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation

What can donations buy?

Some examples of tangible items donations could support at the cross include:

Transportation support:

  • Parking passes: $14.25
  • Taxi voucher: $25 – $75
  • Buss pass: $50
  • Van shuttle gas fill: $100

Chemotherapy wellness kit:

  • Ipad: $500
  • Headphones: $150
  • Gift card for iPad use: $100

Meal vouchers

  • Skip the Dishes gift card: $100

Patient education and comfort: 

  • Book: $10
  • Art cart supplies: $25 – $500

Wig salon

  • Human hair wig: $700 – $2,000
  • Synthetic wig: $200 – $400

Fertility preservation

  • Male: $500
  • Female: $2,000

Inpatient care kit

  • Personal items kit for those in need: $50

LISTEN BELOW: Paula Germann, site leader at the Cross Cancer Institute

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To donate go to www.showthelovetoday.ca or text CROSS to 41010.

With files from Kyle Morris and Brad Wisker.

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