Gets hiGh school
students in labs
PuRPle witH a PuRPoSe
Pancreatic cancer
into Alberta’s cancer-free movement
FALL 2013
SPace man
Combining astronomy and
cancer research
SPeak uP
Patients participate
in their care
cross Golf classic meets and
beats fundraising goals
What will you fnd in
the cross’s cell imaging
Facility? P. 36
take a SHot
Archery in Alberta
for all seasons
3,572 PRIZES
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Untitled-1 1 5/14/13 10:15:27 AM Leap_Fall13_p02-03.indd 2 8/19/13 2:18:16 PM
al ber tacancer f oundati on. ca fall 2013
FALL 2013 • VOL 3 • No. 6 CONTENTS
16 Why I DonATE
Competition for a good cause: Cross Cancer
Institute’s 25th Golf Classic
Peter Kossowan found the support he needed
32 Top Job
Bryce Hirsch takes the Tomorrow Project
as far as he can
Amazing technology found in the Cell
Imaging Facility
38 CoSTly CAnCER
Financial stress of a disease
40 RIghT on TARgET
Shoot for something: how about archery?
David Naylor took the scenic route through space
to begin his cancer research
Tips: End-of-season garden clean-up
4 oUR lEAp
A message from the Alberta Cancer Foundation
A New Cancer Research Discovery, Harvest Half
Marathon, Colour Theory, Mud Heroes, Chocolate
Chip Cookies, Camp Kindle and Read for the Cure
11 nExT gEn
Grade 11 student Patrick O’ Donnel got hands-on
lab training through the HYRS program
12 boDy MInD
Considering acupuncture
To eat is to balance
14 ASk ThE ExpERT
What is a migraine? PLUS: Best before dates
and sharing furry friends’ illnesses
48 CoRpoRATE gIvIng
Delnor Construction matches employee
charity donations
50 My lEAp
Four friends couldn’t find
the perfect fundraiser,
so they made their own
FAll SpoTlIghT
ON THE COVER: Darrell Graham, Bob Bentley,
Cal Nichols and Harry Kipnes
PHOTO: Aaron Pedersen 3TEN
Researching the benefits of exercise for cancer
23 SpEAk FoR yoURSElF
Patients connect with their health-care team
26 In ThE gEnES
Should you have preventative surgery if you have a
cancer-associated gene?
Untitled-1 1 5/14/13 10:15:27 AM
Leap_Fall13_p02-03.indd 3 8/19/13 2:19:30 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca fall 2013
alberta cancer foundation
message /
Angela Boehm, Chair
Gary Bugeaud
Heather Culbert
Steven Dyck
Paul Grundy
Edmonton (ex-offcio)
Don Lowry
Katie McLean
John J. McDonald
Andrea McManus
Brent Saik, Vice Chair
Sherwood Park
Sandy Slator
Greg Tisdale
Vern Yu, Vice Chair
As we head into the fall issue of Leap, you will notice a new face sharing
this message. We are excited to welcome Angela Boehm as the new chair
of the Alberta Cancer Foundation board of trustees. Angela has been on
the board since 2009 and was named chair May 31, 2013. She has been
actively involved in our Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, co-chairing the
event for two years and is one of three trustees who worked behind the
scenes to help make a new cancer centre in Calgary a reality. Her strong
background in strategic marketing and finance is an asset to the
Foundation and we look forward to her committed leadership to ensure
we continue to invest in programs that improve Albertans’ lives.
By welcoming Angela, it means we are also saying goodbye to our past
chair, John Osler. John joined us in 2006 as a way to give back to his com-
munity. Ironically, he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia
the next year and, as he has said many times, the Alberta Cancer
Foundation’s goal of a cancer-free future became his personal cause.
John provided visionary and strategic leadership to the Alberta Cancer
Foundation as chair for the past fve years. During his tenure, he lived and
breathed the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. In 2009, he built a team
of 25 riders who raised a total of $171,795. John didn’t stop there; he con-
tinued to engage others in this epic annual event as a member of the Ride
committee, personally securing $3.8 million in sponsorship dollars over
the last five years. Furthermore, he engaged his own law firm in an
$180,000 commitment over three years and recruited
many colleagues as volunteers. In just five years, the
Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer has allowed the
Alberta Cancer Foundation to invest $30.8 million in
transformational cancer research, treatment, prevention
and care programs across the province.
John, Angela and trustee Heather Culbert were all
instrumental in working with the provincial government and Alberta
Health Services for a new, much-needed comprehensive cancer centre in
Calgary. The city and southern Alberta have outgrown the Tom Baker
Cancer Centre – where John received his own cancer treatment – in the
past 10 years, so the announcement was long awaited. John represented
the board of trustees, staff and donors when he joined Premier Alison
Redford on March 1 to announce the centre would become a reality.
We are privileged that John will stay on with the Foundation to help raise
$200 million for this facility. We sincerely thank him for his vision, advoca-
cy and unwavering support and for being such a powerful part of Alberta’s
cancer-free movement. We would also like to thank outgoing trustee
Heather Watt for her support and service. We are thrilled to add four
dynamic new trustees to our board: Gary Bugeaud, Don Lowry, Andrea
McManus, Sandy Slator, and Greg Tisdale. As we move ahead, we are
excited about moving forward with our vision to ensure our donors’ invest-
ments have a transformational impact on outcomes that are important to
Albertans – earlier detection of cancer, better treatments, better survival
rates and better quality of life.
Myka Osinchuk, CEO Angela Boehm, Chair
Alberta Cancer Foundation Alberta Cancer Foundation
Take a Chair
By welcoming Angela,
it means we are also
saying goodbye to our
past chair, John Osler.
Leap_Fall13_p04-05.indd 4 8/22/13 8:46:03 AM
Al ber ta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013
w w w . a l b e r t a c a n c e r . c a
The Alberta Cancer Foundation
is more than a charity—it’s a
movement for cancer-free lives,
today, tomorrow and forever.
It’s a movement of those who know a cancer-free
future is possible and who won’t settle for “some day.”
It’s a movement of Albertans who stand with those
who have no choice but to stand up to cancer.
It’s a movement of those who know something
can be done and are willing to do it.
For those facing cancer today, in honour of those
lost to cancer, and for generations to come,
we promise progress.
fall 2013 VOL 3 • No. 6
Senior Vice-President and Senior Medical Director, Cancer Care
Alberta Health Services
Vice-President, Cancer Control
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Director, Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute
Associate Director, Research, Alberta Health Services,
Cancer Care
CEO, Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta
CONTRIBUTINg WRITERS: Colleen Biondi, Linda Carlson,
Caitlin Crawshaw, Alexandria Eldridge, Michael Hingston,
Jacqueline Louie, Lisa Ricciotti, Darcy Ropchan, Karol Sekulic,
Dawn Smith, Kelley Stark, Shelley Williamson
Brian Buchsdruecker, Stockwell Collins, Ryan Girard, Ewan Nicholson,
Rob Olson, Aaron Pedersen, Joey Podlubny, Kelly Redinger,
Constantine Tanasiuk
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is Alberta’s own, established to advance
cancer research, prevention and care and serve as the charitable
foundation for the Cross Cancer Institute, Tom Baker Cancer Centre
and Alberta’s 15 other cancer centres. At the Alberta Cancer Foundation,
we act on the knowledge that a cancer-free future is achievable.
When we get there depends on the focus and energy we put to it today.
Leap is published for the Alberta Cancer Foundation by
Venture Publishing Inc., 10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3
Tel: 780-990-0839, Fax: 780-425-4921, Toll-free: 1-866-227-4276
The information in this publication is not meant to be a substitute for professional
medical advice. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualifed health
provider regarding any medical condition or treatment.
Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM.
Leap is printed on Forest Stewardship Council ® certifed paper
Publications Agreement #40020055
ISSN #1923-6131
Content may not be reprinted or reproduced without permission from Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Leap_Fall13_p04-05.indd 5 8/19/13 3:11:33 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca fall 2013
forefront /
prevent, treat, cure
Sporadic breast cancer accounts for
more than 80 per cent of the cases in women
who develop the disease and it develops with
little or no family history of breast cancer. The
high rate of sporadic cancers is frustrating for
women and researchers because the
disease’s random nature, compared to
familial cancers, makes it hard to determine
who should be incorporating preventive measures into their lives.
Sambasivarao Damaraju, a University of Alberta professor with the Faculty of
Medicine and Dentistry in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology,
and Cross Cancer Institute researcher, recently led a team to a new and exciting
discovery about sporadic breast cancer. “We identifed a genetic marker on chro-
mosome 4 for women with the disease, which was validated in independent
attempts in Alberta populations,” Damaraju says. Genetic markers can be detect-
ed in blood and used to determine the risk level an individual has of developing
a disease. The team’s discovery was determined by scanning DNA from blood
samples of 7,200 women in Alberta – including some who had sporadic breast
cancer and some who did not have cancer at all.
This genetic marker has never been associated with familial breast cancer
cases, which helps researchers separate the diseases and study their causes
independently. “The frequency of this marker occurring was statistically
signifcant,” Damaraju says. “Although 60 to 70 genetic risk factors have been
identifed for familial breast cancer, we don’t know much about the genetic risk
factors for sporadic breast cancer. So this fnding is exciting and shows us more
research is needed in this area.”
Damaraju says his recent study falls under the Genome Wide Association
Studies (GWAS), which is to search the human genome (the entirety of an
organism’s hereditary information) for gene variations and irregularities and
identify markers that put certain people at risk for breast cancer and others not. He
also says GWAS is relatively new on the international research stage considering
“the frst of such studies were reported in 2007 by a U.K. consortium,” but those
studies were in the context of familial breast cancer.
It was Damaraju’s Edmonton-based lab that led the pursuit, and published
studies about GWAS for sporadic breast cancer in 2011 in the Journal of Human
Genetics and more work, this year, in PLOS ONE journal. Alberta Cancer
Foundation donors support the biobank that gave Damaraju and his team access
to tumour samples necessary for their research. The team that helped discover
the chromosome 4 genetic marker included Dr. John Mackey, co-author of their
published studies and medical oncology clinical investigator at the Cross Cancer
Institute, as well as PhD student Yadav Sapkota, and other contributions came
from previous trainees Malinee Sridharan and Badan S. Sehrawat.
“The purpose of this project is to eventually identify genetic signatures that
help screen populations and identify those at risk long before the disease
announces its hold on the host,” Damaraju says. “We should not look elsewhere
for the world to lead us; we have the ingredients to breed success, and Albertans
and the Alberta Cancer Foundation should take pride of what our local
researchers have accomplished.”
Read more about Dr. Damaraju’s work at the Cross Cancer Institute in Leap’s
Winter 2011 issue: “Research Rockstar: Now Showing” (myleapmagazine.ca)
By Michelle lindStroM
Less Sporadic
New discovery links non-familial cancers
to genetic marker
on Saturday, october 5, 2013, the 13th
annual Harvest Half Marathon will take over
some of Calgary’s southeast paths and trails.
Funds raised for this event will go towards the
Tracey Flagg Memorial Fund. Tracey was 38
years old when she died of brain cancer, and her
family is honouring her memory by directing
funds raised to the Alberta Cancer Foundation
and brain cancer research.
The race itself will start promptly at 7:45 a.m.
in the Mid-Sun Community Centre (50 Midpark
Rise S.E.), and runners will follow the course
through Fish Creek Park and the communities
of Midnapore, Shawnee, Evergreen and
Sundance, mainly on paved roads or pathways.
Register now and start gathering donations
or sign up to be a race day volunteer!
More information can be found at
time to
Dr. Sambasivarao Damaraju
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 6 8/19/13 2:23:38 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013
Top 9
Designers and psychologists believe there is
meaning behind the colours we see and are drawn
to. Here is a brief explanation of what everyday
colours mean or are associated with. Note that
meanings can differ between cultures and countries.
Red: Love, danger, anger, adventure, fre,
magic and religious meaning. International
colour for “stop.” Most popularly used fag
colour. “Good luck” in Asia.
Yellow: Happiness, optimism,
enlightenment, creativity, spring, caution,
cowardice, betrayal and physical illness
Blue: Water, sky, cold, trust, dignity, authority,
cleanliness, strength, peace, ethereality,
understanding and depression. (The shade
changes its meaning.) Favourite colour for most
people everywhere.
GReen: Growth, fertility, luck (good and bad,
depending on culture), envy, nature,
environment and shamrocks. International
traffc light colour.
PuRPle: Supernatural meanings, nobility,
luxury, spirituality, creativity, dignity, magic,
conceit, mourning and bravery. (The armed
forces award a Purple Heart for valour.) Rare
in nature, it’s a love-it or hate-it colour.
oRanGe: Vibrancy, heat, health, fruit,
engagement, cheer, excitement, good health,
autumn, abrasiveness and crassness. Various
shades: terracotta, pumpkin, cayenne, salmon.
Used for visibility: traffc cones, prison uniforms
and work vests.
Pink: Compassion, nurture, love, femininity,
romance, hope, calm, and understanding.
Associated with pink slip (bad luck), tickled pink
(good luck), pink Cadillac, famingos, Pepto
Bismol, sunsets, baby girls and sunburn.
Black: Mystery, power, control, intimidation,
unfriendliness, discipline, independence,
authority, sophistication, elegance and
confdence. Absorption of all colour and
absence of light.
white: Purity, innocence, wholeness, equality,
fairness, awakening, creativity, cleanliness,
encouragement, protection, peace, comfort,
new beginnings, sterility, cold, emptiness and
Mud, Sweat
and Cheers
It started with a friendly work challenge between my
husband Kevin Lindstrom’s employer, Solutions Workplace
Furnishings, an Edmonton-based offce furniture dealer, and HBI,
a sister company in Calgary. Kevin’s offce decided to enter a team
of six – the Solutionators – into the 2013 Mud Hero event, which took
place on on August 10 and 11.
It was the second annual Mud Hero in Alberta with the Alberta
Cancer Foundation and neither my husband nor his teammates had
ever participated in anything like it before. They didn’t really know what
they were in for or how to properly prepare for a muddy six-kilometre-
long obstacle course on a ski hill (Canyon Ski Resort just outside of Red
Deer). It took them through tunnels, traversing hills, under logs, forcing
them into deep, sludgy mud puddles and over walls via netted ladders.
Kevin and his fve teammates were slotted for a 2 p.m. start on
Sunday, August 11 while family members, friends and strangers
cheered them on – partially because nobody could tell who was who
considering all participants looked the same: brown, dirty, smiling
messes. Red Deer’s event spanned two days due to its popularity – and
it still sold out! Other locations host the dirty event too: Ottawa,
Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto, with local charitable organiza-
tions benefting. For Red Deer, the Alberta Cancer Foundation received
$35,000 in donations from the Super Mud Heroes – online fundraisers.
Participants were also given the option to fundraise for the foundation.
With our two young daughters, Kevin is no stranger to mud puddles
and he has already set his mind on next year’s Mud Hero while also
gently twisting arms of co-workers to take part.
See mudhero.com for more information. – Michelle Lindstrom
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 7 8/21/13 10:36:59 AM
You can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies, but sometimes you want something that aspires to greatness.
• 2 cups four
• 2 cups shredded coconut
• 1 cup margarine (using this instead of butter
makes the recipe vegan)
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 regular-sized package of semi-sweet chocolate
chips (the recipe is vegan if no milk or animal
products are used as a chocolate ingredient)
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 cup hot water
• 2 tsp plain apple sauce (may adjust amount to taste or
preferred consistency)
Twist on Chocolate Chip Cookies
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift and mix dry ingredients
• Cream sugar and margarine together in a large bowl.
• Dissolve baking soda completely in hot water then pour
into creamed mixture and stir until blended.
• Add apple sauce to creamed mixture.
• Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.
• Add chocolate chips gradually and stir until evenly distributed.
• Make a tablespoon-sized cookie ball with a spoon to check the mixture’s
consistency. If the mixture is frm and damp (not soaking), then you can place it on
a baking sheet (no need to grease the pan). Slightly press the top of the dough ball
down with a fork. Do not fatten. Repeat until all the dough is used. Provide space
between cookies as they will spread out slightly while cooking.
• If the mixture is still dry, faky and not keeping its ball shape, add more apple
sauce to the mixture in very small amounts, 1/2 tsp, for example.
• Place in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
• Let cool slightly before taking a bite of deliciousness!
Pick up your free copy of My journey,
now available at centres
throughout the province.
Tom Baker Cancer Centre:
s New patient information sessions
Cross Cancer Institute:
s New patient clinicis
s Cancer Information Centre
Associate cancer centres:
s Grande Prairie Cancer Centre
s Central Alberta Cancer Centre (Red Deer)
s Medicine Hat Cancer Centre
s Jack Ady Cancer Centre (Lethbridge)
For those facing
cancer today…
Manage your cancer-care and navigate the health
care system with a patient journal from the Alberta
Cancer Foundation.
The more information you can track and communicate with your care team,
the more they can ease your cancer journey.
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 8 8/19/13 3:17:07 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013
Camp Kindle is situated in the Foothills, just less than
an hour northwest of Calgary. This picturesque location is
perfect to provide year-round programs for children and
families in Alberta facing a cancer diagnosis as well as year-
round customized programs for various community groups.
This year on June 2, the camp, fully owned and operated
by Kids Cancer Care, celebrated International Survivors Day.
Approximately 85 children with cancer between the ages of
one and 16 years attended the event full of entertaining
activities such as face painting, magic demonstrations by
Christopher Cool Magician, carnival games and a barbecue.
The Alberta Cancer Foundation has invested $500,000
for the camp’s recent renovation and was there that day
supporting the event with a bracelet-making tent. The kids
had a great time at the full-day event and here are the
pictures to prove it.
Camp Kindle – Survivor Day
For more information about Camp Kindle, visit
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 9 8/19/13 2:25:25 PM
The third annual Read for the Cure in Calgary
this fall expands on the idea that two recovering
cancer patients in Toronto came up with in 2006.
The two were avid readers who realized the great
support their fellow west Toronto book club
members gave them throughout their cancer
treatment and decided book lovers could help them
raise funds for cancer research.
A committee of four was formed with two other
book club members whose family members were
afected by cancer, and the foursome developed the
vision of Read for the Cure, which was to bring
together great authors with readers for a wonderful
fundraising event that benefts cancer research. The
corporate sponsor, Random House of Canada, has
helped the event expand into Ottawa, Toronto and
Calgary and, since the frst event in 2007, $500,000
has been donated to cancer research because of
Read for the Cure.
This year, Calgary’s event will be on Thursday,
November 7, 2013 at the Red & White Club, where
attendees will be able to share an intimate evening with Cheryl Strayed, author of
Wild; Terry Fallis, author of Up and Down; Chris Turner, author of The Leap; and
Dr. Hans Vogel, Alberta Cancer Foundation-funded senior researcher and
professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary,
who will speak on his discovery about environmental links to cancer.
Tickets, $90 each, can be purchased at Ticketweb.ca or by calling 1-888-222-6608.
The ticket price includes copies of each featured book, a wine bar, appetizers and
rafe prizes. Read for the Cure’s MC Sharon Edwards says attendees should get
ready to be inspired. “Join us for an evening of good books and good company for
a great cause.” For more information visit readforthecure.ca.
Dr. hans
Cure with Words
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 10 8/19/13 2:25:58 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 11
supporting young minds
next gen /
There’s no doubt that being a high school student
can be challenging. A high school student is nearing
the end of his or her grade school career and the
pressure is on to pick a career and plan for the future.
Luckily for Grade 11 students, the Heritage Youth
Researcher Summer (HYRS) program – a funding
partnership between the Alberta Cancer Foundation
and Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions (AIHS) –
helps students get a hands-on experience and a bet-
ter understanding of working in the scientifc feld. It
prepares them for a future in health-related research,
should that be a direction they’re considering.
HYRS is a six-week summer program specific to
Grade 11 students in Alberta. The program allows
participants to gain experience by working in labs at
the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and
the University of Lethbridge under the supervision
of scientists and researchers.
Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, department of chemis-
try and biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge,
has been involved with various levels of the HYRS
program for the past six years but since 2008, he has
directly supervised students in the program in his
research group.
“Although only very short, these summer research
internships can be quite transformative for the
students as it helps them to explore their passion for
research and provides them with an inside view of
health-related research as a career option,” Wieden
says. “The support by the Alberta Cancer Foundation
is critical to provide more deserving students with
opportunities to get hands-on research experience
and consider a career in medical and biochemical
research,” Wieden says.
The Lethbridge professor is adamant HYRS is
crucial to exposing young students to what a career
in medical research entails and better prepares them
for the future. “I am convinced that it is critical for the
future of medical research in Alberta and Canada, as
a whole, to make sure that more high school
students get the chance to participate in a program
like HYRS,” he says.
Patrick O’Donnell, a Grade 11 student who was in
the HYRS program this summer, has only positive
things to say about his experience. “I have enjoyed
working with all of the members of my lab, and hav-
ing access to students as smart and involved in their
felds as they were, was extremely helpful in allowing me to work successfully
and effciently,” O’Donnell says.
The aspiring scientist notes that one of the challenges he faced in his time
with HYRS was the complexity of the scholarly articles he was assigned to read.
But through the support of his supervisor Wieden, he overcame the struggle.
Despite minor challenges, O’Donnell says the HYRS program gave him a
wonderful glimpse into what a career in scientifc research would be all about.
The program is an amazing way for high school students to work in a field of
potential interest to them.
“Whether or not they end up actually following through in becoming a scien-
tist, I think that so few people know what it is actually like to work in a university
science laboratory with advanced equipment that it may be diffcult to concretely
say, ‘I wish to become a scientist’ or ‘I do not wish to become a scientist’ before
they have had a chance to see what it is like for themselves. And HYRS is def-
nitely the program for that,” O’Donnell says.
By Darcy ropchan
Who says you need a degree to study in a lab? Grade 11 student
Patrick O’Donnell knows lab coats come in all sizes
Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden believes HYRS, a summer
research internship, can be transformative for students as
it helps them explore their passion for research and even
consider health-care related research as a career option.


WHITE COATS: aspiring scientist
Patrick O’Donnell, left, and mentor
Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden.
Leap_Fall13_p06-11.indd 11 8/21/13 2:00:16 PM
Get to the Point: Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese
medicine that dates back many thousands of years. (The exact time-
line of its origin and evolution depends on the source of research.)
Acupuncture needles range from 13 to 70 millimetres long, and are
very fne and fexible. No drugs are injected and no blood is drawn
out from the needles. The tips are rounded unlike the cutting edge of
hypodermic needles. When an acupuncture needle is correctly placed,
a dull, heavy or aching feeling often occurs. Relief is often obtained
with acupuncture when traditional medical therapy has failed.
Refer to the College & Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta’s
website for more information acupuncturealberta.ca
making positive connections
bodymind /
i’ve written in this column over the last three
years about a lot of complementary therapies and
programs for cancer prevention and treatment. Those
therapies include meditation, yoga, vitamins and natural
health products, group support, distress screening,
creative arts and exercise.
Lately I’ve been talking to colleagues in the States
who run integrative oncology programs, and over and
over they’ve told me that acupuncture is one of their
most popular offerings. This interested me as we
don’t offer acupuncture yet at our treatment centres in
Alberta, and I wondered what the current evidence is to
support acupuncture use in cancer care.
First, what is acupuncture, and why is it supposed
to be helpful? According to the World Health Orga-
nization, acupuncture is used in at least 78 countries.
It is a technique that stems from traditional Chinese
medicine. Practitioners believe bodily functions are
regulated by an energy called qi, which fows through
the body and disruptions of this fow are believed to be
responsible for disease and symptoms.
Acupuncture is meant to correct imbalances in
the fow of qi by stimulation of anatomical locations,
called acupoints, on or under the skin. This stimulation
is done by inserting sterile stainless steel needles into
specific acupoints. Various techniques are used to
stimulate the needles such as manual manipulation
including spinning and flicking, or adding a mild
electrical current. Needles are generally left in for
several minutes. The specific places the needles
are inserted, how many are used and how long they
are left in varies and depends on the problem or
symptoms being treated.
As I started looking at the scientific studies, I was
pleasantly surprised at both the quality and quantity
of evidence accumulating to support the use of
acupuncture. Most of the earlier work in cancer care
focused on pain control. Based on this research, a
National Institutes of Health consensus panel reported
in 1998 acupuncture was effective in controlling
postoperative pain.
Following that, a lot of research looked at whether
acupuncture could help control chemotherapy-
related nausea and vomiting, and it has now been
recommended for that use as well. More recently,
acupuncture was investigated for its role in managing
other symptoms such as hot
fashes, fatigue, anxiety and
mood disorders, and sleep
disturbances – all common
cancer-related symptoms.
A review that came out in
March of 2013 in the prestigious
Journal of Clinical Oncology
looked at only the high quality
studies of acupuncture in cancer
care which included randomized
control groups. Typically, a
control or comparison group
used in these studies is called
“sham acupuncture” – it’s meant to be the equivalent of the placebo or “sugar pill”
used in drug trials. So the patient thinks they are getting the real thing, but in this case
they are getting the needles in the wrong places! This controls the patient’s expectancy
that the treatment is legitimate and that it should help their symptoms.
Overall, this review included 41 studies which tested acupuncture for treating
eight symptoms – pain, nausea, hot fashes, fatigue, radiation-induced xerostomia
(dry mouth), prolonged postoperative ileus (bowel obstruction), anxiety/mood
disorders, and sleep disturbance – with three to 11 studies looking at each symptom.
Researchers rated the quality of each study, and concluded the strongest evidence
existed for treating nausea and vomiting, followed by pain and other symptoms.
While most reports were positive, more research is needed.
For me, the take-home message from this is acupuncture is safe and may be
helpful for a range of cancer-related symptoms; so if you are interested, give it a
try. Just make sure to fnd a properly trained and certifed acupuncturist with ample
experience working with people like you. Meanwhile, researchers continue to
investigate other uses for acupuncture and try to better understand just how the
treatments work to resolve these symptoms.
Dr. Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.ca) is the Enbridge Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at
the University of Calgary and a clinical psychologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 12 fall 2013
Pins and Needles
By Linda E. CarLson
myl eapmagazi ne. ca
Acupuncture: A helpful treatment from traditional
Chinese medicine makes its way into cancer care
Leap_Fall13_p12-13.indd 12 8/19/13 2:28:26 PM
food for life
smarteats /
Are vegetables and fruit more
expensive than other foods?
Not necessarily. Cutting back on
less-healthy foods and buying
vegetables and fruit in season can
help. People often think that fresh
vegetables have more nutrition than
frozen or canned. However, frozen
or canned can be just as nutritious.
Depending on the season, frozen or
canned can be less expensive and
can be stored for longer periods
of time. Use this link (it’s long but
useful) to see what vegetables
and fruit are in season in Alberta:
Are some vegetables and fruit better than others?
To focus on reducing cancer risk, choose green leafy vegetables like rapini,
romaine lettuce, swiss chard, turnip greens, leaf lettuce, spinach and kale, broccoli,
eggplant, bok choy, carrots, artichokes, rutabagas and turnips.
Starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams and cassava are also nutritious, but they
do not help reduce the risk of cancers like the green leafy vegetables.
Now that you have a few suggestions to get around barriers to eating
vegetables and fruit, here are a number of ways to add vegetables and fruit to
your meals and snacks.
• Turn them into condiments like tomato sauce or pesto.
• Make a vegetable soup, or add extra vegetables to stews.
• Eat them raw – snack on raw carrots, caulifower or cherry tomatoes.
• Shred cabbage, carrots or zucchini and add to wraps and sandwiches
• Microwave frozen vegetables as a side dish; add your favourite fresh
or dried herbs.
• Add fresh fruit like chopped apple, oranges or strawberries to a salad.
• Make it a habit to fll half your plate with vegetables or fruit at meals.
Finally, think of yourself as a healthy eater. If you think that eating vegetables and
fruit is important then you are more likely to keep up the habit, even when you
have a stressful day or you are not in your regular routine. You’ll reap the benefts
of eating vegetables and fruit every day!
The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,”
is meant to encourage people to eat their vegetables
and fruit to remain healthy. But we actually need more
than just an apple a day.
Eating seven to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit
each day reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke,
high blood pressure and certain cancers and can help
you to maintain a healthy weight. It also makes your
skin, hair and eyes healthier.
Canadian adults report they do not eat the
recommended amount of vegetables and fruit.
Taste, time, cost and convenience are the reasons
people are choosing not to eat enough of these
foods. Research also shows that if you do not see
yourself as a healthy eater, it is easy to get side-
tracked from healthy behaviours. One of these
behaviours is eating vegetables and fruit every day.
This article gives ideas to get around some of these
barriers, including some practical tips to eat more
vegetables and fruit.
How can you make vegetables taste good?
There are so many ways to prepare vegetables beyond
boiling. Roasting, grilling or sautéing with oil, herbs
and spices adds lots of favour.
Do vegetables take a lot of time to prepare?
It depends. If you wash and chop them yourself, it
can. One great tip is to choose one hour each week
to clean and chop your vegetables so they are ready
as a snack or to use at mealtime. When you have
vegetables and fruit washed and ready to go, opening
a container of raw vegetables takes the same amount
of time as opening a bag of cookies or potato chips.
Remember, if you are short on time, you can buy
pre-washed vegetables, like bagged salads or cut-up
vegetable trays, at any grocery store.
Karol Sekulic is a registered dietitian with Alberta Health Services who has expertise and interest
in the areas of weight management and nutrition communications.
Eating seven to 10 servings of
vegetables and fruit each day
reduces your risk of heart disease,
stroke, high blood pressure and
certain cancers and can help you to
maintain a healthy weight.
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 13
By Karol SeKulic
Pins and Needles An Apple a Day
If you think smart and heathy, your
eating habits will follow suit
Leap_Fall13_p12-13.indd 13 8/19/13 2:28:54 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 14 fall 2013
Leap’s regular SmartEats columnist, Karol Sekulic, is an Alberta Health
Services registered dietician. “A best before date tells you about the freshness
and the shelf-life of unopened food that you are buying,” Sekulic says. “The best
before date only applies to unopened products stored under recommended
conditions. Once opened, the best before date is no longer valid.” By law,
this date must appear on all pre-packaged foods that will stay fresh for only
90 days or less.
It is the manufacturers’ responsibility to explain to consumers how to store the
food after opening the package. For example, notes on the packaging would
include: “Refrigerate after opening” or “Keep refrigerated.”
Sekulic says more information about how long food can be safely stored can
be found on the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety’s website
canfghtbac.org. “If a product is past the best before date, it doesn’t mean the
product has gone bad,” Sekulic says. “The best before date is an estimate of how
long a food will remain fresh, retain its favour and nutritional value.” However,
Health Canada does not recommend consuming food past its best before date.
What does “best before” really mean and is
it different than an expiration date?
asktheexpert /
a resource for you
Dr. Lawrence Richer is an associate professor,
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neurology,
University of Alberta Pediatric Headache Clinic and
Autonomic Lab, Stollery Children’s Hospital and
knows a few things about head pain and its causes.
He says a headache is a symptom that can be
caused by many different things. “The most common
causes of recurring headaches are related to disor-
ders like migraine,” he says, citing information from
the World Health Organization: migraine is the third
most common brain disorder in the world and
responsible for signifcant disability affecting about
3.6 million Canadians.
What is a migraine?
When a headache goes too far, or you’ve stored food for
too long, or you and your pet get sick at the same time –
the experts can explain it
By Michelle lindstroM
“Migraine is a complex neurobiological disorder, usually inherited from your
parents, where the brain’s pain systems periodically become hyper excitable,” he
explains. A migraine’s characteristics include recurring moderate to severe head-
ache usually associated with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, noise
sensitivity and smell sensitivity.
“About 20 per cent of people with migraines develop symptoms prior to the head-
ache that may include a visual or sensory disturbance, which is called an aura,” Richer
says. “A smaller number of people have progression in their migraine and may develop
pain on a daily basis.”
Richer suggests lifestyle changes and sometimes medications to manage
migraines, but getting a confrmed diagnosis frst is most important.
A campaign in the U.S. called “36 Million for Migraine Campaign” was recently
launched to raise public awareness because “many sufferers are stigmatized by
the medical community,” Richer says. “The neuroscience of migraine is a bur-
geoning feld where some of the causes and generators of migraine attacks are
beginning to be understood.”
Leap_Fall13_p14-15.indd 14 8/19/13 2:30:06 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 15
Ask our experts questions about general health, cancer
prevention and treatment. Please submit them via email to
letters@myleapmagazine.ca. Remember, this advice is never a
substitute for talking directly to your family doctor.
Dr. Louis Kwantes, a veterinarian
at Park Veteri nar y Centre i n
Sherwood Park, says zoonotic dis-
eases (those shared between peo-
ple and animals) are real. People
can share some illnesses and dis-
eases back and forth (not just pets
to people, but the other way around,
Not to stir up fear amongst pet
owners, Kwantes says it’s good to
be aware these instances exist and
there are ways to prevent them,
such as regul ar and rout i ne
deworming for dogs to prevent
spreading ringworm. “It’s hard to
give a blanket recommendation of
how to prevent the spreading of
these diseases because it matters
which animal and which person we’re speaking of,” Kwantes says, adding that
many times it’s those with compromised or not fully developed immune sys-
tems that are the most susceptible to zoonotic diseases. Meaning, very young
children, the elderly, or people on immunosuppressive medications (like those
for organ transplants or cancer and AIDS treatment).
“Zoonotic diseases are another reason to make sure you keep up with
appropriate health care for your pets,” Kwantes says. “If there is a health con-
cern in your pet, definitely get it checked out, for the pet, but also for you.”
With a diagnosis, you can determine if you need to take precautionary mea-
sures (skin infections on an animal, keep very young children from handling
the pet, for example).
“There is no way to be 100 per cent sure that your pet or you aren’t carrying
something that could potentially cause a problem [in the household],”
Kwantes says. “Fleas, for example, are not a zoonotic disease but affect both
people and their pets.”
Many intestinal parasites are not zoonatic, but some are, so get a diagnosis
to determine a treatment plan for all. Samonella, the same serious bacteria
you can get from food can be shared between people and animals. Prevent
that by washing your hands with soap after handling your pet. Also, toxoplas-
mosis, a parasitic disease that affects cats, can also affect humans if they are
in contact with the feces (cat litter). It’s suggested for pregnant women not to
clean kitty litter and for everyone else to wash their hands with soap after
cleaning a litter box.
Refer to parkveterinarycentre.com/resources for further information.
Can people and their pets share
illnesses (zoonotic diseases)?
“Some foods are more risky than others,” she says.
“These are usually foods that require refrigeration,
including fresh produce, meat and dairy products.”
Ground meat products would be a good example of
what to throw out when the best before date has been
reached or passed. While unrefrigerated items such as
breakfast cereal, canned vegetables or other canned
items would not likely have an off-taste immediately or
be mouldy right after the best before date.
Sekulic says, “When deciding, ask yourself, ‘Is it
worth potentially making me, my family or friends sick
by eating this?’ Use your judgment. When in doubt,
throw it out!”
Expiration dates are a little more serious to follow
and are required on some packages. They are found on
formulated liquid diets (supplements used for oral or
tube feeding) foods for use on a low energy diet (sold
by a pharmacist or prescribed by a physician), meal
replacements (a formulated food that can replace one
or more meals), nutritional supplements and infant
“After the expiration date, the food may not have the
same nutrients as listed on the label,” Sekulic says.
“Don’t use the food or drink if the expiration date has
passed. Throw it away.”
Leap_Fall13_p14-15.indd 15 8/19/13 2:30:32 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 16 fall 2013
Sharing: face cancer with stories
stories of giving
why I donate /
Leap_Fall13_p16-19.indd 16 8/19/13 2:31:27 PM
A little healthy competition for a group
of businessmen and philanthropists is
the perfect combination for a winning
al Nichols, the man who saved the Edmonton
Oilers, is not someone who dreams small dreams. Yet even
the boy from small-town Saskatchewan, turned highly
successful Alberta businessman, never imagined such a
signifcant future for the Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic when
he volunteered to chair its frst tournament in 1989. “Twenty-fve
years ago, there weren’t many golf fundraisers in Canada, let alone
Alberta,” explains the chairman of Gasland Properties Ltd. “Back
then, no one thought a tournament could raise a million dollars; the
idea was laughable. We set our frst target at $50,000 and thought
we did great when we raised $60,000.” But last year, the Classic
surpassed the million-dollar mark for the frst time in its history,
raising $1.1 million.
By Lisa RiCCiotti / photos By aaRoN PEdERsEN 3tEN
NO PUTTING AROUND: harry Kipnes,
Cal Nichols, Darrell Graham and Bob Bentley
golf for fun and money.





Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 17
Leap_Fall13_p16-19.indd 17 8/19/13 2:31:52 PM
By 2013, as the Cross Classic headed into its 25th anniversary, that initial $60,000
had grown into more than $9 million raised to pioneer cancer research, treatment
and patient care. Keeping that trajectory high, the 2013 organizing committee set
its sights on breaking the 2012 revenue record, which would put the new total above
$10 million. And they did, bringing the grand total to nearly $10.3 million. Not a
bad return from an August day of whacking a small white dimpled ball around the
Edmonton course, along with proceeds from the current 10 Classic companion
tournaments hosted every summer throughout Alberta.
Nichols shakes his familiar silver-locked head in amazement at how the tournament
he helped launch has turned into the Cross Cancer Institute’s premier annual
fundraising event. “It started out with just the four of us: [Oilers right-winger] Glenn
Anderson, who wanted a new charity for the golf tournament he’d started several years
earlier with Uncles at Large; Doug Cumming at Acklands; John Trueman, who was
involved in real estate at the time; and myself.”
This was long before Nichols spearheaded the drive to form the local ownership
group that bought the Oilers from Peter Pocklington. Back in the late 1980s, Nichols
was just a season-ticket-holding businessman looking for a prominent local sports
fgure to promote his new chain of gas bars and convenience stores. Anderson,
already on an endorsement contract with Acklands, ft the bill and became Gaslands’s
spokesperson, working with both Nichols and Cumming.
“So when Glenn chose the Cross as the new charity for his golf tournament, Doug
and I just naturally pitched in to help,” Nichols says. “It just kind of happened without
any big plan.”
He recalls the Classic’s early days as a huge learning and growing process. For the
frst three years, until Alberta Cancer Foundation staf became directly involved, all
organization and logistics for the tournament were
arranged from his downtown ofce. “It took more time
than we expected at frst,” Nichols remembers ruefully.
“I was heavily involved in its infancy, then later took a
lesser role as others joined in.” He praises the good work
many chairs after him did to increase the tournament’s
stature and raise its revenue.
Although an element of serendipity brought Nichols
to the Cross Classic (it was really Glenn who picked the
Cross, he notes), that’s not what’s made him a supporter
for more than two decades and counting. First and
foremost, it is the cause. “Show me a family that hasn’t
been touched by cancer,” he says. ”We’re all emotionally
involved and the Cross is doing outstanding work toward
a cancer-free future.”
He also prizes the connections gained and people
met during fundraising activities, including the Classic
event. “So many companies and individuals come back
year after year that you look forward to the gathering
of familiar faces. It’s like an annual reunion.” Last but
not least are priceless moments, like the joy he saw on
patients’ faces when they touched the Stanley Cup that
he and Anderson carried to every foor of the Cross
Cancer Institute. “It’s almost an annual compulsion
now to be part of the Classic, to pitch in and help
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 18 fall 2013
Sharing: face cancer with stories
stories of giving
why I donate /
current Cross Classic chair, is one of the many
long-standing supporters of the tournament.


Leap_Fall13_p16-19.indd 18 8/21/13 10:38:11 AM
Fore a Good Cause
Cal Nichols and Bob Bentley continue to support the Cross Cancer Institute
Golf Classic, but as Bentley says, “We now let others do the heavy lifting.”
Or, as Nichols explains: “An event like the Classic needs new blood to
continue to grow.” Here’s how three of the current “heavy lifters” explain their
Harry Kipnes, Digital Communications Group president says, “We’ve been
a sponsor since the Classic’s inception and I’ve been involved since the early
1990s, frst in my corporate role, then later individually, including serving
as chair. The Classic is an all-round feel-good story: It’s a frst-class event
where you work with very special, committed people and see great outcomes
for a great cause. There’s a lot of joy at this tournament and it’s how I feel
impactful, especially when you can see how the dollars are used for leading-
edge research and equipment.”
John Kopeck, The Edmonton Journal’s director, sales and advertising (and
Golf Classic chair) says, “The Journal’s involvement goes back many years,
and I’ve been personally involved for six years, the past two as chair. I donate
not because of the golf, but because it’s how I can make a difference. Raising
funds for Dr. John Lewis and his team’s research in prostate cancer also hits
home for me, since I know people who have been personally affected.”
Darrell Graham, Rogers Communications Inc. vice-president of distribution
sales for Western Canada says, “Rogers has been a sponsor since the Classic
began and I participated on our corporate team for about 10 years. But I
wanted to do more than golf, so I’ve been on the organizing committee for
three years. The Classic sets tangible and meaningful goals and I’m proud to
support the work the Cross does. As a parent, volunteering for the Cross Golf
Classic is one more way to be involved with fnding a cure.”
out,” Nichols says. “I’ll stay involved as long as they’ll
have me.”
Bob Bentley, dealer principal of Freedom Ford
and another long-time Alberta Cancer Foundation and
Cross Classic supporter, has a very direct and personal
connection with the Cross Cancer Institute. “I became
aware what a very special place it is during my wife’s
cancer treatment,” he says. “After her passing in 1994, I
wanted to do something with the Cross.” Posters at the
hospital about a golf tournament had piqued his interest
earlier, so he made a few phone calls. Quicker than it
takes to play 18 holes, he found himself invited onto the
Classic’s organizing committee, then served as chair
from 2000 to 2005.
“I’m a terrible golfer!” Bentley claims. “But it’s not
really about golfng, is it?” In addition to the camaraderie
at the actual event, Bentley notes that many a strong
friendship is forged as committee members share their
business and social networks for a common goal – they
made the Classic bigger and better than ever. “Many
business people are involved, so inevitably we get
competitive about beating past years’ totals. It keeps the
energy high.”
What really gets Bentley fred up, though, is hearing
how funds raised at the Classic will make a diference.
“It’s a diferent mission every year, always something
that donors can relate to, explained in terms a layperson
can understand,” he says.
The Classic helped bring a number of frsts to the
Cross that he’s proud of: the world’s frst TomoTherapy
machine, which lets doctors treat cancer more efect-
ively with precisely targeted radiation and fewer side
efects; a state-of-the-art electron microscope that
shows such minute particles in cells that researchers can
understand genetic changes and better target treatment;
the Linac-MR machine, currently in research and
development stage, a revolutionary machine that will
allow doctors to see and treat tumours with radiation in
real time while minimizing the amount of healthy tissue
afected; and a PET/CT scanner, which is the frst of its
type in Canada.
“I’m not a technical guy,” Bentley says. “But when you
hear the doctors talk about what the new equipment,
like the PET/CT scanner, will do or the research being
done by new recruit Dr. John Lewis as the Alberta Cancer
Foundation’s Frank & Carla Sojonky Chair for Prostate
Cancer Research – where this year’s tournament funds
are directed – you realize the golf tournament supports
a world-class centre of excellent research and cancer
Finally, what really drove the importance of the Clas-
sic home for Bentley was learning that the revenue raised
by the tournament is often matched by grants from the
province and/or federal government. “I’ve seen how
seed money can be leveraged and watched $2 million
turn into $10 million. It’s amazing to think that thanks to
the Classic’s dedicated supporters, sponsors and volun-
teers, we can parlay a day’s golf into that kind of money
for cancer treatment and research.”
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 19
Leap_Fall13_p16-19.indd 19 8/19/13 2:32:51 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 20 fall 2013
Busy Body: Alexandra Lapko altered
her waistline and outlook on life after
taking part in the BETA Trial.
take care of yourself
Break a sweat
outrun cancer
Leap_Fall13_p20-22.indd 20 8/19/13 2:33:46 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 21
Break a sweat
hen Alexandra Lapko enrolled in a breast cancer
and exercise research study two years ago, she did so
as a healthy volunteer – but also as a cancer veteran.
For years she’d supported her best friend, Becky, who under-
went treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer. “I had the worry, the
fear and the concern for Becky’s health as a constant compan-
ion in my life,” Lapko says, explaining she’d often accompany
her friend to chemotherapy treatments, body scans and various
other appointments. She did her best to support her friend in
addition to being present for her other life roles – a mother, wife
and employee. “My energy was low and my stress was high.”
When Lapko spotted a poster advertising a university research program called the BETA Trial
that focused on breast cancer and exercise, the timing couldn’t have been better. “I thought the
BETA Trial would be a great opportunity to support my friend and my own health, while giving
back to the community at large through research,” says Lapko, now 59.
The BETA Trial (Breast Cancer and Exercise Trial in Alberta) began in 2010 and wrapped up in
April 2013. The study focuses on how exercise infuences the development of breast cancer.
By CAitLin CrAwshAw / photos By KELLY rEDinGEr
Research shows exercise can help
post-menopausal women reduce their
odds of developing breast cancer
outrun cancer
Leap_Fall13_p20-22.indd 21 8/19/13 2:34:22 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 22 fall 2013
“We understand that physical activity reduces
your chances of breast cancer by 25 per cent,” ex-
plains the study’s principal investigator Dr. Chris-
tine Friedenreich, a senior research scientist in
the Department of Population Health Research at
Alberta Health Services and a professor at the Uni-
versity of Calgary. She is also the Weekend to End
Women’s Cancers Breast Cancer chair.
From a previous research study – the ALPHA
Trial (Alberta Physical Activity and Breast Can-
cer Prevention Trial) – Friedenreich and her
co-investigator Dr. Kerry Courneya, a Univer-
sity of Alberta researcher – discovered that post-
menopausal women who exercised had reduced
levels of certain sex hormones, insulin, body
fat and a number of other physiological risk
factors (“biomarkers”) for breast cancer. “What we
found is that the more women exercised, the more
there was a decreased level of the biomarkers,”
Friedenreich says, adding that previous research
found there is roughly a 25 per cent reduced risk
of breast cancer when comparing the most active
women to the least active, in these studies.
Funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation,
the BETA Trial examines the exercise-cancer re-
duction connection further and looks at how the
amount of exercise women participate in reduces
these biomarkers. The trial involved 400 post-
menopausal women in Edmonton and Calgary,
between 50 and 74 years of
age. Women accepted to the
study were healthy, but inac-
tive, and willing to commit to
a regular exercise program
for a year.
Then they were random-
ized into two groups: those
exercising 300 minutes per week broken into
fve sessions a week, for 60 minutes each session;
and those exercising 150 minutes per week
broken down into fve sessions a week, for 30
minutes per session. “It was an individual-
ized program for each woman based on her age
and physical activity,” explains Friedenreich.
Participants could choose almost any kind of
aerobic activity, but were asked to have three
supervised sessions at the exercise oncol-
ogy lab run by Courneya at the University of
Alberta in Edmonton, or the Westside Recre-
ation Centre in Calgary, per week. Two ses-
sions could be unsupervised (home-based)
but participants could do all at the facil-
ity if they wanted to. The women’s current level
of physical ftness at baseline was used to
individualize their programs.
Lapko was randomly placed in the group that
worked out 300 minutes a week (60 minutes for
fve sessions a week). This was no small feat given
her commute to the Edmonton International Air-
port, where she works as an airline guest services
Most of the time, it wasn’t too tricky to squeeze
in an hour of physical activity, she says. But it was admittedly harder to stay motivated
on -35°C mornings, when working out meant waking at 6 a.m. and driving to the gym in
the dark. But even in the dead of winter, Lapko never regretted it: “There wasn’t a day
that I didn’t leave [the gym] feeling better than when I frst arrived.”
As the study progressed, Lapko found herself losing weight and inches, and improv-
ing her cardiovascular ftness drastically. She went from being in the 50th percentile for
aerobic activity to being over the 90th percentile, she says, referring to the ideal values
of the maximum amount of oxygen her body processed during exercise. While she didn’t
stop being tired during the daytime, Lapko says the regular exercise gave her increased
stamina. “I actually loved it. I felt it made such a diference to my physical and mental
health,” she says.
Unfortunately, during the study, Lapko’s dear friend Becky passed away from breast
cancer. But rather than throw her of track, it only solidifed her commitment to
fnishing the program. “The day after Beck died, I went to gym,” Lapko says. “And the day
after that and the day after that. It helped me deal with my grief and gave me solace and
stress relief.”
In fact, of the 400 women originally enrolled in the BETA Trial, only 14 dropped out.
“The retention rate was very high – 96 per cent,” says Friedenreich. So was the adher-
ence to the exercise programs to which participants committed themselves. The study’s
fexibility may have played a role.
“We worked with people’s life situations,” Friedenreich says. When participants
couldn’t work out with researchers present, they could work out elsewhere. In fact,
research assistants helped participants create ftness programs they could follow
while on vacation. During the course of the year, study participants were also given
incentives to keep them on track, including information packets about exercise,
individual support from trainers, gift certifcates for running shoes, a running shirt,
water bottle and heart-rate monitor.
After collecting plenty of data during the course of the study, including
blood samples, CT scans and DXA scans (typically used for osteoporosis diagnosis)
from participants, Friedenreich and
Courneya are currently in the midst
of analyzing the results. The research-
ers were able to send out the blood
samples to their co-investigator in Los
Angeles, Friedenreich says. “So the frst
assays (investigative procedures) are
ongoing now.”
However, preliminary fndings show the vast majority of women in both groups re-
mained committed to their specifc exercise plans during the course of the year and ex-
perienced positive changes with their weight and body fat.
Friedenreich won’t hazard a guess as to what the blood results will reveal, but
she’s excited about how it will help scientists understand not only the infuence of
exercise on breast cancer development, but “other cancers that are hormonally
mediated,” including colon, endometrial and ovarian cancers. She explains that the
biochemical pathways relevant for breast cancer are also relevant to many other types
of cancer.
She’s also eager to contribute to a growing body of research examining how
exercise can prevent cancer from developing and help cancer patients get well. “It’s a
feld that’s rapidly expanding and we’ve contributed to it enormously,” Friendenrich
says, who has worked with Courneya on numerous studies over the years. “It’s an area
that’s under-appreciated by the general public.” Most people are better acquainted with
the importance of diet to the development of cancer, probably because researchers have
been studying the link between diet and cancer for longer than exercise and cancer.
Lapko believes in the social benefts of cancer research. “It’ll make a diference to all
of us,” she says, but she is quick to stress the personal benefts she experienced from
participating in the BETA Trial. “It changed me forever. It was wonderful,” she says. As
much as she enjoyed the physical benefts, Lapko says the experience showed her that
her body was capable of amazing things.
Recently, she did a 40-day yoga challenge at a yoga studio and, while visiting France
not long ago, she went paragliding, something Lapko probably wouldn’t have tried
before the BETA Trial. “I’m continually looking at life outside the box. It’s changed my
attitude toward life.”
The BETA Trial gave Alexandra Lapko
an opportunity to support her friend
and her own health, while giving back
to the community through research.
take care of yourself
Leap_Fall13_p20-22.indd 22 8/19/13 2:34:46 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 23
take care of yourself
Speak for
attie Ghent is never short of company when she steps
into her Calgary home. Her humble abode was already
housing two elderly dogs, one retired guide dog and one
puppy, but recently a couple of cats were added to the mix. Ghent’s
daughter was evacuated from her downtown Calgary apartment, the
hardest hit area of the city’s late-June foods, and Ghent became the
proud, temporary owner of the displaced felines.
By Michelle lindstroM
Patients can be their
own health-care
advocates but many
do not know how or
are nervous to try
PHOTOS By brian buchsdruecker
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myl eapmagazi ne. ca 24 fall 2013
Her home was much quieter back in 2005, the year Ghent was diagnosed with
endometrial cancer. Her daughter was away at university and her son rebuilding his
own life after a serious car accident. Ghent was also in the midst of a lengthy divorce.
As a former psychologist and teacher, she faced cancer alone, but the experience gave
her the tools and empathy to help others who have been dealt a similar fate.
Ghent’s cancer treatment included multiple abdominal surgeries and long, painful
recovery periods. “Somebody goes in there and they haul your abdomen out, have a
look at it, throw it through the ringer/washer, take some parts out, shove it back in and
nothing’s ever the same,” she says.
Through all of her treatments, it was the indescribable fatigue that kept her home-
bound more than anything else. She, like many others cancer patients, found that frst,
exhausting step out her front door to be extremely hard after her weekly routine was no
longer flled with hospital visits. She was on the road to recovery, but now what? There
wasn’t anyone to tell her what to do.
Wellspring Calgary, a networking facility for cancer patients, is a place Ghent eventu-
ally turned to for support during her recovery. Along the way she learned a lot about the
strength and infuence patients can have on their own treatment and recovery.
“The idea [of Wellspring] is to have a place to go and to start something just for you,”
she says, adding that it’s about engaging and rebuilding a new and diferent life. She
stresses that Wellspring is not about the medical side of cancer; rather, it’s about every-
thing else. It ofers yoga, speaker sessions and sometimes just cofee to give patients a
reason to get out of the house. Also, Wellspring’s vision statement – “No one has to face
cancer alone” – fts nicely into the life Ghent has remodelled for herself.
That life for Ghent now means raising yellow Labrador puppies – future guide dogs –
for their frst few years before sending them back East for fnal guide-dog training and
assignments. After her surgeries, she had a hunch that raising puppies would be the
push she needed to get out of her state of extreme emotional and physical fatigue.
“It happened within 24 hours of getting the frst pup,” she says. “It was like taking all the
classes at Wellspring at once and in the frst couple of days I was thinking, ‘Oh my goodness,
I’m walking; I’m chasing after this puppy; this is like yoga!’ So much mental alertness had to
happen, too.” She says it was much like the response to Calgary’s food: there was a sense of
emergency where every part of her was ramped up and things
just had to get done.
Ghent volunteers her time now at Wellspring by
bringing her puppy-in-training in a half-day a week, and
the members love it. She had to leave behind her psychol-
ogy practice after cancer treatment began roughly seven
years ago, but she hasn’t left behind all of her skills. Aware
and realistic that the “brain fog” and loss of memory skills
most cancer patients face has changed her academic
ability, Ghent still likes to test her mental abilities and
challenge herself with various projects.
When Dr. Nancy Marlett, director of community reha-
bilitation and disability studies at the University of Calgary,
requested Wellspring members be participants for her
team’s next patient engagement research (PER) project,
Ghent was quick to volunteer. She was curious what patient
engagement meant in health care and hoped it would be
an extension of the advocacy she had already been doing
for friends and family, using her psychology background to
help them navigate the mental health system.
Having knowledge from both sides of the examination
table, Ghent helped people speed up their search for the
right resources, be on the right wait lists and get answers
to more than just one question per visit with their doc-
tors. The priority of the PER project was to have patients
more involved in their own care by engaging health-care
professionals with relevant questions and doing some
personal research. Ghent was right on board with this.
One Wellspring PER participant had Crohn’s disease
as well as cancer. Based on her tireless personal research,
she questioned doctors’ treatment recommendations
take care of yourself
PuPPy Love: Pattie Ghent and Maddox,
her guide-puppy in training
Leap_Fall13_p23-25.indd 24 8/19/13 2:42:58 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 25
before accepting them and even questioned if the sur-
geon assigned to her procedures was the right doctor for
the job. She explained to Ghent that it was her diagnosis,
surgery and life to live, not the doctors’, so why wouldn’t
she fnd out everything she could?
“You hear somebody in the next examination room
and you think, ‘Oh, my time is up. I better go,’ ” Ghent
says. “Patient engagement is trying to undo some of that
thinking.” It’s a natural reaction to a doctor who appears
to be an authority fgure, not a partner in your treatment.
The point is, Ghent says, there’s nothing else that
makes you think about your mortality as much as a can-
cer diagnosis does. This isn’t time to sit and do nothing.
Treatment has to start immediately, but patients should
also want it to be the right treatment with results they can
live with afterwards. But, the system is still evolving and
not every medical professional is going to spell things out
for you if you don’t prod a little.
Family members can also act as a helpful health-care
advocate for a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Mavis
Clark, a former school superintendent, and her hus-
band Paul, a former vice-president at Canadian Pacifc
Railway, looked into treatment options after Paul’s lung
cancer diagnosis in 2007. They even ventured into the
U.S. to confrm their Calgary care was the best they could
get, and it was.
“Initially when somebody is diagnosed, your whole
focus is on the best outcome for that person,” Clark says,
adding that Paul was also very interested because of the
type of person he was. “His oncologist, Dr. Don Morris, is
a leading clinician researcher and was the perfect ft. We
were able to engage him in a very direct and meaningful
conversation about what research looked like and where
things were going in cutting-edge research.”
Morris is a medical oncologist and the current direc-
tor/research scientist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s
Translational Laboratories. His approach to research is to
Not to be INtImIdated
Patients can be advocates for their medical care and not be confrontational
with their health-care providers. When in the examination room for a regular
checkup or following up with a cancer diagnosis, here are a few things you
can do to avoid intimidation or losing your cool.
When booking the appointment, ask if you can book two appointments to
discuss specifc issues. This allows you to be prepared and the oncologist
to ensure that enough time is available and that other patients are not
being affected by delays in being seen in a busy clinic.
Your questions may be better directed to a different member of the
health-care team – social worker, nurse practitioner, palliative care con-
sultant, for example – so don’t be disappointed if your questions cannot
be answered right then, you may get a referral instead.
Have a list of relevant questions ready to ask your doctor.
Bring a notebook and pen with you to the appointment. Listen attentively
to the answers given and write them down. It’s easy to forget medical
jargon and all the options discussed when you are nervous.
Bring a friend or loved one with you to ask and write notes for you. This is
usually for people who are already going through cancer treatment and
dealing with fatigue and brain fog. But if you are certain you will be too
intimidated to ask the questions yourself, try to have a loved one in there
with you.
Do your best to be educated about your disease and diagnosis and make
your questions or concerns pertinent to the situation. Being aware of the
physician’s time is part of building a healthy relationship.

get scientifc fndings into the “clinical arena” as soon as possible, but he advises patients
and families that new fndings can take up to a decade before reaching late-stage clinical
trials to impact cancer patients’ lives.
Lung cancer is still thought to be a smoker’s disease, yet Paul did not smoke and he
still died in 2010 from the disease. Since her husband’s death, Clark became an advo-
cate for other lung cancer patients and families through committees like the Alberta
Cancer Foundation’s research advisory committee and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Translational Lung Cancer Research Initiative. She wants to change the perception of
lung cancer being a smoker’s disease but also get patients and families more involved
with the push for more research. Clark saw that other cancers had walks, runs and even
months (like when November becomes Movember in the name of prostate cancer)
dedicated to them, while lung cancer didn’t receive the same attention. She wanted
people to understand how common and serious the disease is: in Canada, lung cancer
causes more deaths than breast, colorectal and prostate cancer combined.
“With the absence of research dollars, progress is much slower,” Clark says. “It’s not
a single endeavour; it’s a partnership of patients working with clinicians and that comes
from being informed and knowledgeable about the disease.” She says Morris told her
and Paul about research, right in their community, that they could support to help lung
cancer research specifcally. They wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.
“If you don’t have a rapport with your patient and vice versa, it becomes a therapeutic
disadvantage,” Morris says. “If people feel like they are being heard, then the dynamic of
second guessing and wondering if you are getting the best care is gone, and the ability to
bring new ideas to the table – all of that is fostered.”
It’s a good thing, Morris says, that the bar has been raised for health-care workers to-
day compared to 20 years ago: a time when patients were very quiet in the examination
room and accepted whatever diagnosis or treatment plans were prescribed.
“If we look back at what patients did for AIDS, that is really what we would want to
have happen with cancer,” Clark says. “It was driven by patients stepping up and work-
ing with clinicians and researchers to change the face of AIDS and that’s happening in
some cancers and I’m hoping will happen with lung cancer.”
Change Maker: Mavis Clark’s
advocacy for lung cancer research helps
families and patients.
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myl eapmagazi ne. ca 26 fall 2013
take care of yourself
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Preventive surgeries are a hot topic and
worth discussing considering they reduce
a person’s risk of developing cancer
ngelina Jolie is known for many things:
she is a movie star, the partner of heartthrob
Brad Pitt, a mother to six children and a
dedicated philanthropist. Earlier this year,
her notoriety was boosted once again because she had her
breasts removed as a preventative measure after discover-
ing she had a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. Jolie’s mother
was 56 when she died of ovarian cancer and Jolie’s aunt,
who also carried the gene, died of breast cancer at age 61.
Any woman with this mutation has an average
cumulative chance of about 57 per cent to get breast
cancer by age 70, as compared to about a 12 per cent
chance for a woman without the mutation. Also, the
chances of contracting ovarian
cancer for any woman with a
BRCA1 mutation increases to
an average cumulative chance
of about 40 per cent by age 70,
as compared to a one to two
per cent chance for a woman
without the mutation. Men with BRCA1 mutations
are at slightly increased risks for breast and prostate
cancer. Jolie’s choice stirred up many public and private
conversations about choosing surgery over regular
testing and monitoring before cancer is even detected.
“We cannot judge anyone’s decision,” warns Deepti
Babu, genetic counsellor with Alberta Health Services.
“You don’t know what you are going to do unless you are in
the situation.”
Prior to a preventive surgical procedure like Jolie’s,
women are usually ofered genetic testing. “This is a tool to
help understand if one’s personal or family history of cancer
is hereditary – whether there is a mutation in a susceptibility
gene that is passed through family members and causes
them to be predisposed to developing a cancer,” Babu says.
A critical tool indeed, but consider the statistics. Only
fve to 10 per cent of breast cancers and ovarian cancers
are suspected to be hereditary, with only one to two per
cent of breast cancers due specifcally to a mutation in
BRCA1 or BRCA2. “People tend to overestimate how common this is,” Babu says.
For genetic counselling (a broader process which includes genetic testing) to proceed
in Alberta, it must be initiated by a cancer survivor, male or female. Any member of a
family that meets referral criteria can begin the genetic counselling process, which usu-
ally includes a discussion about the option of genetic testing, explains Babu. In the case
of a breast or ovarian cancer survivor, even though the individual has already had cancer,
she may still be interested in discussing her medical family history or learning if she has a
BRCA mutation. If she is a breast cancer survivor and has a BRCA mutation, for example,
she will be more likely to get ovarian cancer and a second breast cancer, and will there-
fore need additional medical screening. Plus, her test result then opens the door to the
rest of her family being ofered genetic counselling and genetic testing as well.
In many cases, Babu says, people just want information and not necessarily a
genetic test. Genetic counsellors and medical geneticists examine medical records of
all relevant family members and can conduct a detailed risk
assessment. The team ofers information about the likelihood
of hereditary cancer being in the family, reviews any cancer
risks and medical screening recommendations, and provides
support through the process, explains Babu. “It is powerful
information for the individual and the family,” she says.
People should weigh the pros and cons of proceeding with
genetic (blood) testing, as there are implications. If there is no mutation found, that
does not totally rule out the possibility of a hereditary link (genetic testing is not 100
per cent sensitive as not all genes or mutations are known). If there is a mutation, you
need to think what you will do with the information that you are at an increased risk to
develop cancer. You might consider more frequent screenings or you might consider
what Jolie did – a preventive (prophylactic) surgery.
Dr. Valerie Capstick, a gynecologic oncologist in Edmonton, does prophylactic
surgeries as part of her practice. Her specialty areas involve ovarian, endometrial,
cervical and vulvar cancers.
One prophylactic surgical choice Capstick discusses is a condition called high-grade
serous carcinoma (HGSC), which can arise from the ovary but can also come from the
fallopian tubes or even from the surface of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is the most
common ovarian cancer and about 16 per cent of those diagnosed with HGSC have a
genetic mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Choosing prophylactic surgery, which reduces the chance of getting HGSC by 95 per
cent, is a “very complex decision making process,” Capstick explains. The procedure,
a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO), removes both ovaries and fallopian tubes.
This surgery would not typically be recommended unless a BRCA mutation is present.
“We cannot judge anyone’s
decision. You don’t know what
you are going to do unless you
are in the situation.”
In the
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 27
Leap_Fall13_p26-28.indd 27 8/19/13 2:44:55 PM
If a woman is young and has not had breast cancer a BSO would also reduce her
risk of developing breast cancer, but would put her into full-blown menopause
and eliminate her option to bear children. There are many other factors to consider
as well.
Another scenario is that if a woman is young and has already had breast cancer a
BSO would reduce the risk of developing a second breast cancer, but would also result
in menopause. “Managing that is one of the most complex issues we face,” Capstick
says. “If they are so afraid of menopause that they are afraid to take out their tubes
and ovaries, they are walking around with a time bomb. Despite the facts, it is a very
emotional decision.”
If a woman is post-menopausal, the decision is somewhat easier. “If a woman
has been through menopause already and has the gene mutation, I really encourage
[surgery],” Capstick says. Most procedures are done using minimally invasive surgery
(MIS) or laparoscopy. If the uterus remains, the woman usually goes home the same
day with recovery complete in two weeks. If the uterus is removed, recovery stretches
to three weeks and if the procedure is through an incision, recovery can be up to six
weeks. Surgery comes with risks like bleeding, negative responses to anesthetics, in-
fection, damage to other organs and blood clots. “But having a baby is higher risk than
having your tubes and ovaries out,” Capstick says. “The fnal relief comes when the
pathologist says all is OK.”
“We do know these surgeries are reducing risk and saving lives, but the complexi-
ties, if you are not yet menopausal, are huge for a lot of women,” Capstick explains.
Some women will opt for regular screening to look for ovarian cancer but this in no
way reduces the risk of getting it. By the time you see an abnormality or elevated tu-
mour marker, Capstick says their lives are in serious danger. “We hope to be able to
test individuals and to understand the nuances of the genes better over time,” she
says. “For now, surgery is the only thing we can do for these women that is of any real
take care of yourself
From Genetic testinG to
ProPhylactic surGery
Discuss your cancer experience and family
history with your family doctor
If appropriate, get a referral to the medical
genetics services clinic in Edmonton or Calgary
(all Albertans are served by these two locations)
See the genetic counsellor or medical geneticist
who will have reviewed your family data and be
able to discuss a risk assessment with you and
the possible option of genetic testing
If you are offered genetic testing, make a
plan with the genetic counsellor or medical
geneticist for how to proceed
Discuss the results and options with the
genetic counsellor or medical geneticist
Return to your doctor to plan follow-up steps as
needed, which may include referrals to specialists
to discuss your surgical options
Have a conversation with your male and female
family members about what you learned – they may
want to pursue genetic counselling to learn more
Note: Once a family meets referral criteria, genetic
counselling and genetic testing is free in Alberta.
The timeframe from beginning to end can take
several months.

600More than 600 Albertans survive cancer each year who
would not have survived had they developed cancer 25 years ago.
50More than 50 new cancer research projects ranging
from investigating cancer mechanisms at a molecular level to
increasing pain control for patients were launched last year, in
addition to the hundreds receiving ongoing funding from the
Alberta Cancer Foundation.
25,000rural Alberta women have access to digital mam-
mography screening through mobile units funded by the Alberta
Cancer Foundation.
2,700grants were given to patients and families in financial
need during treatment.
2,000Albertans are participating in more than 200 clinical
trials across the province, spanning all cancer types.
50,000healthy Albertans will teach us more about
cancer by volunteering to participate in the Tomorrow Project
research study funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
12endowed chairs have been established in Alberta ranging
from research on melanoma to palliative care.

Leap_Fall13_p26-28.indd 28 8/19/13 2:45:20 PM
Al ber ta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 29
Family members
shoulder a hefty load
through cancer diagnosis,
treatment and beyond
eter Kossowan knows too well what caregiving for a loved
one with cancer looks and feels like. Early in his marriage,
he and his wife Millie lost not one, but two sons to leukemia
before the age of fve, despite being told the chance of having more
than one child with the disease was “one in a million.”
He still recalls the doctor’s visit in 2003, nearly 40 years after his
sons’ deaths, when he would learn his wife, too, had cancer. It was
a devastating experience to sit in the doctor’s ofce and hear the
diagnosis was colon cancer. He was in shock. “Then you think to
yourself, ‘What are the options?’ and ‘What should you be doing?’ ”
Kossowan says.
Care for the
Gives Back: Peter Kossowan faced cancer from
all angles but still thought of others along the way.
By Shelley WilliamSon / Photos By ConStantine tanaSiuk
Leap_Fall13_p29-31.indd 29 8/21/13 10:39:46 AM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 30 fall 2013
Despite surgery and treatment, Kossowan became a
widower in 2005. Feeling lost, he spoke to a neighbour who
mentioned the Alberta Caregivers Association (ACGA) –
an organization geared to assist caregivers with their needs
with support – that she’d been involved with. He joined,
ultimately becoming board chair. Now past-president, he
mentors others whose partners, sons, daughters, parents
or friends are sufering from long-term illnesses. His only
regret is not learning about the group sooner, and taking
advantage of its counselling services while his wife was
alive and he was her caregiver.
Kossowan admits he found some solace in speaking to
people with shared experiences of seeing someone they
love fall ill or dealing with a long-term illness and being
responsible for their care and comfort. He appreciated
a new level of understanding that had been lacking from
friends, who, through no fault of their own, didn’t always
know what to say.
“A lot of the supports that were out there for the
caregivers were about making them a better caregiver
for the person they were taking care of rather than
addressing their own needs,” says Anna Mann, executive
director of ACGA in Edmonton. That approach didn’t
address the emotional side of what caregivers were going
through. Unable to fnd anything existing that met their
individual needs, a group of caregivers started their own
“There is a lot of grieving in
caregiving … and that’s often
not acknowledged. There’s just
the sense that you don’t count
anymore,” says Anna Mann.
organization: the ACGA. The association was founded in 2001 as a non-proft organiza-
tion and now serves about 200 people per year with one-on-one caregiver advisors, as
well as ofers group programs to another 250 or so and some drop-in sessions.
The charity partners up with about 15 other agencies in total, but their connections in-
clude close to 50 other agencies to provide its overall, much-needed support network.
“The consensus, when we were talking to caregivers, was even though there are a lot of dif-
ferences in the experience, there are still things that are kind of the same across the board:
the sense of guilt, the sense of isolation and the sadness,” Mann says. “That’s something
that doesn’t come up a lot. There is a lot of grieving in caregiving and that’s often not ac-
knowledged. There’s just the sense that you don’t count anymore.”
Kossowan, now 83, encourages caregivers to have outside interests to maintain bal-
ance throughout their painful and trying time. He took up photography late in life by
working it into outings with his wife. On days she was feeling well enough, Kossowan
and his wife would walk together while he’d photograph things in nature that caught his
eye, a hobby he has continued after her death. Sometimes he’ll hand out greeting cards
he’s made with his photographs to perfect strangers to brighten their day, he says.
He also stresses caregivers reach out to groups like ACGA. “What is really important,
I believe, is knowing that you’re not alone in that kind of a circumstance,” Kossowan
says. “Knowing that there are other people and when they start telling their story, some-
times you can say to yourself ‘I’m still fairly lucky under the circumstances’ because some
people have it a lot worse than you do.”
Lesley Johnston-Woo is a social worker at Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute
assigned to patients and their loved ones through Alberta Health Services’ CancerControl
(formerly Cancer Care). That means she often deals with personal directives, powers of
attorney and wills. “The biggest would be the fnancial part, making sure you’re helping
not only the patient navigate the resources available to them, but the spouse or caregiver
as well,” she says. “If someone is palliative, helping that spouse look at the options that
they have to take of the time from their work to be with their loved one, and then also ex-
ploring other sources of help out there in the diferent communities and other non-proft
In smaller centres like Grande Prairie, the social worker’s role is a little more hands on.
Belle Thomas serves patients and families out of the Grande Prairie Cancer Centre, cover-
ing a large portion of northern Alberta and B.C. One thing is common to every cancer case,
she says, and that is life will never be the same. “There’s a lot of anxiety related to what
Picture Perfect: Kossowan makes
others smile with gift cards he makes with
his own photos.
Leap_Fall13_p29-31.indd 30 8/21/13 10:41:35 AM
for the Jack Ady Cancer Centre

Your continued support has made a difference in the lives of those
accessing care at the Jack Ady Cancer Centre in Lethbridge.
the future’s going to hold,” she says. Even upon completion of treatments, there is the
ongoing worry for patients and caregivers of recurrance and dealing with long-term
residual treatment side efects.
Thomas says many of the psychosocial options for caregivers are limited in the north
and that her role involves a lot of reassurance and information. Caregivers in northern
Alberta are referred to online support groups and books rather than in-person meetings,
and Thomas fnds herself doing many referrals by phone.
She says the increase of online support is good, but only speaks to a limited portion
of the population because it’s the younger people who tend to access online resources.
Some of the northern clientelle lack access to computers while others do not speak
English. Thomas says she gives them a general idea of fnancial resources available out
there as well as accommodations.
Mann notes that money is almost always a worry for caregivers. “Most of the time they
are left dealing with the stuf the person who’s sick can’t – getting the fnances in order,
getting the accommodations set up, taking care of the money and stuf like that,” she says.
Many caregivers need to continue working to make ends meet, which takes them away
from spending time with their loved one at chemo sessions, for example, and increases
their stress.
She sometimes will suggest caregivers look at their own disability insurance options
and whether they might be able to go on a stress leave. “You never want someone to
regret not being able to spend that time with [a loved one] because they have to go to
work,” Mann says.
Kossowan says one thing he learned as a caregiver is to not be afraid, even of the tough
conversations with a cancer patient. “They need to talk about these things and you need
to somehow fnd the right environment to have a heart-to-heart and be supportive,” he
says. “Many people don’t have a chance to say goodbye. Somewhere in a situation like that
you have to tell them ‘it’s OK to go.’ You fnd very often that people are waiting for permis-
sion that it’s all right to leave.”
It’s the Law
New legislation in Alberta recognizes the need
for caregivers, not just cancer patients, to take
time off to be with their sick spouse, child, or
parent and help with the day-to-day, especially in
palliative cases. In May the Alberta government
passed Bill 203, which protects the jobs of Al-
bertans who qualify for the federal Compassion-
ate Care Beneft Program. Under the legislation,
a family member can take up to eight weeks of
compassionate care time within a six-and-a-half
month period without fear of job loss.
Important LInks:
• Alberta Caregivers Association:
• Family Caregiver Centre (AHS):
albertahealthservices.ca (search for Family
Caregiver Centre)
• Caregiver College: caregivercollege.ca
• Alberta Public Health Association:
• Caregiver Connect: caregiver-connect.ca
• Canadian Caregiver Coalition: ccc-ccan.ca
Leap_Fall13_p29-31.indd 31 8/21/13 10:42:44 AM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 32 fall 2013
Future thoughts: The work Bryce Hirsch
does for the Tomorrow Project helps more than
just cancer researchers.
Top Job
Leap_Fall13_p32-35.indd 32 8/19/13 3:30:14 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 33
By Robin SchRoffel / Photo By ewan nicholSon
Tomorrow is not only a day away.
Bryce Hirsch plays a significant
role in a half-century-long study
ot everyone can say the work they’re doing
could one day afect the lives of millions, even billions,
of people. But Bryce Hirsch is an exception, and
that potential to impact future generations is what drives his
dedication to the Tomorrow Project.
Hirsch is a study centre co-ordinator for the Tomorrow
Project, an Alberta-wide longitudinal study based in Calgary and
part of the larger Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project.
(A longitudinal study is one spanning over a long period of time,
sometimes many decades, where researchers observe repeated
tests using the same variables each time for the entirety of the
study, determining fndings for a lifetime or generation.)
Leap_Fall13_p32-35.indd 33 8/19/13 3:31:12 PM
Top Job
34 fall 2013 myl eapmagazi ne. ca
EvEryonE WElcomE: Hirsch and his team
are still recruiting volunteers to be a part of this
longitudinal cancer-focused study.
Leap_Fall13_p32-35.indd 34 8/19/13 2:51:36 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 35
“I decided to make a change
into health care, after seeing
frsthand what cancer did to
my grandma,” the Tomorrow
Project’s Bryce Hirsch says.
The Canadian Partnership for the Tomorrow Project,
which started in 2008 as an extension of an earlier
provincial study, originally funded by the Alberta Cancer
Foundation, follows 50,000 Albertans (and about 300,000
Canadians) between the ages of 35 and 69 who have never
had cancer. About once every fve years over the course
of a half-century, participants fll out a questionnaire
and attend an hour-long appointment where project
employees collect samples and data on biological, lifestyle
and environmental factors.
The study is still in the recruitment phase, with about
33,000 volunteers already on board. The result will be
a broad base of data that may provide answers about
the causes of cancer and insight on how to
prevent it.
In a province where one in two males and
one in three females develops cancer, and one
in four people will die from it, there’s no telling
the impact that the study could have in the long-
term, Hirsch says. In fact, he says the Tomorrow
Project could very well become the Framingham
Heart Study of cancer research. Before Framingham, an
ongoing longitudinal study that started in 1948, little was
known about the causes of heart disease. Today, much of
what we consider common knowledge about heart dis-
ease came from Framingham. “Cancer is so pervasive. It’s
something that afects everyone, be it ourselves, a friend
of a friend, or a family member. If we can get some more
answers as to why this is occurring, hopefully we can pre-
vent it from happening in the future, or at least reduce the
incidence rate,” Hirsch says.
Indeed, it was Hirsch’s personal experience that
prompted him to make some major changes in his life.
After graduating from the University of Alberta with
a bachelor of science degree in psychology, he was
working in a Red Deer safe house for kids with substance
abuse problems when his grandmother passed away from
cancer. “I decided to try to make a change into health care,
after seeing frst-hand what cancer did to my grandma, in
hopes of trying to fnd some answers,” he says.
Not long after, he was perusing a university alumni
job board and came across a project assistant posting for
the Tomorrow Project. He saw it as fate, so Hirsch applied
and has yet to look back. “I may not see the end results of
the study, but this is our legacy to a future generation,”
Hirsch says.
Over the phone, Hirsch sounds remarkably cheerful
for a man who’s been pulling long hours setting up a new,
temporary study centre at the East Calgary Health Centre.
This all came as a surprise to him and the million other
Calgarians after the city’s devastating June food. The
disaster rendered the project’s permanent base, the Holy
Cross Centre in Calgary’s Mission area, inaccessible.
All things considered, the Tomorrow Project was very
lucky: the ofces were on the building’s seventh foor,
and although the examination rooms were on the main
foor, the foodwaters never got that high. As a precau-
tion, when the call for evacuation came on a Thursday af-
ternoon, employees brought the freezers containing the
Tomorrow Project’s biological samples upstairs. “All of
our information is perfectly fne.” Hirsch says. ”Nothing
happened to our samples. We’re quite blessed.”
Now, it’s simply a matter of getting back to business as usual in his team’s temporary
location until Holy Cross is repaired and ready for their return. For Hirsch, that means,
well, a lot of co-ordinating. He started out as a project assistant in January 2010 at the
now-defunct Edmonton location, then became a co-ordinator in August 2011, and these
days, keeps things running smoothly from the project’s Calgary ofce.
A major part of his role is setting up mobile study centres, which make it easy for
volunteers across Alberta to fully participate in the Tomorrow Project. Teams set up in
communities (including, in the past, Fort McMurray, St. Albert, Cold Lake, Hinton and
Red Deer) for a week at a time taking blood, physical measurements, and completed
questionnaires from participants. For approximately one week each month, Hirsch hits
the road on a mobile study to work face-to-face with volunteers.
Hirsch is also heavily involved in the recruitment aspect of the project. He spends a lot
of time speaking at lunch-and-learns and other events, spreading the word about the To-
morrow Project and – he hopes – increasing the
project’s volunteer base. “The more volunteers
we have, the more information we can fnd out
that will help future generations,” he says.
James Whitworth, another study centre co-
ordinator, says it’s because of Hirsch that the
Tomorrow Project’s volunteers are covering
all the bases. “With this study, a stereotypical
participant for us tends to be a middle-aged woman. It’s hard to get other demograph-
ics. He’s done a lot of presentations and community events, and it’s helped us to engage a
much broader segment of the population than we previously had,” Whitworth says.
Whitworth notes that there’s no mistaking Hirsch’s commitment to the project
and, as such, he’s become a great role model for everyone involved. “He cares a lot –
it’s obvious that the project is important to him. His goals are aligned with the project
goals – he goes above and beyond,” Whitworth says. “Other members of our staf grow
because of the things he’s done and the actions he’s taken. It’s defnitely allowed them
to come out of their shells.”
Although the bulk of research results won’t come until the project’s completion,
outside studies are already using the Tomorrow Project’s data and generating preliminary
fndings. As an example, a University of Alberta lab recently compared Tomorrow Project
samples with some of their own and found six previously unknown genes that may
increase the risk of developing breast cancer. “The power of the Tomorrow Project is
endless,” Hirsch says.
Such research reafrms the importance of the Tomorrow Project for Hirsch, and
that long-term legacy he’s helping to leave. “It’ll be very interesting to see what’s going to
happen in the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” he says. “I can look back and say to my grand-
children, ‘Your grandpa was a part of that project, and what we know today about cancer
and other long-term health diseases in large part due to the Tomorrow Project.’ ”
The Tomorrow Project is the largest research study ever undertaken in
this province and is supported by Alberta Health Services, the Alberta
Cancer Foundation, Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions and the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer. Aside from supporting it since its inception, the
Alberta Cancer Foundation has recently committed $2.5 million to the study
over the next three years.
Although the primary goal of the study is to fnd the cause(s) of cancer and
determine how to prevent it, the fndings can also be used and shared to build
knowledge for other long-term health conditions. We’re all connected, and so
are our illnesses.
Due to Calgary’s foods, the research centre has relocated to East Calgary
Health Centre (4715 - 8 Avenue S.E.) and setting up appointments was
temporarily affected. Visit In4tomorrow.ca for the most up-to-date contact
information and status of the study.
The website also lists where upcoming Mobile Study Centres will take
place and how to join the study.
Forward Thinking
Leap_Fall13_p32-35.indd 35 8/21/13 10:43:46 AM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 36 fall 2013
The Cross Cancer Institute’s Cell Imaging Facility is worth millions in
equipment, but is priceless in the discoveries it helps researchers make
Costs $1.24 million
high content
scReening system
Involves live/fxed cell-based screening
and is used in biological research and
drug discovery. By using fuorescent tags,
a large number of data points can be
collected per cell.
ceLL imaging FaciLity
The Alberta Cancer Foundation along with Dr. Carol Cass, Professor Emeritus
of experimental oncology in the department of oncology at the University of
Alberta, were involved in the conceptualization and initial establishment of
the facility.
The facility was offcially established in 1998 to provide state-of-the-art
equipment and world-class expertise for the many aspects of cancer
cell imaging.
Since the facility’s electronic database was put into place in 2003, the
equipment has logged an average of 10,000 hours of use per year.
The 15 instruments in the facility today total roughly $9 million in value and
they can be booked for use 24/7 through an online booking system.

The space has grown fve times larger since its frst days as one large room in
1998. Now there are fve major rooms and three additional smaller rooms that
make up the facility in the Cross.
The facility supports tumour biology, cancer biomarker discovery,
cancer biomarker validation, drug toxicity analyses and mechanistic studies
of cancer.
Dr. Roseline Godbout, acting director of the Division of Experimental Oncology
at the University of Alberta, and her lab used the facility to research gene
expression and its relation to retinoblastoma (cancer of the retina) and to
characterize specifc genes in the development of brain tumours.
The facility was instrumental to a key breakthrough that identifed particular
biomarkers and their ability to predict patient response to a certain drug
called gemcitabine. Further studies have since demonstrated that patients
with elevated levels of this biomarker in their tumours respond better to
gemcitabine, making it possible to tailor individual treatment to patients.

Costs $1.75 million
eLectRon micRoscoPe
Compared to light microscopes, this is
capable of imaging at a signifcantly higher
resolution, which enables users to examine
very fne detail at atomic resolution.
Costs $1.04 million
conFocaL LaseR
scanning micRoscoPe
It has the ability to acquire in-focus
images at various depths that are
reconstructed with a computer to
create 3-D versions of complex objects
being studied.
Leap_Fall13_p36-37.indd 36 8/19/13 2:53:05 PM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 37
about the uSeRS
Costs $934,000
Multiphoton laSeR
Scanning MicRoScope
It does deep tissue fuorescence
imaging and spectral imaging. This
kind of technology has been used as
a reliable, cost-effective, noninvasive,
diagnostic technique to early diagnose
skin cancers.
confocal laSeR
Scanning MicRoScope
It has the ability to acquire in-focus
images at various depths that are
reconstructed with a computer to
create 3-D versions of complex objects
being studied.
Costs $650,000
Spinning DiSk
confocal MicRoScope
Takes images at a very high frame rate
with little illumination of samples,
which is well-suited for 3-D imaging of
living cells.
Since 2003:
There have been 815 total users
70 per cent of the users are from the University
of Alberta (outside of the Cross Cancer Institute)
and the rest are typically from the Cross
Some students have travelled to use the equipment
from Seoul, Korea, other students from the Univer-
sity of Laval, Quebec, post-docs from Fox Chase
Cancer Center in Philadelphia, as well as students
from Calgary and other Canadian institutions.
194 is the total number of labs that have used
the facility
54 departments have used the facility
Dr. Xuejun Sun joined the Cross Cancer Institute’s
department of oncology in 1998 as the manager of the
Cell Imaging Facility. He came from Dalhousie Univer-
sity where he was the manager of a scientifc imaging
centre in the department of biological sciences. His
current role in the imaging facility includes helping
train all users for each piece of equipment before they
use it. He also stays on top of the latest developments
in cancer research so he can determine which equip-
ment to purchase when funds allow.

Dr. Michael Hendzel,
professor of experi-
mental oncology at the
University of Alberta,
works with Dr. Sun at the
Cross with the equip-
ment in the imaging facil-
ity. Of Dr. Sun, he says,
“He’s easy to work with
and he’s exceedingly
knowledgeable. You’ve
got to have somebody
skilled enough to do the most challenging stuff and
transfer that capability to graduate students. That’s
what Sun brings.” Dr. Sun’s proud moment: he says,
“We only had our frst graduate student in 2000, so we
are a very young department. Quite a few of them went
on to be cancer researchers. They are scattered around
the country and in the U.S. working on different aspects
of cancer and I think most of them, if not all, do some
kind of imaging.” Dr. Hendzel’s proud moment: he says,
“This facility compares to very high-profle facilities
throughout the world and it compares very favourably.
We’ve built something very special here.”
Dr. Xuejun Sun
Leap_Fall13_p36-37.indd 37 8/19/13 2:53:52 PM
A cancer diagnosis not only
brings physical and emotional
challenges but can also be
a huge financial burden to
patients and their families
Cancer Co$tly
By Kelley StarK / photos By Joey Podlubny
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 38 fall 2013
inding out you’re going to have twins is
likely a big shock. Finding out you have cancer
is an even bigger shock. Rajwinder and Gur-
meet Sarao didn’t really have time to process
the frst announcement before being hit with the second.
In 2009, Rajwinder went for his yearly checkup and,
through regular blood work, his family doctor found his
white blood cell count was high and sent him to a spe-
cialist. Rajwinder didn’t feel sick, and his platelets and
red blood cells were fne, but the specialist did a bone
marrow biopsy and found chronic myeloid leukemia.
Thankfully, his diagnosis was in the early stages of the
disease: “My wife is very good at making sure we have
regular checkups every year and that’s why we caught it
at such an early stage,” Rajwinder says.
Leap_Fall13_p38-39.indd 38 8/21/13 10:44:41 AM
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 39
His cancer treatment required him to be on medication and go through a month of
chemotherapy and then receive a bone marrow transplant. “Before [the transplant]
I needed to prepare by going through chemotherapy and all kinds of treatments. And
then I started preparing my mind according to the situation: ‘How can I fnd a positive
attitude?’ I’m so thankful to my wife for helping me so much.”
As a food delivery driver, Rajwinder did not have workers’ compensation or
health benefts through his job. He worked up until two days before the transplant in
November 2010. Luckily, his wife, Gurmeet, an employee of the School of Hospital-
ity and Tourism at SAIT, had health benefts that covered 80 per cent of the medical
costs. Still, being down one income and dealing with the extra costs that come with a
cancer diagnosis and subsequent transplant care – like the extra gas needed to drive
back and forth to the hospital multiple times each day – was not easy. Gurmeet, who
handled “everything else” while her husband fought the disease, says they didn’t waste
money on anything: they bought simple foods, ended casual shopping trips and didn’t
buy anything for the house during Rajwinder’s treatment. “You cannot stop your bills,
you cannot stop your mortgage, you cannot stop your gas. Those things still come on,”
Gurmeet says.
Cancer is a huge strain on the fnances. People are often forced to cash in their RRSPs
and use up their savings. Long-term disability insurance typically only makes up 60 per
cent of a paycheque. Applying for any governmental fnancial assistance can take up
to six months, and some of those funding options only last a few months. Meanwhile
the bills pile up and some families are forced to declare bankruptcy, all on top of one
member’s failing health. The costs that go along with the disease can sometimes be so
overwhelming that a patient will decide not to have life-saving, curative treatment like
a transplant and instead opt for a lesser treatment due to potential cost savings by not
having to travel or relocate for treatment.
Holly Minor is a clinical social worker in the blood and marrow transplant
program at Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre who has her work cut out for her.
“For the frst while, even for a year or longer, patients can be in a state of absolute shock
trying to understand and absorb all the treatment information,” she says. “Their lives
are turned upside down, especially if they have to attend many appointments.” Some
patients have to face being told they cannot go to work tomorrow. What then?
“We try to do our best for our patients to reduce their stress by helping them
navigate the territory of private and public funding,” Minor says. “Everyone benefts
from having a road map and being helped along the way.”
Sometimes patients will be denied funding because of how much they have in their
RRSPs or other savings. “This is often very upsetting to patients,” Minor says. “Money
they have saved is to help with living expenses during retirement.” Patients are then
obligated to cash in savings, causing even more worry about how they’ll manage when
they’re older and cannot work, and only when most of their savings are used can they
reapply for other funding. The feelings of loss due to a cancer diagnosis simply multi-
ply when fnances are taken into account.
Rajwinder and Gurmeet were sent to Minor and together they worked out a plan spe-
cifc to their situation. Fortunately for the Saraos, bone marrow transplants for Alberta
is done in Calgary, and since the family already lives there, they didn’t have to relocate
for at least three full months, like many other patients from around the province do.
Also, the family was eligible to apply for the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s fnancial
assistance program. The program provides temporary fnancial assistance to help pay
for expenses related to cancer diagnosis and treatment – including travel, parking and
living expenses. It is accessed through social workers in cancer centres across Alberta
and there is a list of set criteria to meet in order to receive this funding. “This is a fund
of last resort,” Minor explains. “When we meet with patients, we explore other means
of fnancial help available in the community and we assist the patient in accessing com-
munity agencies, provincial, federal, and private insurance funding.”
Rajwinder met the criteria for funding from the Alberta Cancer Foundation. And he
is very grateful. “It was hard with so much at once but I just believed in myself, believed
in my doctors and believed in the system. That worked very well for me,” he says.
“Everything is beautiful, everything is perfect, and I’m so thankful to the system and
everything, so thankful. I don’t have the right words to say.”
Donors provide almost $800,000 a year for the Alberta Cancer Foundation financial
assistance program. “I fnd that patients are really
touched that it’s individuals in the community that
are contributing and fundraising because then it’s
not quite so lonely having cancer,” Minor says. “They
receive tangible proof that people really do care.”
Rajwinder’s transplant was successful and he is now
cancer-free. His job requires some heavy lifting, so it
took a few months for the company he was contracting
for to fnd a less physically-demanding position, but
he is now working three days a week with them. His
mother was able to come from India to take care of
their children for a couple of years while Rajwinder
worked on recovering and Gurmeet took care of him.
They have four kids: a 17-year-old boy, a fve-year-old
girl, and the twin girls are now three. The family is
thankful for all the help they received from friends,
extended family and strangers.
Nobody enjoys having to ask for help, but Minor ex-
plains to her patients that “one of our most important
human needs is to contribute to enrich life, to make
someone’s life more wonderful. And when we ask for
help, we’re also giving that person a gift.” Many of her
patients want to give back after receiving such support.
Rajwinder plans to be a volunteer driver for Tom
Baker patients who need a lift back and forth to the
centre for appointments. Some are too weak due to
chemotherapy and others are from out of town and
don’t have their own transportation. “It would give me
great pleasure to give back for all the help I had. I think
we’re all supposed to give back,” he says. “Sometimes I
couldn’t even walk or stand and my body was shaking,
but there were so many hands to help me. I can’t help
those people, but I can help others and that would be a
blessing to me.”
A FAmily AFFAir: The Sarao family is
thankful to have Rajwinder back in good health.
Leap_Fall13_p38-39.indd 39 8/19/13 2:56:09 PM
Archery is a sport for
all ages and all seasons
hen you think of archery, you probably think
of legends like Robin Hood or Wilhelm Tell. But these
days, you don’t have to be able to split an arrow or peg
an apple to participate in the sport. Archery is one of the fastest
growing activities in Alberta and it’s perfect for all skill levels,
ages and seasons. Plus, it’s a great way to stay active in the fall
and it’s easy to get started.
By AlexAndriA eldridge
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 40 fall 2013
Leap_Fall13_p40-41.indd 40 8/19/13 2:57:22 PM
“Archery is a sport anyone can participate in,” says Fred
Matthews, a coach and the secretary/treasurer at the
Capital Region Archery Club (CRAC) in Edmonton. At
CRAC, they have members as young as six and as old as
60, all with varying skill levels and interests. “It’s a sport
that anybody can take up – young or old – with liter-
ally any intention, whether it be just as a hobby or with
Olympic dreams or anything in-between,” adds fellow
CRAC coach and vice-president Erick Lavigne.
There are two basic forms of archery. The frst is
bowhunting, in which the archer is usually mastering
the sport for the purpose of hunting. The second is
target archery, where the archer is aiming at a target.
While much archery activity in Alberta has been
bowhunting in the past, target archery is starting to
gain in popularity. While the sport was reintroduced
to the modern Olympics in 1972, at the 2012 London
Olympics, the event was sold out every day and TV
ratings hit record levels.
Matthews and Lavigne credit pop culture for the
growing popularity of target archery. The recent
appearances of characters like Katniss Everdeen from
The Hunger Games and Hawkeye from The Avengers
on Hollywood screens have piqued the interest of
many young people. At CRAC, membership has nearly
doubled in the course of a year, from 125 members in
the summer of 2012 to almost 250 in 2013. The club
recently moved into a new indoor shooting facility, but
now they’re in need of even more space than the new
facility can provide.
The archers that come through club’s doors vary.
Children and adults all participate using both recurve
bows (traditional bows most often used for target ar-
chery), compound bows and hunting compounds. At
CRAC they also have members who practice Kyudo, a
Japanese form of moving meditation in which a bow is
used for mental skills training.
The best way to give archery a try is simply to go to
your local club. Even if you’re not sure which type of
archery you’re interested in, the clubs will have lots of
bows you can try out and coaches to give advice. “The
majority of the time most of the people in these clubs
have no problem giving advice, answering questions,”
says Lavigne. “There are great clubs all over Alberta.”
Plus, many clubs ofer drop-in classes for those that just
want to give archery a try or even weekly lessons.
Beyond trying archery as a fun activity, there are also
health benefts. “You do use a lot of muscles that you
don’t generally use in everyday life. It’s healthy and
fun,” says Lavigne.
And because it’s a sport that requires concentration and precision, it’s also a
good mental exercise.
“Certainly much of an archer’s success, whether it’s as a bowhunter or an Olympic
archer, that success depends upon their mental focus,” Matthews says. “Archery not
only strengthens the body, but the mind as well.”
It’s also a great social activity, especially in Alberta, which has a growing archery
community. “It’s individual, but at the same you’ve also got a community feeling with
it,” says Mike Screen, the secretary/treasurer for the Central Alberta Archers Associa-
tion (CAAA) in Red Deer.
Not only does it bring small Alberta communities together, Alberta also draws
in people from other provinces. For example, the CAAA partners with the Bighorn
Bowhunters & Archers Club from Airdrie to host the yearly “Mother of All Shoots” in
March. Last year, the event drew 600 contestants from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan
and Manitoba. “It’s a family event and just a fun weekend of archery,” Screen says.
Screen says each year they get families participating together, often entrants from
multiple generations. He thinks it’s a great way for those of all ages to be active and
have fun. “They’ve got a range, from a peewee up to a senior all shooting together,” he
says. “It’s really something for all ages, and for the entire family to get involved in. And
that’s what we love to see.”
Membership rates vary widely by club and age group, but drop-in rates are usually
around $10 per visit, with membership ranging from $30 - $250 for a year. Clubs that
have indoor facilities and operate year-round typically charge more for memberships,
but allow archers to practise the sport throughout the year.
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 41
Join the club!
There are plenty of places where you can jump into the sport of archery.
Many towns across the province have archery clubs, which often offer
drop-in classes or equipment that you can try out. Some of these clubs
may focus on target archery, while others may be centred on bow hunting,
but there’s defnitely a community near you that offers archery.
Here’s a listing of just some of the archery clubs in Alberta communities.
• Calgary: Calgary Archers (calgaryarchers.org)
• Airdrie: Bighorn Bowhunters and Archers
• Cochrane: Cochrane Archery Club (cochranearchery.ca)
• Edmonton: Capital Region Archery Club (crarchery.ca)
• Edson: Edson Fish and Game Association
• High River: Rocky Mountain Longbow Association
• Lac La Biche: Lakeland Archers (lakelandarchers.ca)
• Lethbridge: Lethbridge Bowbenders Archery Club
• Medicine Hat: Medicine Hat Saamis Archers
• Red Deer: Central Alberta Archers Association
• Spruce Grove: Parkland Bowbenders Archery Club
• Water Valley: Dragon Flight Archery (dragonfightarchery.com)
For more archery resources and a listing of even more clubs, visit the
Alberta Target Archers Association website (ataa-org.ca) or the Alberta
Bowhunters Association (bowhunters.ca).
“It’s a sport that anybody can take
up – young or old – with literally
any intention, whether it be just as
a hobby or with Olympic dreams or
anything in-between.”
Leap_Fall13_p40-41.indd 41 8/19/13 2:57:46 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 42 fall 2013
Research Rockstar
Leap_Fall13_p42-45.indd 42 8/19/13 3:35:24 PM
Al ber ta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 43
One Lethbridge university professor
found similarities between space
studies and cancer detection

hy Lethbridge?” It’s a question David Naylor
gets asked all the time. But considering the
60-year-old is an international expert who
has played critical roles in not one, but two space missions,
you can forgive someone for not immediately grasping why
the University of Lethbridge professor, and director of its
Astronomical Instrumentation Group, has chosen to make
his home in southern Alberta for the past three decades.
Naylor, a native of West Yorkshire, England, began working
on something called a Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS)
as a graduate student at the University of Calgary. That’s
where he met and married his wife, Mavis, too.
His Work
By Michael hingston / photos By Rob olson
Leap_Fall13_p42-45.indd 43 8/19/13 3:35:46 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 44 fall 2013
Research Rockstar
An FTS is a spectrometer that analyzes infrared light to determine the composition
of distant stars and galaxies. From there, one project led to another, each bigger than
the last; Naylor spent several years working for the European Space Agency (ESA) in
the Netherlands. “Basically I’ve spent my career working with [the FTS],” he says.
But when the instrument he was working on failed its risk assessment study, a
mandatory phase for any proposed space instrument,
and just as his oldest child was about to start school in
Holland, a professorship opened up in Lethbridge. Since
Mavis hailed from southern Alberta, they decided to head
back to Canada and put down some permanent roots. (An
additional perk: the city is conveniently located midway
between Hawaii and Europe, the two places Naylor most
frequently travels to for work.)
Naylor’s most recent claim to fame is working on a state-of-the-art, school-bus-sized
spectrometer for the ESA’s recently completed Herschel/SPIRE space observatory.
Launched in 2009, this telescope logged more than 25,000 hours studying the universe
from a prime vantage point of 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, before shutting down
for good in April. Much of the data it gathered will be analyzed back on Earth using
Naylor’s software at his Blue Sky Spectroscopy centre in Lethbridge.
The Herschel telescope remains the largest to be
launched into space. “Everybody’s heard of the Hubble
telescope,” Naylor says, by way of comparison. “NASA
does a really good job of PR. Herschel dwarfs the
Hubble – it’s the largest telescope that could ever be
launched in a single piece.” Naylor is currently leading
a Canadian efort on a Japanese-European (JAXA-ESA)
space astronomy mission called SPICA that will be a
hundred times more sensitive than Herschel.
But what’s really got Naylor’s attention these days is
about as far from deep space as you can get. It involves,
quite literally, turning the telescopes back around:
instead of gazing out on the abyss, Naylor now wants to
look into human tissue in the hopes of changing the way
we detect cancerous cells here on Earth.
Yet Naylor, who was recently named one of the
province’s “50 Most Infuential People” by Alberta
Venture magazine, insists this isn’t as counterintuitive
as it might seem. “Astronomy is the ultimate remote
sensing science,” he says. “In other words, everything we
know about the universe is understood from measuring
light that has travelled billions of years to get to us. The
only exceptions are, we’ve been to the moon and dug up
some rocks and brought them home, and we’ve been to
Mars and dug up some rocks and examined them in situ.
For everything else it’s essentially window shopping – we
look but we cannot touch.” As it turns out, that approach
lends itself to cancer detection, too.
Naylor frst heard about this idea in 2009, when he and
his team attended a conference outside of their usual or-
bit (so to speak). During one of the presentations, a group
of Taiwanese medical faculty members explained how
they’d started borrowing astronomical equipment simi-
lar to an FTS to look at cancer biopsies. Their premise was
simple: all human cells consume power. But cancerous
cells, being more aggressive, consume a lot more power –
enough that the diference could be measured with a sen-
sitive enough detector. “It isn’t immediately obvious,”
Naylor says. “It does make sense when you think about it:
the person with the most sensitive instrumentation is an
astronomer. ”
The Taiwanese team studied human breast cancer
implanted in mice then compared the results from dif-
ferent methods of detection. Sure enough, using these
modifed astronomical instruments – a method called
terahertz microscopy – detected signifcantly smaller
masses of cancerous cells, and best of all, could do so
almost instantaneously.
Were it adapted for
humans, the research
suggests that patients
would not have to wait
for days, and at times for
false positive or negative
It gets better. The technology being used by the group
in Taiwan was actually out-of-date. The cutting-edge
spectrometers Naylor’s team have access to are, he says,
literally one million times more sensitive. “In the time
that [the Taiwanese team] had measured one sample
from one patient,” he says, “in principle, we could
“It does make sense when you
think about it: the person with the
most sensitive instrumentation is
an astronomer. ”
Leap_Fall13_p42-45.indd 44 8/19/13 2:59:44 PM
Al ber ta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 45
measure samples from every female who ever lived in the history of humanity. Though
he hastens to add that this would require many spectrometers and staf to operate
them, but nonetheless, the gain is extremely impressive.
But putting spectrometers into action for cancer research is still in the
development stage. There’s a huge potential bottleneck in equipment design,
logistics, etc., to actually measure samples at peak efciency, and there are the
parameters to keep in mind when designing a version of this technology: it must
be small and cheap enough to get into individual doctors’ ofces. Naylor is in the
process of building a prototype, with the help of his 15-person team in Lethbridge,
which includes plucky high school students, PhD candidates and a range of
technicians and project managers. And the cancer project is far from his only
Naylor’s day is also flled with his regular space work: doing rounds with his stu-
dents, reviewing scientifc papers and remembering to call in to teleconferences at all
hours of the day. The night, too: “When you link Europe, Japan and Canada,” Naylor
says, “it’s kind of a mess. Someone has to get out of bed.”
Working with students, and training the next generation of scientists, is
particularly important to Naylor. He speaks at length, and frequently in soccer
metaphors, about the necessity of “wing play,” letting them “roam around, really on
the edge of the feld, and really stretching the limits.” There’s a lot of freedom and
trust in his lab. Naylor passes on to his students the wisdom his doctoral supervisor,
Professor Alan Clark asserted three decades earlier: “The frst year, you will do what
I tell you. The second year, we will discuss what you do. And the third year, you will
tell me what you’re doing.”
On the medical side of the terahertz project is Jef Dunn, a professor of radiology
at the University of Calgary who also runs the Faculty of Medicine’s Experimental
Imaging Centre. The two men frst met through what Naylor calls an “arranged
marriage,” when the Alberta government suggested they work together on a research
grant proposal (which, Naylor adds with a laugh, was then rejected by the province).
“David and I started working together in 2005, when we worked on a Pan-Alberta
imaging grant that was submitted in 2006,” Dunn says. “The concept of transferring
the terahertz space-based research to microscopy evolved from this and resulted in
our frst grant application on this project in 2008.”
Once the prototype is complete, Naylor and Dunn will be able to start preliminary
testing – aided by the tissue bank Dunn has access to via Calgary’s Foothills Hospital – and
apply for the funding they need to really set the project in
motion. “The problem is always money,” Dunn says.
Both men agree that their collaboration has been a
welcome breath of fresh air in a world where scientifc
disciplines don’t talk to one another nearly as often as they
could. Dunn, for instance, notes that terahertz technology
is already in use in some areas – notably the controversial,
so-called “naked” body scanners at airports. But, so far, it
hasn’t been seriously applied to medical diagnostics.
Dunn also praises Naylor for his enthusiasm in
bridging that gap between their two specialties. “He’s a
very collegiate, collaborative fellow,” Dunn says. “He’s
excited about the science and the applications.”
For Naylor’s part, he sees the terahertz project as
just the frst step in a long, important re-envisioning
of how cancer can be detected. Even more tantalizing,
however, is the prospect of what other cross-discipline
collaborations might yield in the future.
“People can read this and think, ‘Wow,’ ” Naylor
says. “ ‘Using space detectors to measure cancer. Isn’t
that cool?’ But on the other side of it, it’s so obvious.
And it raises the question: how many other synergies
are awaiting discovery?”
Questions for
a spaceman
You’re a very busy man. What do you eat for
“Cereal. Shredded Wheat is high on the list –
often with a few berries on top. And grapefruit
juice, religiously.”
What do you do for fun outside of work?
“Carpentry. I have built a lot of furniture for our
home. I’m a competent mechanic and enjoy
maintaining and servicing my family’s vehicles. I
do love to garden, but I don’t have time.”
You travel a lot for work. Where are your favou-
rite places to visit?
“Rome. Florence. Madrid. Stockholm. London.”
Favourite TV show?
“I love The Big Bang Theory, because the physics
is actually pretty accurate. The professor who
writes the scripting actually put Herschel in an
episode [on a whiteboard in the background].
Did you have your own “Eureka!” moment,
when science frst stuck with you?
“Absolutely. It was a Christmas present. I wanted a
tape recorder, and my parents bought me an elec-
tronics set. I was probably 10 or 11. When I got into
it, I built my own radio, and then I built a transmit-
ter that could transmit Morse code to my brother,
who was in another room. I started to realize that
this was a kind of magic.”
Leap_Fall13_p42-45.indd 45 8/19/13 3:37:50 PM
Preparation for next year’s growing season
may not sound exciting, but gardening
experts promise you will reap the rewards
lthough the summer’s blooms have faded,
there is plenty of work for a green thumb to
do before the snow fies. This means you
can still roll up your sleeves and get your
hands dirty. It’s time your yard got ready for next year’s
spectacular blooming show.
According to Lisa Gee, greenhouse manager at Calgary’s
Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre, the fall is one of
the busiest times for gardeners. “It’s busy for cleaning up,”
she says. “It is kind of a nice feeling when you have your gar-
den spruced up and ready for planting in the spring.”
Gee says she starts her annual fall cleanup by tidying
her perennials. She cuts them down to just above the
ground and removes any dead fowers or seed pods.
The critical part is removing rotting vegetation, she ex-
plains. “It’s the leaves you have to worry about,” she says,
“as they can rot.”
Sandra Smith, an avid gardener whose blooms delight
visitors to her central Alberta farmyard, says early fall is
also a great time to divide and move many perennials.
She has shared many a plant with neighbours and
friends in this way. In fact, some of her most prolifc
bloomers are heirloom varieties of roses, lilies, delphini-
ums and more that have travelled with her as she moved
all over the province during her 46 years of marriage.
“There are lots of fowers from old friends in my gar-
den,” Smith says, a former home care worker. “There are
memories of people who are gone.”
Smith says many of her perennials don’t require extra
care. But those that do get a mulch treatment right after
the frst hard frost, which varies throughout the province,
but generally occurs in September or early October.
It’s advice Gee also gives gardeners. She recommends
people begin covering their tender perennials in organic
mulch, such as straw, fallen leaves raked from the lawn or
even grass clippings. The mulch will act as insulation, bet-
tering the chance of those plants that may not survive the
winter. This is very important for rose bushes that often
require extra protection to survive.
Gee also advises once the frst snow fies, it can be
piled on top of plants for extra protection. “It’s kind of like
a little igloo,” Gee says, adding expert gardeners can some-
times push the limits of their garden zones in this way.
Potted perennials should be buried in the soil up to the
container’s lip, or pulled out and planted to avoid freez-
ing. Planters just don’t ofer enough protection for the
harsh Alberta winters.
The frst hard frost is also an optimal time to wrap co-
nifers, such as cedars, to keep them from getting dried
out and sufering die-back. This is an especially important
task in the southern part of the province, where chinooks
can decimate evergreens.
“Burlap works well,” Gee says, adding that wrapping
too soon can lead to the needles singeing.
Leg warmers for your trees, as Gee calls them, are the
plastic wraps you can purchase at most garden centres for
for the
Your Garden
By DAwn Smith
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 46 fall 2013
Leap_Fall13_p46-47.indd 46 8/21/13 10:46:00 AM
covering tree trunk bottoms, stopping gophers, rabbits
and mice from nibbling on the tree’s bark. This is some-
thing that can cause severe damage during the winter.
Lawns also need special treatment as the growing
season ends. In fact, preparing your grass for the long, cold
winter should start in mid-summer when lawns should no
longer be given fertilizer to promote green growth. “In late
September or early October, feed with fall fertilizer,” Gee
says. “It promotes root growth so you have healthy roots.”
Perennial grasses, such as fescues, are hardy and can be
left as is to ofer diversity and interest in the winter land-
scape. Tender bulbs must be dug up and brought indoors
or they will freeze and turn to mush, Gee notes.
Dahlias should be dug up, sprinkled with a fungicidal
powder and kept in a breathable container, such as a pa-
per bag, in a cold, dark room. Gee suggests a root cellar
between 5°C and 10°C.
Gladiolas can be hung to dry and then stored in a cold,
dark place. Callas also must be brought inside for the win-
ter. “I shake the dirt out and put them in a cool place,” Gee
says. They must be kept from completely drying out over
the winter.
The alternative is to treat tender bulbs as an annual, replanting them every year.
Hardy, spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses
must be planted in the fall. Gee likes to do it near the end of September. “That’s
your last step after you do your cleanup,” she says, adding it is one of her favourite
tasks as she imagines how their cheery blooms will brighten up the garden in the
Like grass, fertilizing perennials and trees should be discontinued as the summer
progresses. Gee says she stops fertilizing her fowers in August to avoid winter kill
from under-developed roots.
Another step that is often missed is a good watering of trees and perennials in
the fall. “Deep water, with tree spikes if possible,” Gee says.
Crystal Bazar, an arbourist with the City of Airdrie, agrees. “Most trees sufer
winter kill because of a lack of moisture,” she says, explaining it is sometimes even
necessary to water in mid-winter in southern Alberta when chinook winds melt the
snow and raise temperatures.
For those with vegetable gardens, fall is a good time to spread manure or
compost, Smith says. She also likes to do a fnal tilling to eradicate as many weeds
as possible before spring comes again.
Readying your garden for winter may seem a chore, but it is worth it, Smith says,
who likes to imagine sharing next year’s blooms as she puts her garden to bed for
the winter.
“There is enjoyment and beauty in gardening,” she says. “Flowers are uplifting
and they are also to be shared. It takes a lot of hours, but it makes it special, too.”
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 47
Leap_Fall13_p46-47.indd 47 8/19/13 3:01:31 PM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 48 fall 2013
corporate giving /
working for a cause





Building greatness: (L to R) Ed Cyrankiewicz
and Ron Hinz support various charities alongside
employees at their general contracting and construction
management company.
Leap_Fall13_p48-49.indd 48 8/19/13 3:02:17 PM
Delnor matched dollar for dollar
what employees gave to the fund in
2011, and gave a cheque for $30,650
to the Cross Cancer Institute in
December 2011. “The Cross Cancer
Institute is very dear to all our hearts;
it’s a great institution.”
Al berta’ s cancer- f ree movement fall 2013 49
By Jacqueline louie
Delnor Construction’s owners walk the talk as they
get employees involved in charitable gift giving
Match Makers
or the past three decades, Delnor construction has prided itself
on building strong relationships, and on creating a healthier and better
community for all to enjoy.
“We built this company on long-term lasting relationships,” says Ed
Cyrankiewicz, who is Delnor’s principal, together with Ron Hinz. “Many, many people we
worked with 30 years ago, we still have strong relationships with today.”
A general contractor and construction management company celebrating its 30th
anniversary this year, Delnor is active on projects throughout Alberta and in the B.C.
interior. Founded in 1983, it has approximately 200 employees in the Edmonton head
ofce and approximately 75 staf members total in the Calgary and Kelowna locations.
Delnor does almost every type of construction and renovation, from institutional,
ofce and commercial, to multi-family housing, religious institutions and historic
building restorations. The company specializes in the health-care sector, however,
“there is no type of commercial or institu-
tional work we would not be interested in,”
Cyrankiewicz says.
Delnor has also supported charitable organi-
zations in the community since its early days.
Employees, so far, have raised money for
organizations that include the Heart & Stroke
Foundation, MS Bike Tour and the Cross Can-
cer Institute, which Delnor has a longstanding
relationship with.
The company has supported the Alberta
Cancer Foundation through various fundraising initiatives for 20 years, including gifts-
in-kind, participation in the Cross Cancer Institute’s annual golf tournament, and
through sponsorship of a donor wall.
Over the years, Delnor has seen the work at the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the
Cross Cancer Institute fund advancements to cancer research and care. Hinz says, “We
are honoured to be able to contribute to those organizations. We like to contribute to
people we have a working relationship with – that’s what inspired us to contribute on an
ongoing basis.”
Cyrankiewicz adds that everyone has been touched in one way, shape or form by
cancer. “The Cross Cancer Institute is very dear to all our hearts; it’s a great institution,”
he says. “Having recently dealt with cancer in my immediate family, the support of all the
staf and volunteers has been amazing.”
Delnor employees stepped forward to make a diference after Jaime Jaramillo, a long-
time Delnor employee, died in 2010 from leukemia. The following year, Delnor ran a
year-long gift-match campaign in memory of Jaramillo, who “touched anybody he worked
with,” Cyrankiewicz says. “He was one of those people who left a lasting impression. He
was always the life of the event.”
Contributors to the Jaime Jaramillo Fund pledged an amount of their choosing, which
the company then deducted from their pay cheques. “We left it as fexible as possible, so
that each individual contributed diferently,” Cyrankiewicz says.
Delnor matched dollar for dollar what employees
gave to the fund in 2011 and gave a cheque for the total
amount – $30,650 – to the Cross Cancer Institute in
December 2011.
Most employees are very open to supporting worthy
causes, Cyrankiewicz says, and for those who knew
Jaramillo, the matching gift campaign held a particular
The money raised in the Jaime Jaramillo Fund
matching gift campaign assists people dealing with
cancer and those in need of support – patients diagnosed
with cancer and the family members who care for them.
It covered costs incurred for those travelling from out of
town to the Cross Cancer Institute
for treatment. Other funds raised
by Delnor typically are left up to the
charitable organization to decide how
that money is spent.
Employees are also encouraged to
suggest organizations they would like
to support and Delnor has committed
to matching funds raised by any of its
staf members for a cause aligned with
Delnor’s corporate values. “This gives
employees the fexibility of supporting causes that are
important to them, as well as allowing Delnor to be a part
of it,” Hinz says.
Most recently, Delnor partnered with its suppliers
and subcontractors on the construction of the new
Healing Garden at the Cross Cancer Institute, donating
approximately $250,000 worth of gifts in-kind as their
contribution to the project. The Healing Garden was
built through a partnership between the Alberta Cancer
Foundation, Delnor Construction and the Cross Cancer
Institute’s Volunteer Association (CCIVA). It is a legacy
project of the CCIVA, celebrating 50 years of volunteerism
at the Cross Cancer Institute.
“We are very fortunate to have a world-class treatment
facility right in our back yard. It’s a privilege to partner with
them (the Cross) and acknowledge their great service to
the community,” Hinz says. “We are also very proud of our
staf and the initiatives that have come forward from them
in regards to contributing to the Cross Cancer Institute
and various charities.”





Leap_Fall13_p48-49.indd 49 8/21/13 10:50:09 AM
myl eapmagazi ne. ca 50 fall 2013
Purple is the New Pink
Pancreatic cancer is ruthless. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related
deaths in Canada and an estimated 4,100 new cases were diagnosed in 2011.
It’s not surprising, then, that four friends from Edmonton – Jody Mathon, Kim
Tilley, Keri Emin and Tamara Serediak – have all lost a parent to pancreatic cancer
over the past six years. These four women decided to take stand against this awful
disease by raising awareness and money through a fundraiser they created called
Purple with a Purpose. The non-proft fundraising event is a gala, taking place in
Edmonton at the Art Gallery of Alberta on November 9, 2013. “We’ve all lost our
parents to pancreatic cancer in the last fve to seven years,” Mathon says. Purple
with a Purpose was created due to the absence of any kind of major event for this
specifc cancer that ft their fundraising plans. “One of the girls that I’ve known
forever lost her dad to pancreatic cancer and she was looking for a cause that she
could join to raise money for pancreatic cancer – like a run or something, but there
were none. She approached me and asked if I would help her create an event.”
Mathon recalls.
Mathon says Purple with a Purpose is no ordinary fundraiser. The formal gala event
includes duelling pianos, drinks and catering, and a silent auction with prizes, such as
hot air balloon fights, high-end hotel packages and
electronics, as well as some one-of-a-kind items.
If you’re looking for tickets to this high-class event,
you’ll have to act fast. Mathon excitedly explains
that ticket sales have far exceeded what she and her
friends hoped for the event.
Mathon expects ticket sales to reach the 100-
per-cent mark by the time of the event. “The funds
will stay in Alberta and will go directly to pancreatic
cancer research.” – Darcy Ropchan
Check out purplewithapurpose.ca for
more information on the November
gala. Also, see albertacancer.ca to fnd
ways to create your own fundraiser like
Mathon and her friends did.


FrIends wIth a PurPose: Kim Tilley,
Tamara Serediak, Jody Mathon and Keri Emin
take an artistic approach to fundraising.
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