This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells with the nuclei stained red. On Friday, May 29, 2020, doctors are reporting success with newer drugs that control certain types of cancer better, reduce the risk it will come back and make treatment simpler and easier to bear. (NCI Center for Cancer Research via AP)

Interior families give $600,000 towards cancer research

First ever chair in brachytherapy supported by Popowich and Bannister families

Two Vernon families have given $100,000 each towards changing outcomes for people facing cancer.

Kelowna’s BC Cancer Centre has a campaign to establish the province’s first-ever chair in brachytherapy – a form of treatment that delivers a radiation dose directly to a tumour site internally via implanted seeds. Kelowna is a world-renowned leader in brachytherapy, which is quick, highly effective and prevents side effects and damage to surrounding healthy tissue. In fact, brachytherapy is now proven to be more effective and less harmful than standard external beam radiation therapy. It is expected that up to 15,000 cancer patients will require brachytherapy over the next decade.

READ MORE: Campaign launched to create first ever chair in brachytherapy in the Interior

Vernon’s Jim and Laverne Popowich recently gave $100,000 to support a first-ever chair in brachytherapy at BC Cancer and the launch of an innovative research program that will transform care for people facing cancer in the Interior and beyond.

Long-time supporters of the BC Cancer Foundation, the Popowichs have witnessed the devastation of cancer as it has impacted their close family and friends.

They positioned their gift as an opportunity to rally the community to match their donation and ensure residents of the Interior have access to the latest in innovative treatment today and into the future.

“We want to support the dedicated leaders at BC Cancer – Kelowna in providing a longer and better life for patients,” said Jim. “It is all about caring – we give to create better outcomes.”

No strangers to philanthropy themselves, former Vernon residents Joanne and Lyn Bannister also contributed $50,000 to the cause.

Cancer has impacted the Bannisters directly over the years. Joanne’s father faced colon cancer; Lyn and his brother have been diagnosed with skin cancer, along with his father and other brother, who both faced prostate cancer.

“Cancer touches us all, either personally or through those we love,” said Joanne. “We have a wonderful opportunity to have this innovative way of treating cancer right here in our valley and we need the support of the community to have access to world class treatment here at home.”

Inspired by his parents, Joanne and Lyn’s son Chad continued the chain of generosity by also giving $50,000 along with his wife, Nadine.

“It makes us feel proud to not only be making a difference in our community, but also make an impact across the province as well,” Chad said.

In response to the matching gift challenge, donors from across the Interior have been inspired to action and show their support – they’ve come together to raise another $400,000, exceeding their target and accumulating an incredible $600,000 total towards the first-ever chair in brachytherapy in B.C.

Chad hopes others will continue to be motivated to give.

“Be committed to making a difference,” he said. “Who knows whose life you may save.”

To learn more, visit bccancerfoundation.com/BrachytherapyChair

READ MORE: Improving the standard of care through brachytherapy


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