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Cape Breton Cancer Centre focus of Toronto reception

A reception was held in Toronto earlier this week to support the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. From left, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke, Irwin D. Simon, foundation CEO Brad Jacobs, Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan and foundation chair Stan MacDonald.
A reception was held in Toronto earlier this week to support the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. From left, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke, Irwin D. Simon, foundation CEO Brad Jacobs, Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan and foundation chair Stan MacDonald. - Contributed

Simon hosts event to encourage campaign to build new cancer centre

SYDNEY, N.S. —

It’s a long way from the Cape Breton Regional Hospital but earlier this week, Cape Bretoners met in Toronto to encourage other Cape Bretoners and anyone with a connection to here to take part in the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s upcoming campaign to build a new cancer centre.

Along with Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke, the event was hosted by Irwin D. Simon at Simon’s Aphria Inc. office.

“We’re thrilled to have so many Cape Bretoners gathered here in Toronto,” said Simon, who is the majority stakeholder in the Cape Breton Eagles franchise. “The Cape Breton Cancer Centre impacts each and every one of us in one way or another and we all have a reason to support cancer care.”

Simon explained why he hosted the event.

“It’s my hometown,” said Simon. “If gathering like-minded people in Toronto can inspire people to give back, I’m on board to play my part in strengthening health care in Cape Breton.”

Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation CEO Brad Jacobs spoke to the audience about the campaign which has already begun, thanks to the efforts of Brenda McCarthy of Georges River who led the effort to raise $297,000 for stereotactic body radiation therapy equipment.

“With more than $50 million raised to date, this will undoubtedly be the biggest and most impactful project we’ve undertaken in the history of our foundation,” said Jacobs.

Among those attending the Toronto event was foundation board chair Stan MacDonald, who spoke about his own experiences with esophageal cancer.

“Cancer can do many things to a person. It can destroy a life, it can bring family together, it can even bring a community together,” MacDonald told the crowd. “It’s a horrendous disease, but we can fight it together.”

MacDonald, who fought and beat cancer in 2006, experienced his battle at home, an opportunity his father didn’t have when he lost his battle to cancer 42 years ago.

“At the age of 54 my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer,” MacDonald emotionally told the crowd. “My family’s lives changed forever that day. Cancer put a great deal of emotional and financial stress on all of us. My brothers and sisters travelled back and forth to Halifax from Sydney, a four-and-a-half-hour drive, to be with our father during his treatments. The cancer had spread and unfortunately three months to the day after his diagnosis, cancer took my father away from my family. The cancer was rough, but the travel and care so far from home was salt in the wound.”

Since 1992, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, in partnership with the community has raised more than $50 million to purchase equipment, and fund upgrades at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Foundation has been able to fund health care needs which provide world-class care — closer to home. One hundred per cent of donations stay in Cape Breton to support patients in Cape Breton.

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