The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation | UHN

President & Board Chair’s Message

WHY is Princess Margaret Cancer Centre a world leader?


Your support is one of the major reasons that Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.  Many of our eminent researchers would not be working at the cancer centre if not for the tremendous philanthropic support that comes from our donors and supporters. 

We believe another big reason is the intense curiosity and tenacity of our scientists and clinician researchers who never stop asking WHY—as they work with each patient, with each tumor sample, and with each new therapy. While we can’t prove it scientifically yet, our theory is that our researchers have an extra ‘WHY gene’!

We all have WHY questions about cancer:

  • WHY will 40 percent of Canadians be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime?
  • WHY are some cancers responsive to treatment, while others are not?
  • WHY do some types of cancer return after it appears they have been eradicated?

The research you are supporting is helping our scientists and clinicians to find the answers.

In fiscal 2015, we achieved a net fundraising total of $102 million.  And thanks to superb oversight from the Investment Committee of our Board of Directors, we earned income of $48 million from our investments. An extraordinary return.

This year, we completed the third year of our Billion Dollar Challenge—our five-year initiative to secure $1 billion to lead the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine.  We are happy to report that we have raised $334.6 million through philanthropy, and our researchers have raised another $322.2 million, for a total of $656.8  million at the end of year three.

The Foundation showed its strong creative side this year with the launch of a new social media fundraising campaign called #NoHairSelfie, which culminated on February 4—World Cancer Day.  More than 21,000 participants and their communities took up the challenge to ‘shave, share, and donate,’ and the campaign raised over $1.8 million in its first year.

Special thanks for the continued support of Emmanuelle Gattuso, Allan Slaight and the Slaight family.  In addition to their pledged annual gift of $5 million, Gary Slaight lent great support to the #NoHairSelfie campaign.

We also celebrated the opening of the Max Tanenbaum Healing Garden in November 2014 where beautiful hand-blown glass flowers present families and friends with an opportunity to honour or pay tribute to a loved one.

We continue to execute with excellence in our core programs—our two lotteries sold out and raised a record $23.8 million for cancer research, while 5,212 participants in the 2014 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer raised a record $20 million.  We are very excited about transforming our successful Weekend to End Women’s Cancers into the OneWalk to Conquer Cancer so that the event will benefit research for all types of cancer. 

Thank you to the members of our extraordinary volunteer Board of Directors who provide excellent counsel to the Foundation in their many areas of expertise, and for their personal support of our fundraising events and efforts.

In closing, WHY do cancer patients and their families and friends want to support the research taking place at The Princess Margaret?  As our Creed states “We have the momentum.  We have the talent. And we have the passion.”  And we never stop asking WHY—because WHY is in our DNA!

Thank you for helping us find the answers,

Tom Ehrlich Signature Paul Alofs Signature
Tom Ehrlich
Paul Alofs
President & CEO