It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a dear friend of The Princess Margaret’s. Allan Slaight – broadcast mogul, radio pioneer and visionary philanthropist – passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.
Allan contributed profoundly to Canadian life through his fervent support of the country’s arts and culture, and his philanthropic contributions to hundreds of organizations, particularly those within healthcare, community services and the arts.
The Princess Margaret was among those who benefited not only from his philanthropy, but also from his tenacity, creativity and leadership, which he contributed so generously.
Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President & CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, describes Allan and Emmanuelle’s impact in elevating research and improving patient outcomes as “truly transformational.” She adds: “We are eternally grateful to Allan and his wife Emmanuelle, whose philanthropic contributions to The Princess Margaret have helped change the course of cancer research and care in Canada, improving the quality of life of patients and their families—today and for generations to come.”
In 2013, Allan and Emmanuelle committed $50 million to establish the Gattuso Slaight Personalized Cancer Medicine Fund, which enabled the Cancer Centre to recruit a group of bright early-career scientists to establish their research programs at The Princess Margaret. Many of these scientists quickly became recognized leaders in their respective fields, such as Drs. Daniel De Carvalho and Scott Bratman, who co-developed a minimally invasive blood test that can detect cancers in its earliest stages.
Dr. Aaron Schimmer, Director of Research at The Princess Margaret, remarks that “collectively, this world-class group has had a profound impact on our understanding of cancer biology and the genetics of cancer in an unprecedented way.”
Allan and Emmanuelle have also supported many other key initiatives at The Princess Margaret, including the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre (GRDC) in breast cancer, the Gattuso Chair in Breast Surgical Oncology, and the Geriatric Oncology Program.
“The resources and trust invested in The Princess Margaret by the Gattuso Slaight family has allowed our Cancer Centre to establish itself as a world leader in several cutting-edge fields such as genomics, epigenomics, stem cells, breast cancer rapid diagnostics, and many more," says Dr. Keith Stewart, Medical Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and VP Cancer, UHN. “Their visionary support has accelerated the pace of discovery and its translation into clinical practices, improving treatment options and outcomes for cancer patients in Canada and across the world.”
Allan’s inspiring vision for his country will continue to permeate across Canadian culture and society for many years to come through the work of The Slaight Family Foundation and La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso. On behalf of The Princess Margaret, our patients and their families, we extend our sincerest condolences and heartfelt gratitude to the Gattuso Slaight family.