The rapid surge of COVID-19 at hospitals is putting unprecedented stress and pressure on Canada’s healthcare system, frontline workers and patients. At The Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world, our community of cancer patients and survivors is especially vulnerable, due to their compromised immune systems from the disease or its treatment.
In support of the fight against COVID-19 and to support those who are most at risk, The Princess Margaret is launching the ‘Conquer COVID for Cancer Fund,’ which focuses on three critical areas of need:
· Keeping patients safer with technology: Accelerate the use of technology to help cancer patients access care from the safety of their homes and enable patients who need hospitalization to connect with family and friends.
· Clinical trials to stop COVID-19 in its tracks: The trials will cover a broad range of testing that will lead to better prevention, more accurate diagnoses and treatment and will have a special focus on cancer patients and frontline workers.
· Provide urgent resources for frontline workers: Meet the urgent and compassionate needs of our frontline staff, helping them to keep their families safe, while they put their lives on the line to care for our patients.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic – while The Princess Margaret is working around the clock to keep its patients and frontline workers safe – our focus has never been stronger on our vision to Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. An estimated 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and with cancer being the leading cause of death in Canada, we must conquer COVID-19 so we can continue building on our world-leading cancer research.
Our patients and frontline workers need your help today to help us fight COVID-19 at The Princess Margaret.
“This is a scary time for all Canadians, but even more so for cancer patients, their loved ones, and the frontline workers who are risking their personal safety to continue providing crucial cancer treatments,” says Michael Burns, President & CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “I am extremely proud of our frontline workers and research team at The Princess Margaret who are working at incredible speeds to find ways to conquer COVID-19. As a member of the Canadian and global healthcare network, we are proud to be contributing to this fight.”
During this pandemic, every minute counts. That’s why we need your support now for a new life-saving Conquer COVID for Cancer Fund. Click here to learn more about how to donate.
Please see below for more details on how your gift to the Conquer COVID for Cancer Fund will help.
For Further Information:
Sam Pinto/Rosie McGregor
Keeping Patients Safer with Technology
The need for physical distancing is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and those precautions are essential for vulnerable cancer patients. Your donation will help The Princess Margaret to use technology to help cancer patients to stay connected, while maintaining a safe physical distance.
Connecting Patients with their Cancer Team
The Princess Margaret has been developing an exciting new way of partnering with patients called Smart Cancer Care, which uses technology and specialized software to allow remote monitoring of patient conditions, data collection and virtual appointments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has kicked Smart Cancer Care into high gear with the urgent need for patients to stay safely in their homes. Over just 11 days in March, our Smart Cancer Care team designed and launched a new system to enable virtual visits (by phone and video) for Princess Margaret patients. As a result, in-person visits were reduced by 500 appointments a day, while patient satisfaction with the convenient new system remained high.
Your gift today will help protect more vulnerable patients from this highly infectious virus by helping to expand and accelerate virtual visits across the Cancer Centre and enable new digital services, such as ordering prescriptions and offering follow-up appointments.
Connecting Patients with Loved Ones
Hospitals across Ontario have implemented a “no visitor” policy to minimize the spread of COVID-19. For those people who need the expert care provided by The Princess Margaret’s in-patient and palliative care units, and for those cancer patients who need hospitalization for COVID-19, the critical “no visitor” policy can be really tough. Even though they understand the policy is for their own protection, patients are still profoundly impacted by this separation from their family and friends. Your gift will help to connect isolated patients with their loved ones by helping The Princess Margaret purchase digital tablets for every in-patient unit.
Urgent COVID-19 Clinical Trials
Just as production lines across the country are being repurposed to make face masks, hand sanitizer and ventilators, The Princess Margaret is leveraging its world-class research and clinical trials platform to find effective ways to defeat COVID-19, for cancer patients and all patients.
Few research centres anywhere have the capacity to rapidly launch and execute emergency trials during a crisis, while still maintaining excellence in their current trials. The Princess Margaret is one of them. We run the largest early phase clinical trials program in Canada and one of the most robust in North America. Our patient participation rate in therapeutic clinical trials is more than triple the average of other major cancer centres in North America.
Our leaders have worked with Health Canada and our internal Research Ethics Boards to achieve unprecedented fast-tracked permission to launch crucial clinical trials in 2-4 four days, a process that usually takes 4-6 months, to benefit patients facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Our scientists and physicians are also collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO), other hospitals across the country, pharmaceutical companies and many other organizations.
Princess Margaret researchers will lead real-time clinical trials to rapidly learn about COVID-19 and then immediately share those findings broadly to help cancer patients and frontline workers across Canada and around the world.
Using the latest and most innovative research methods, these trials will be designed to:
1) Understand COVID-19 and its impact on cancer patients, staff and hospital resources;
2) Monitor infection and transmission to help manage COVID-19;
3) Accelerate the development of COVID-19 treatments for cancer patients;
4) Accelerate the development of treatments to protect frontline workers from COVID-19.
Your gift today will help The Princess Margaret to develop rapid and early detection tests for COVID-19, especially to protect cancer patients throughout this pandemic. Undetected transmission of COVID-19 from people who are not showing symptoms is the biggest threat to frontline workers and at-risk patients, especially those with cancer. Designing quick and sensitive tests for the earliest possible detection of COVID-19 is essential to get ahead of the spread. Without compromising the current supply chain of clinical-based tests, rapid and early testing will reassure people that they are not exposing their loved ones to infection.
You’ll also be enabling new COVID-19 treatments for cancer patients, who are already dealing with debilitating illness, underlying health conditions and immune deficiencies. We are working on preventive and curative treatments to protect the wellbeing of our patients. Your gift will also help healthcare teams at The Princess Margaret to quickly adapt complex cancer treatments to offset any adverse interactions with COVID-19 therapies.
You’ll be protecting frontline staff at The Princess Margaret with an innovative trial that uses self-collected biospecimens to provide real-time data to our research network. This data will allow sophisticated monitoring and surveillance, through statistical models and artificial intelligence, to help our researchers determine the best way to protect staff from being infected, allowing our doctors and nurses to care for our cancer patients more safely, during and after the pandemic.
Urgent Resources for Frontline Workers
Our frontline workers have families and lives. They’ve put everything on hold to ensure cancer patients are safe, especially those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and those most vulnerable to infection. When most of society is physically isolating, frontline healthcare workers are risking their health and that of their family by continuing to care for patients. In appreciation of their efforts, you can help provide frontline workers at The Princess Margaret with hotel rooms so they can avoid taking the virus home to their families, with free parking at the Cancer Centre so they can steer clear of exposure to the virus on public transit, and with nutritious meals during their shift to maintain their energy. Your gift will help ensure our healthcare workers have the support they need to care for cancer patients during this crisis.
How You Can Help
The Princess Margaret urgently needs your help to conquer COVID-19 so we can support cancer patients during this pandemic. The sooner we can stop COVID-19 in its tracks, the sooner we can return our full focus to Conquering Cancer In Our Lifetime.
We are asking you to take direct action against COVID-19 by making a generous donation to the Conquer COVID for Cancer Fund today. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-855-329-5804.