The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™ is a life-changing two days to raise funds for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre - one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.
Read about all the work we’ve done over the years to help shape the future of cancer care and research. Our community has raised over $177.8 million to date; read more about the real-life impact these funds have made for The Princess Margaret, here.
A Letter From Dr. Aaron Schimmer
Each year, The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™ (formerly the OneWalk) attracts thousands of participants and volunteers and I am always humbled by the tremendous support it receives from our community. I am again proud to walk alongside our staff and supporters. These fundraising efforts are critical for supporting the many research breakthroughs at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, each having left an impact on the global stage.
About a year ago, I was appointed as the Research Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. One of my initial goals was to help accelerate cancer discoveries that impact our patients. To that end, we announced two priority moonshots—that is, areas within the cancer patient journey where we see opportunities to make significant headway. The first moonshot changes the way we diagnosis cancer, so cancers can be detected earlier to increase the chances of curing them. The second moonshot develops new treatments for advanced or metastatic cancers to increase rates of survival for these patients.
To achieve these goals, our scientists have made many exciting discoveries over the past year. For instance, a talented team of researchers developed a new test to detect and classify cancer at its earliest stages by tracking DNA released by tumours into the blood. Our extraordinary scientists have also unveiled new cancer targets by exploring how proteins interact with each other to drive the development of cancer. Finally, our team developed a new intervention to decrease psychological distress and improve coping in patients with advanced cancer.
It is without question that these successes were made possible by generous donations to The Princess Margaret Foundation and fundraising events like The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™. By supporting research, these impactful discoveries are helping to enable Future Care Now for patients here at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and around the world.
I hope you will join us this year and continue supporting the amazing work we are doing to improve cancer patient outcomes. There are many teams you can join or you can assemble your very own. I also extend a personal invitation for you to walk with me and join my team, Team Research. Hope to see you there!
With warm wishes,
Dr. Aaron Schimmer, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Research Director, Senior Scientist and Staff Physician
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
About Cancer in Canada
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that one-in-five men and one-in-six women worldwide will develop cancer over the course of their lifetime, and that one-in-eight men and one-in eleven women will die from their disease.
Dollars at Work
The Weekend Conquer Cancer™ (formerly known as OneWalk) has made an enormous impact on the work of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, as highlighted below. As we walk in The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™, the funds we raise will support world-leading research, new clinical and technological innovations, and the continuation of the important patient Survivorship program.
- $54.7 million to The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research led by Dr. Tak Mak, with 7 Principal Investigators 3 Affiliate Scientists, 1 Emeritus Scientist, and 112 staff
- Dr. Mak and his team of researchers from The Campbell Family Research Institute announced a new “sharpshooter” cancer drug that will target an enzyme called PLK4, which plays a crucial role in the process of cancer cell division. On July 18, 2013, Dr. Mak and his team gained clearance by Health Canada to proceed with the drug into Phase I Clinical Trial in Canada. *
- Scientists led by Drs. Mona Gauthier and Dr. Mak have discovered how BRCA1 gene mutations specifically predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer.
- Pamela Ohashi’s research into T-cell activation and boosting the immune system to fight tumors. Her work focuses on understanding the signaling pathways of T-cells to help activate, direct and enhance anti-tumor responses in cancer. Clinical trial of her team’s adoptive cell therapy began in the Fall of 2013. Dr. Pamela Ohashi’s research into T-cell activation and immunotherapy to fight breast tumours, is part of The Campbell Family Institute funding.
- $8.7 million to purchase cutting edge research equipment and support breast cancer research activities in the PMH research expansion at MaRS (Medical and Related Science), including immunotherapy and stem cell biology
- $3 million to create The Weekend to End Breast Cancer Chair in Breast Cancer Research, held by Dr. Tak Mak, a world-renowned cancer research scientist
- $1.5 million to the Walker Innovation Program, which supports researchers and new ideas that have the potential for advancing scientific knowledge of breast cancer
- $2.1 million to support Dr. Norman Boyd’s research into breast cancer prevention, focusing on the understanding of mammographic density as a risk factor
- $1.8 million to support Mass Spectrometer program
- $500,000 to support research at The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute for equipment, lab expenses, research and staff related expenses and research operations
- $3.9 million toward a comprehensive breast imaging program and the purchase of a breast MRI and digital mammography machine
- $3 million toward a newly revamped and re-designed Lau Breast Centre that provides complete care for breast cancer patients
- $2.9 million to support clinical trials for breast cancer and $500,000 for fellowship program
- $2 million to support an extensive Tumour Bank, database maintenance and pathology renovations
- $1.3 million to support Dr. David McCready’s rapid diagnosis pilot study, which is now The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre and sees up to 1,500 patients a year
- $550,000 to support the clinical trial of intraoperative radiation therapy, led by David McCready and Dr. Anthony Fyles
- $250,000 toward the design and creation of the new Conway Chemotherapy and Transfusion Centre, the largest centre of its kind in North America
- $1.2 million to support the surgical robotics program for gynecologic cancer patients
- $160,000 toward the Familial Ovarian Cancer Clinic, which now also provides genetic counselling for breast cancer patients
- $6.6 million for other clinical enhancements and other research programs
- $2.5 million to support Princess Margaret’s Space Transformation which is a multi-phase project that will create a transformative environment for Personalized Cancer Medicine
- $130,000 towards grant matching program
- $11.8 million for the establishment and continued support of the first in-hospital Survivorship Clinic and Program in Canada. This includes ELLICSR, a 12,000-square-foot innovative research centre, and caringvoices.ca, an award-winning online community for survivors and their families
- $1 million to provide reconstructive breast surgery for women who have had breast cancer
*New cancer drug development is a long and risk-filled process. We are very encouraged by this discovery and reaching this major milestone. The drug discovery from Dr. Tak Mak and Dr. Dennis Slamon announced by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in June 2013 has been cleared by Health Canada and the University Health Network Research Ethics Board and is in clinical trials. For more information please visit www.canadiancancertrials.ca.
The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™ Timeline
OneWalk becomes The Weekend to Conquer Cancer™, a life-changing two days to raise funds for vital cancer care and research. All new for 2020 is Family Rally, an immersive and unique experience for the whole family to cross the finish line together.
Since 2003, more than $180 million raised by walk participants have supported vital cancer research to deliver Future Care Now at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. In 2019, Senior Scientist Dr. Daniel De Carvalho combined liquid biopsy, epigenetic alterations, and machine learning to develop a test to identify cancer at its earliest stages, before symptoms even appear.
Day Trip is announced as a new addition to the weekend-long event giving participants the opportunity to explore some of Ontario’s most beautiful landscapes while raising funds that support transformational research, world-leading clinical enhancements and supportive care programs for cancer patients.
Breast cancer researchers have mapped early genetic alterations
in normal-looking cells at various distances from primary
tumours to show how changes along the lining of mammary ducts
can lead to disease.
Scientists at The Princess Margaret ID a biomarker that
determines if colon cancer patients will benefit from treatment
Learn more about cetuximab treatment
The Walk becomes OneWalk to Conquer Cancer, raising funds for all cancer research. OneWalk is now one of Canada's largest cancer fundraisers.
Dr. John Dick and his colleagues identify a pre-leukemic stem cell that will accelerate new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia.
Walk funds support Dr. Pamela Ohashi's immunotherapy research at
The Princess Margaret.
Learn more about immunotherapy
Walk funds support the Conway Chemotherapy and Transfusion Centre, which now has over 70,000 patient visits annually.
ELLICSR: Health, Wellness & Cancer Survivorship Centre opens on
National Cancer Survivors Day.
What is ELLICSR?
The Walk crosses the $100M fundraising mark and becomes North America’s #1 multi-day fundraising walk for women’s cancers.
The intraoperative radiation therapy clinical trial and the development of a comprehensive digital breast imaging program is made possible.
Walk funds support research on why mammographic density is a major risk factor for breast cancer.
The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre opens. Seeing 1,300 patients
a year, breast cancer diagnoses are completed within 24 hours.
Discover how the GRDC is saving lives
The Princess Margaret scientists discover that a molecule that was previously connected to Parkinson's disease is related to cancer development.
Led by Dr. Tak Mak, the Campbell Family Institute for Breast
Cancer Research is launched.
The first-ever Weekend to End Breast Cancer raises $12.5M to support Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.