Hope is an incredibly powerful and valuable emotion. Being hopeful is a gift like gratitude and friendship. Hope helps fuel and sustain our Passion Capital. Hope you are filled with “hope” this holiday season and through 2018. Because Passion Capital is the world’s most valuable asset and it is fueled in part by Hope.
I opened my Globe and Mail this morning and I was literally speechless! Inside the front section was a full-page thank you ad with a nearly life-size photo of me. I spilled my coffee and was totally surprised by this wonderful and thoughtful tribute. The PMCF has raised $1.2 billion during my watch and our staff and donor community are the best of the best! I am honoured and totally thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve this cause To Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. The Princess Margaret has evolved into one of the world’s top 5 cancer research centres and is having transformational impact on the leading cause of death in North America. Speaking of The Globe, have a look in the November 28th issue of The Globe for our Transformers Technology magazine.
On Monday night, I was honoured when 250 of our best supporters of The Princess Margaret gathered for a retirement tribute for me. It was one of the great nights of my life to be surrounded by leaders in the field of cancer care, research and philanthropy. The speeches were from the heart and the three short videos captured the 14 years I have spent leading the PMCF brilliantly. Here is a link to the videos if you want to have a look. Also, the photo is of the Bobble Head Paul which was given as a gift to each one of the guests. Celebrating the incredible spirit of generosity from our community which has led to us raising $1.215 billion in net fundraising with so many incredible supporters was both inspired and inspirational. Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the evening, Emmanuelle Gattuso and Steve Bear. Also a very major heartfelt thank you to donors who contributed $1.6 million to a special fund to help build a meeting room on the ground floor of the transformed Princess Margaret in my name. A night full of Passion Capital including so many who have done so much for our cause To Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. I welcomed my successor, Michael Burns, who begins as President & CEO on January 2, 2018. I know Michael will do an outstanding job building on the energy + intensity + sustainability that have become the hallmark of the top 5 cancer centre we call The Princess Margaret. Thanks to all!
Libby Znaimer is living proof that research and cancer care are progressing and transforming lives. Libby is a very well-known broadcaster and journalist who was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and received extraordinary treatment at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Nine years later, she has not only survived, but she is thriving as a high-energy, successful and extraordinary person. Tonight, November 14th at 9:00 p.m., Vision TV will present Libby’s story with updated information about the BRCA-2 gene. Libby’s story is inspired and inspirational. She is a powerful advocate for advancing novel and breakthrough research for cancer patients. You can watch a preview at www.visiontv.ca/cancer. Thanks to Libby for sharing her story and for giving hope and transformational inspiration to cancer patients across Canada. Libby’s passion and persistence make for a truly remarkable story that you must see. Thanks Libby for your Passion Capital!
On November 2, 2002, my mom Pat Alofs, passed away from cancer after a long and courageous struggle with this disease. I have been at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation for 14 years and have seen remarkable progress in diagnosing and treating cancer. Still, 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and about 25% of Canadians will die from this disease. That’s the frightening news, but there is also some hopeful news. In 1970, 25% of cancer patients survived for 10 years or more. Now, 50% of cancer patients survive for 10 years or more. Precision medicine or personalized cancer medicine is at the forefront of the new genomic strategies for both detecting and treating many forms of cancer. Canada does not have a national strategy to deliver on the promise of precision medicine, but it does have the powerful and globally important leadership of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. A national strategy for Canada focused on precision medicine and innovations related to the field of cancer genomics is urgently needed for this country. Our single payer system is actually very well suited to a national precision cancer medicine strategy. Other countries have adopted this strategy and sadly, Canada lacks the focused leadership to do the same. With 1 in 2 Canadians facing a cancer diagnosis and with the transformational advances in precision medicine and genomics, Canada should and must do better. Until we do, we will lose more of our mothers and brothers and children and friends to this horrible disease. We have the knowledge and the skill base, we just lack the leadership and the sense of urgency to get a national plan for precision medicine in place. We could lead the world with our single payer system and a bold strategy with strong leadership, and the will to use the emerging technologies of precision cancer medicine.
Yesterday, I gave a keynote speech at the Companies & Causes conference in Toronto. I led off my talk with what I view as the “golden rule” of Passion Capital. Here it is: “Run your business like a cause, and run your cause like a business”. I love the traditional definition of the golden rule “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You”, but having spent 28 years as the CEO or GM of a private sector company, or a not-for-profit, I believe my golden rule truly “RULES”. This is why it’s so valuable to have people with private sector experience working in the not-for-profit world and conversely, having people in the private sector with not-for-profit experience. The best of both worlds awaits those who understand this new golden rule of Passion Capital.
All of us ask for things on a daily basis. We ask for a job, a date, a donation, a raise, a helping hand. We ask for things all the time. The biggest challenge to many people is in the mere act of asking. In my first job at Colgate-Palmolive in 1978, my district manager gave me this piece of advice: “Be prepared and then just ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” It seems simple but so many people spend so much time being stressed out about “the ask” that they fail to deliver. Some things are easy to ask for and some things are complicated and emotional. Having done your preparation and also carrying “passion” for your ask are two simple steps to take, and then just ask. In my job at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, we spend the whole day either planning to make an ask or making asks from people who want to support our cause To Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. Often the most difficult step is just asking. We are afraid of rejection or getting a ‘no’, but nothing ever happens without someone asking. Over the past 14 years, the PMCF has raised over $1.2 billion in net fundraising, one donor at a time, one ask at a time. It takes courage to ask and passion for your cause. Then it’s easy. So, don’t be afraid, just ask!