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June 11, 2015

Festival of Divine Wine and Food Raises $250,000 for Cedars' Sarcoma Fund

Jackie Aziz Offers Moving Tribute to MUHC Sarcoma Team

More than 400 guests sampled fine wines from Tuscany while enjoying delicious and creatively-prepared Italian foods by Franca Mazza. This event was held in the atrium of the newly-opened McGill University Research Centre on Thursday, June 4. This third annual festival raised more than $ 250,000 –almost tripling the combined total for the previous two events - for the Cedars Sarcoma Fund under the leadership of Dr. Robert Turcotte, medical director of the MUHC’s sarcoma program.

“The event was a success due to our collaboration with Cedars, the SAQ and C3 Events,” explained Lynn Aziz, co-chair of the event with her husband Randy. “This teamwork, combined with the dedication and generosity of every sponsor, donor, guest, and volunteer, helped to raise important funds and awareness for Sarcoma. This was the first fundraiser at the Glen, and the setting reminded all of us of the important role that Cedars plays in terms of cancer care, teaching and research. We are so pleased with the outcome and are extremely grateful to everyone for their support.”

Sarcomas are types of malignant tumors that occur in bone and soft-tissues affecting both children and adults. The MUHC is the only supraregional sarcoma treatment facility designated by the Quebec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer and offers the latest treatments to sarcoma patients thanks to the expertise of its staff. Furthermore, this fall, the MUHC is hiring the first Quebec basic scientist in sarcoma.
 “The most rewarding part is knowing that each dollar raised is directed towards research and the acquisition of laboratory equipment,” added Randy Aziz. “Dr Turcotte is a dedicated and caring physician, who, along with his colleagues, has made a major difference in the lives of so many people. For this, we are very grateful.”

Jackie Aziz, Lynn and Randy’s daughter, described the outstanding care she has received from the MUHC multi-disciplinary team since she was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in 2013. She stated, “I couldn’t have asked for better care than what I got from Dr. Turcotte and his team. Having gone through this as an 18 year old, there’s this sort of grey area between feeling like an adult or a kid. You’re dealing with something so grown up, yet you’re not sure if you’re ready to make these important decisions for yourself. My care givers were always sympathetic and understanding of my young age and made me feel really comfortable with my choices.”

“I am also grateful,” she continued, “to my friends and family for all the support they have given me along the way.”
As part of their ongoing research, Dr. Carolyn Freeman and Dr. Turcotte are undertaking a new study looking at the biology of a sarcoma tumour and its response to radiotherapy. The goal is to better understand its reaction to radiotherapy so that treatments may be improved upon to better control these tumours.

 “We are fortunate here at the MUHC to have the expertise on staff to offer the best possible treatment to those suffering from this rare form of cancer,” said Dr. Turcotte. “We are able to maintain and enhance this expertise through continued research and education, which is made possible by fundraisers such as this one.”

“I particularly wish to thanks Francois Angers and his family, Joanne Rossy and Leonard and Olga Assaly for their generosity. And, of course, we are indebted to the Aziz family for their leadership and hard work.” 

To donate to the Cedars Sarcoma Fund, please click here

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