​​​​Bob Bell
From left to right: Dr. Bob Bell, Dr. Charles Catton, Dr. Brian O'Sullivan and Dr. Ian Quirt at the old Princess Margaret Hospital on Sherbourne Street. This was the original "Sarcoma Team." Bob started seeing patients in the Sarcoma Clinic in January 1986…He is leaving UHN at the end of May this year. (Photo: Krista Sereno, taken in 1989)

1) His roots

Dr. Robert S. Bell was born and raised in the South of Wales until the age of four. His father, an insurance broker, had a choice to either move to Canada or Zimbabwe. He chose Canada and immigrated with the family to Don Mills in 1956.

2) Call him "Elvis"

Bob has four grandchildren: Giacomo, Matteo, Zoey and Nina ("Bean" is still cooking but will bring the total to five.) His oldest grandchild, Giacomo, calls Bob "Elvis" because they play "Fireman Sam" together. In this cartoon, Elvis is Sam's sidekick.

3)  Cottage life

Bob and his wife Diann have a cottage on Georgian Bay. He likes to spend the winter skiing, and the summer gardening and kayaking on the lake.

4) His hero: Terry Fox

Bob's hero is Terry Fox – an iconic Canadian who suffered from osteogenic sarcoma​. Terry's example inspired Bob to pursue a career in orthopedic oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. They also have the same birthday (July 28) in common!​

5) Intimidated by...

 Even after 24 years at UHN there are a few people Bob still finds intimidating – including  Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, who Bob refers to as "the world's best cancer doctor."

6) Catch him if you can

Bob has run five marathons in his life, his best time being 3 hours and 12 minutes.

7) First sarcoma programs

In the 1980's there weren't any dedicated sarcoma programs in Canada. Bob and Dr. Brian O'Sullivan were determined to change the grim prognosis for sarcoma patients, and set across the province speaking to surgeons, referring physicians and government agencies to highlight the importance of creating such programs. There are now seven sarcoma programs across Canada, six of which are run by staff trained at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

8) VP Princess Margaret   

When Bob became VP at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in 2000, he recalls a head nurse saying, "How the hell you think you can replace Michael Baker is beyond me." At the time Bob considered quitting immediately but credits the comment for giving him thick skin on the first day of his new leadership role.

9) CEO on front lines   

Up until his last day on May 23, 2014, Bob continues to treat patients at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's Sarcoma Clinic.

10)  Football injury leads to med school

Bob played football for four years at McGill University until an injury put an end to his athletic career. He was planning to become a chemist or physicist but became interested in bones after he banged up his knee.

Share This Story

Share Tweet Email