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Paper doves hung in the main atrium of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.(Photo: The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation)
On Dec.11, a large crowd gathered in the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre main atrium. The space was filled wall-to-wall for a very special reason: the 13th annual Doves of Hope ceremony.
Every year, the high atrium walls of Princess Margaret are decorated with strings of paper doves dedicated to loved ones touched by cancer, all hung individually by cancer centre volunteers.
Attendees described the ceremony as a "moving and important" occasion.
In this year's Dove campaign, the Coules family shared their story about their son Adam who lost his battle to brain cancer at age 28. David Coules, his father, shared a few words at the ceremony.
"We know that every dollar raised is critical to uncovering the next piece of the puzzle for patients and families treated and cared for at Princess Margaret," said Coules. "We continue to hear about the development of new precise and effective treatments that effect cancers in ways that, even five years ago, were only in the realm of possibility."
"We are also reminded of the monumental effort required to conquer cancer in our lifetime. And it calls each of us to be actively engaged," he continued. "Your support of the Dove campaign provides us both a spiritual and visual reminder that every dollar raised in support of Princess Margaret provides hope, and that each dove has a story to be shared."
Laura Syron, Vice-President of Community Programs at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, announced that over 8,500 Doves were sent in support this year.
"As you look at each of them, remember each one of these 8,500 Doves represent one person and their unique journey. It also represents the person who's supporting them and who sent it in. So the whole magnificent display is a symbol to our patients that they're not alone, and that our whole community is thinking of them."
Due to the power of their visual effect, paper doves are still the common method of support for the campaign. Data shows online doves have been increasingly popular, reflecting the growing significance of online fundraising methods.
"The doves are a visual reminder to the patients of the support given to them and their families at this time of year. The doves remind us that we can all offer comfort, hope, and we can all make a difference in our fight to conquer cancer in our lifetime," said Syron.
You can create an online Dove tribute page. To create a Dove page or give a Dove donation, please visit www.dovesofhope.ca.