Toronto (Nov. 19, 2007) - Belinda Stronach today announced she has raised more than one-half of the funds needed to create The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery at the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation and committed to raising an additional $1 million to complete the funding for the Chair.

Dr. Marla Shapiro, author of Life in the Balance – My Journey with Breast Cancer, family physician and medical journalist, was instrumental in involving Ms. Stronach with the efforts to establish the Chair at University Health Network and the University of Toronto.

Ms. Stronach, whose personal experience with breast cancer began in the spring of 2007, feels that her commitment to the Chair will raise awareness about breast cancer reconstruction and address a gap in the care of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I want more women to be aware that this surgery is available to them and I also wanted to give the program at Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto the resources to expand so that more surgeons may be trained in the techniques necessary for successful breast cancer reconstruction," said Ms. Stronach.

Dr. Marla Shapiro is a major advocate and has been instrumental in the creation of the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery.

"This Chair will enable the development of patient education programs and clinical research to improve outcomes for women seeking reconstruction," said Dr. Shapiro. "It will also support the training of surgeons with special focus on the techniques and procedures of breast reconstruction so that we'll have more experts with an interest in carrying out the surgery across the country."

A Chair is supported with endowed funds, which assures a steady stream of revenue to support a variety of activities. It is an academic appointment and is held by an established or emerging leader in a particular field who normally holds the rank of professor or associate professor at the University of Toronto. Stronach's fundraising to date, and her commitment to raise an additional $1 million, will help to retain and recruit the brightest stars, advance research and improve the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

"This is a top surgical priority for University Health Network and will be the cornerstone for the development of a comprehensive program for breast cancer reconstructive surgery," said Dr. Robert Bell, president and CEO of UHN. "This donation will help us to recruit and train more surgeons to perform reconstructive surgeries so we can reduce wait times and be able to offer this option to more women, at our hospital and at hospitals across the country. At present, it is estimated that only 10 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer discuss the option of breast reconstruction with their health care team. The Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery will help raise awareness and make the treatment available to more women for whom it is an important part of their treatment."

To make a donation to the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery, please visit belindastronachchair.ca.

About The Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital as well as for their respective research arms, Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute. The Foundation's vision is to enable global leadership and innovation in health by developing and sustaining strong relationships with University Health Network stakeholders.

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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