Chair's Message

October 24, 2020

To our Community,

We hope this message finds you and your families safe and healthy as we enter the second wave of the pandemic. Together, we are all learning how best to navigate the evolving circumstances relating to COVID-19. Brain Matters Brain Cancer Charity is no exception.

Brain Cancer Awareness Day

Today is Brain Cancer Awareness Day, a day to advocate and educate Canadians about the urgent need for brain cancer research. Malignant primary brain tumours such as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) are the most aggressive type of brain cancer, with an average life expectancy of 15-18 months.

This is a critical time for brain cancer support. While the world may have slowed down, brain cancer has not. This malevolent cancer is insidious and yet, it remains one of the most underfunded types of cancer.

Brain Cancer is Underfunded

In 2017-2018 The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, invested $182 million in cancer research, of which $5.4 million specifically supported research on cancers affecting the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. This represents only 3%.

Perhaps lack of funding is one of the reasons that explains why the last breakthrough in brain cancer was in 2005, which saw the introduction of the chemotherapy drug temozolomide.

All Hope is Not Lost

Despite being one of the most underfunded types of cancers, we are fortunate to have brilliant doctors like Dr. Michael Cusimano (St. Michael’s Hospital) and Dr. James Perry (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) who have committed their life’s work to advancing treatments and finding ways to improve prognosis.

In recent years for example, scientists have sounded some notes of optimism with developments in gene therapy, highly focused radiation therapy, immunotherapy, MRI-guided focused ultrasound (FUS), and mechanical robots improving surgical outcomes.

Your donations have helped make this progress possible.

Your Impact

Thanks to donor support, our charity has been instrumental in facilitating the latest innovations in neurosurgical care and promising treatments. Your impact is helping change the landscape for people diagnosed with brain cancer. With continued support we can pioneer what could be the next breakthrough in curing and/or managing this disease.

During this unusual time, like many charities, we have had to rethink how to pivot from our regular fundraising events so that we can ensure our donor recipients continue to receive much needed funds to continue to advance brain cancer research, technology and treatments. With the onset and unpredictability of COVID-19, our team has identified alternate donation streams. We have a lot of exciting work in the pipeline, but for now we wanted to tell you about our online store as well as future website plans.

Online Store

I am happy to announce the official launch of our online store. The first item available for purchase is our limited edition artwork BASECAMP, which was photographed by our Board Member, Carlos Pimentel. On February 22, 2018, Carlos climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in honour of his late brother’s life and memory. Inspired by his brother’s courageous and fearless life, Carlos’ difficult and arduous trek to reach the summit required physical, mental and spiritual strength. Carlos’ climb is dedicated to everyone that has been affected by brain cancer. 100% of all proceeds from Basecamp will be directed to groundbreaking brain cancer treatment and technology that will change the landscape for people diagnosed with brain cancer.

New Year, New Site

We are working on a new site, scheduled to be completed in Spring 2021. The improved site will include additional features such as different ways to donate, how to get involved, your impact, your voice, financial reporting as well as added items to our store. In the meantime, please visit our site for updated content such as how your 2019 donations made an impact in brain cancer treatment and technology.

Thank You

At this time, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support and understanding. We continue to be guided by our charity’s vision and commitment to filling the gap between breakthrough technology and treatments, with the hope that brain cancer patients will one day soon have a more optimistic prognosis.

With the generous support of our donors, sponsors, members, ambassadors, volunteers and recipient donors, a future without brain cancer remains possible, even amidst a pandemic.

Be safe and stay well, and if you can, please donate.


Sincerely,
Angela Scalisi-Polizos
Chair

Commitment

Despite decades of research, brain cancer remains the deadliest of all forms of cancer. Brain cancer is currently the second most common cause of cancer deaths among older adolescents and young adults aged 15–29 years. Most adults with a diagnosis of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) survive on average 15-18 months after their diagnosis. Despite this ghastly prognosis, brain cancer remains one of the most underfunded types of cancers. It’s no coincidence why prognoses remain poor.

Our commitment is to fill the gap between breakthrough technology and treatments, allowing brain cancer survivors to have a more optimistic prognosis. Our priority at Brain Matters Brain Cancer Charity is to ensure that resources will be available to aid in the sustainability of our donor recipients and their programs.

Fundraising Goals

Last year we donated $240,000K to two of Canada’s top hospitals, pioneering what could be the next breakthrough in curing and/or managing brain cancer. This year, with your support, our goals remain optimistic, despite the pandemic. Proceeds will help us continue the fight against brain cancer with groundbreaking advances, potentially changing the way brain cancer patients are treated in the future. This year we will continue to fund projects in technology as well as the development of promising new treatments for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).

2019 Donor Impact

Every day approximately 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour. For many types of brain cancer, there's still no cure. We are here to change that.

St. Michael’s Hospital, $120,000

Our $120,000 donation to St. Michael’s Division of Neurosurgery went towards the purchase of a STEALTH AUTOGUIDE CRANIAL ROBOTIC GUIDANCE PLATFORM. This technology represents the latest innovations in neurosurgical care. The Stealth Autoguide Cranial Robotic Guidance Platform enables St. Michael’s surgical teams to more accurately determine the location of deep-seated lesions like gliomas. By offering continuous, real-time visualization, feedback, and robotically-assisted movement, it is designed for improved accuracy, positioning, and placement during brain tumour procedures. The precise mechanical robot minimizes movement and increases stability during drilling, and enhances the accuracy of incision placement.

“The entire neurosurgical team is grateful to Brain Matters Brain Cancer Charity for providing this state-of-the-art cranial robotic operating platform. It will have an immediate and meaningful impact on providing world-class care for all Canadians who require access to this leading technology for brain tumour surgery,”

- Dr. Michael Cusimano, Neurosurgeon and Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Professor of Surgery, Education and Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, $120,000

With the support of Brain Matters Brain Cancer Charity, Dr. Perry and a team of Sunnybrook experts have been able to leverage MRI-guided focused ultrasound (FUS) to open the blood-brain barrier, a natural shield of tightly packed cells that prevents toxins and, by extension, potential therapeutics from entering the brain. Support from the Brain Matters Cancer Charity has already made an impact on Dr. Perry’s research, and continued support would allow his team to make more advances in this field. Sunnybrook is currently in the planning stages of a new trial targeting recurrent glioblastoma using low-intensity focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier and deliver a chemotherapy agent, following protocol from our earlier oncology trials. With donor support, we anticipate launching later this year.

“Generous support from the Brain Matters Brain Cancer Charity is enabling research with the power to transform care for patients with brain cancer and their loved ones. Your commitment makes a statement: you understand the urgency of innovative new approaches for patients and families who can’t afford to wait. On behalf of all those who stand to benefit from better treatments for brain cancer, thank you. Your support is inventing the future of health care.”

- Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Donors, do you know how your donations are being spent?

Have you ever wondered how charities spend your donation? It’s an important questions to ask, and one donors deserve an answer for.

Two very important questions you should ask yourself before donating to a cause are:

  1. Do you understand what the charity’s goals are?
  2. What percentage of your donation goes to the cause?

Brain Matters Brain Cancer charity is very proud to be one of the few charities in Canada that is 100% volunteer-based. Unlike many charities and foundations, you can rest assured every dollar donated is directed straight to the cause, with 100% of our net proceeds going to our donor recipients for brain cancer research.

Be a part of something that matters.

Why Brain Cancer Needs Your Support

1

Every day, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour.

2

Most adults with a diagnosis of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) survive on average 15-18 months after their diagnosis.

3

There are more than 120 different types of brain tumours.

4

The brain cancer community celebrated its last breakthrough in 2005 with the introduction of the chemotherapy drug temozolomide.

5

Malignant primary brain tumors remain incurable despite decades of laboratory and clinical investigation.

6

Brain tumours can have life-altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patient’s life.

7

Most drugs, including many chemotherapies, can’t enter the brain to target tumours due to the “blood-brain barrier”. This means researchers and doctors are still searching to find effective treatments.

8

Brain tumours can rarely be completely removed during surgery due to impact on other parts of the brain and microscopic cancer cells left behind.

Newsworthy

This doctor has a deadly cancer - the same one that killed his brother.

October 11th, 2020

After a little lapse in memory he experienced in the second week of February, Dr. Jim Swan instantly thought of his identical twin brother George, who had died of a brain tumour a few months earlier.

Read More

Brain Tumour Awareness Month 2020: Prof Antonio Di Ieva

May 21st, 2020

Professor Antonio Di Ieva predicts and hopes that brain cancer will be a manageable chronic disease “much like diabetes” by 2030, and patients will have a vastly improved quality of life.

Read More

New Hope for Hardest-to-Treat Brain Cancer

April 19th, 2019

Canadian researchers have identified genes in brain cancer stem cells that fuel the growth and survival of glioblastoma in hopes their data will be mined to develop treatments targeting an aggressive tumour that claimed the life of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.

Read More

Uncertainty Drives Innovation in Brain Tumours

August 15th, 2017

Dr. Adrienne Weeks discusses the life-altering effects of a malignant brain tumour, glioblastoma multiforme. She explains some of the research being done by her lab in hopes for a more promising future for brain tumour patients.

WATCH VIDEO

Gord Downie Describes Cancer's Impact

October 12th, 2016

Gord Downie describes the impact of brain cancer, including memory loss.

WATCH VIDEO

Who We Are

Proud to be volunteer-based, we direct 100% of our net proceeds to supporting brain cancer research. Together, our goal is to bring hope to patients and their families affected by brain cancer.

Board of Directors

Angela Scalisi

Angela Scalisi

Chair / angela@bmcharity.com

Finding a cure for brain cancer is a personal matter for Angela. Currently the owner of Brand Parlour, a graphic design and web studio based in Toronto, Angela brings experience in business marketing management, communications, and design to Brain Matters.

Carlos Pimentel

Carlos Pimentel

Director / carlos@bmcharity.com

Carlos joined Brain Matters after he lost his brother to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). He hopes to help bring hope to other families who are faced with this devastating disease and ultimately help find a cure. Carlos works for Local 27 Carpenters Union.

Bruno Consulo

Bruno Cunsolo

Director / bruno@bmcharity.com

Bruno joined Brain Matters to help change the perception around brain cancer and raise funds for breakthrough research. With over 15 years of experience in the banking, Bruno helps with Brain Matter’s finances and strategic planning.

Ronald Davidzon

Ronald Davidzon

Director / ronald@bmcharity.com

Ronald’s life was irreversibly changed at a young age when he lost his mother to cancer. He became involved in Brain Matters because he appreciates that 100% of the charity’s proceeds go directly to supporting brain cancer research. Ronald is a lawyer at Davidzon Law.

Ambassadors

Catherine Fels-Smith

Catherine Fels-Smith

Ambassador
Anthony Georgi

Anthony Georgi

Ambassador
Dan Patel

Dan Patel

Ambassador
Dan Kochanowski

Dan Kochanowski

Ambassador

Connect

Do you want to get involved, donate, or ask a question? We’d love to hear from you.