your story matters

In 2022, we connected with Canadians from coast to coast who have been impacted by the world’s toughest cancer.

We heard from Arax Copeman who was compelled to become a Peer Support volunteer after her mother, Lucy, died from pancreatic cancer.

We learned from Catherine McBride about the challenges facing families of firefighters diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

We heard from passionate donors like Theo Smit and Carole Gruson who have turned personal tragedy into empowerment.

Each story we hear is a reminder of why we are here.

In 2022, approximately 6,900 Canadians were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For each of those 6,900 people, their lives and the lives of their loved ones were forever changed. Their stories are what drive us forward.

Pancreatic cancer has taken far too many lives, far too quickly. That’s why we are committed to raising the survival rate through investments in bold, innovative research projects, and through increased awareness of the disease.

We are also dedicated to ensuring patients and their families have access to the specialized care and support they need at every stage of their journey.

We are tremendously grateful to our staff, Board of Directors, researchers, volunteers and donors who shared their stories and joined us in these efforts in 2022.

Thank you,





What we fund

2022 marked a turning point for Pancreatic Cancer Canada’s mission-based work. As the world “got back to normal” after the pandemic, we refined our focus on funding projects and programs that will have the biggest impact for people facing a pancreatic cancer diagnosis today, while also continuing our bold approach to funding cutting-edge research to make a long-term impact against the disease.

We take our responsibility to our donors very seriously. You trust us to make the best decisions possible with the money you contribute. With that in mind, in 2022, we invested in research, increased awareness of the disease among the public and healthcare professionals, and programs to ensure patients and their families have access to the support they need at every stage.



Staying at the forefront of new and novel approaches to treatments and improved patient outcomes is how we ensure every research dollar spent gets us closer to the next breakthrough for this disease. We completed our funding commitments to three long-term and highly impactful research projects and began a new funding agreement with a unique genome sequencing project that could have a real impact on how pancreatic cancer is detected and treated in the future.



Our awareness and support programs continued to evolve to focus on what we can do to make the biggest impact for our community, given the urgency of pancreatic cancer. In 2022, we balanced our investments into vital support programs like Peer Support and Ask an Expert with our advocacy work on issues like end-of-life care and risk factors for firefighters, and our awareness campaigns about early detection and palliative care.

Your Support Matters

Our dedicated donors don’t just fuel our mission with their generous contributions, they also passionately participate in our efforts to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and advocate for patients and their families. Year after year, they show up with, and for, us.  Together, we have come through a time of global struggle stronger and more committed than ever to catapulting pancreatic cancer progress forward.

Building a legacy in memory of a beloved husband
Ten years of cycling for pancreatic cancer survival
Pancreatic cancer survivor becomes passionate fundraiser
A gourmet evening in celebration of the memory of a loved one


While our funding commitments to three research studies concluded in 2022, the critical work of those studies is ongoing, and the impact will be felt for years.  All of these studies are investigating pancreatic cancer from perspectives never evaluated before and the results are already leading to better outcomes for patients.  Pancreatic cancer is a personal disease – right down to the molecular level, so our investments have focused deeply on personalized medicine for future treatment of this disease.

Support and Services

2022 was the start of an evolution in how we prioritize the support and resources we provide to our community.  Acknowledging where patients and families are in their cancer experience and then showing up in those places, is our priority.  Whether we are connecting people with peers to share their experiences or counselors to help navigate the emotional and psychological toll of this cancer, or helping answer questions about treatments, second opinions and quality of life – we are there. 

A pancreatic cancer diagnosis can bring overwhelming emotions and stress, often leading to feelings of isolation and uncertainty. It can be helpful to have someone to talk to – someone who has personally experienced what you’re going through – whether you’re a patient, caregiver or loved one of someone facing this disease.

Since 2018, Pancreatic Cancer Canada has partnered with Wellspring to deliver a specialized program of support for pancreatic cancer patients and their families that helps address the unique impact of this cancer.

After caring for her mother during her pancreatic cancer journey, Arax Copeman became a volunteer with the Peer Support program to help fellow caregivers and patients in need.

Doing this work and seeing what my mom went through, the biggest transition for me was just to learn how to listen. It’s made me a better learner, a better observer,” Arax explained. “There’s always something bigger than you.

It is only through the support of donors like the CIBC Foundation who donated $35,000 to the Peer Support Program that we can provide essential support programs for people impacted by pancreatic cancer.

While firefighters fight for our lives, we advocate for their health because they face an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Leslie McBride first experienced symptoms of pancreatic cancer in May 2018. As Captain of the Ottawa Fire Department, physical exhaustion was not an unheard-of side effect of the job. Leslie’s symptoms became more prevalent but were overlooked by doctors until an emergency room visit for a suspected gallbladder attack led to his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in February 2019. Leslie passed away on October 15, 2020. 

While certain cancers are provincially acknowledged as being an elevated risk for firefighters, Ontario has not yet joined British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, and Yukon in adding pancreatic cancer to that list. That means families like Leslie’s are not entitled to family benefits when a firefighter develops the disease as a result of their service.  

We know there has to be some connection between pancreatic cancer and firefighting,” said Catherine McBride, Leslie’s wife. Unfortunately, determining this link has been increasingly difficult given the lack of reporting that occurs on the job. She hopes that by sharing Leslie’s story, firefighters and their families will recognize the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, receive the appropriate support, and ultimately survive this disease. 

“We couldn’t help Leslie. But maybe by talking about what happened to Les, we can help others.” 

PCC stands alongside the McBride family, and all firefighters across Canada, as we advocate for the health and wellbeing of first responders. Not only are we raising awareness about this devastating work-related health risk and educating individuals about the signs and symptoms, but we are also actively working to ensure support and resources are available in the event of a diagnosis. 

UPDATE – On March 3, 2023, the Ontario government announced that they have expanded cancer coverage for firefighters to include pancreatic cancer.

Awareness and outreach

In 2022, we increased our efforts to lead the national conversation about pancreatic cancer by raising awareness of the realities of this disease, featuring the stories of patients, survivors, and caregivers. We worked with healthcare professionals to better understand where we could facilitate greater support and understanding for our patients and their families, and with allied organizations to keep critical issues facing healthcare in our country at the forefront of government decision making.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

On World Pancreatic Cancer Day, and throughout the month of November, the world comes together to collectively raise awareness, stand together in hope and remembrance, and raise a united voice to demand better for those affected by this disease.

This year, we invited Canadians to join us in demanding Survival Not Sympathy for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Our rallying cry was heard by a community of patients, caregivers, loved ones, donors, medical professionals, and partner organizations from coast to coast.

As landmarks were illuminated purple across 19 Canadian cities, individuals stepped up to drive change within their own communities. We heard from Juliana Doxey who lost her mother to this devastating disease and created a fundraising event to serve as both a memorial and an urgent call to action. Survivors like Dean Befus also came forward to educate others on the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer. So many efforts were made throughout our country, all with the shared goal of saving more lives.

Cancer Action Now Alliance

It should come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic left a landslide of issues in its wake throughout the Canadian healthcare system. The widespread disruptions to cancer screening, treatment, and surgeries meant patients were left to navigate a broken landscape. For those faced with pancreatic cancer, the circumstances become even more dire as the longer that symptoms are left untreated or undiagnosed, the more lethal the outcome.

A problem of this magnitude can only be addressed with coordinated collective action. Throughout 2022, we collaborated with Cancer Action Now to put cancer care at the top of the political agenda. Through this alliance of stakeholders, we collaborated with Federal, provincial, and municipal leaders to address the inequities in cancer screening and treatment options.

Ahead of the 2022 Ontario provincial election, we participated in a targeted email campaign to provide recommendations for the next government, so they could prioritize cancer care in their platform. We also engaged in a Twitter Spaces event, ‘Council of the 21,247‘, which aligned with the Council of The Federation meeting in July to gain the attention of Premiers and demand they prioritize cancer care.

thank you

Your support matters – your stories matter.  All year, you shared what motivated you to stand with us and you showed up in ways we can never adequately thank you for. We are grateful to each and every donor who invests in our efforts to tackle the world’s toughest cancer. Following is a list of individual donors, corporate partners and charitable groups that contributed $2,500 or more in 2022.

Corporations & Foundations
  • 7 Days In May Foundation
  • AstraZeneca Canada
  • B.A. Himel Family Foundation
  • BBDO Canada
  • Belle-Pak Packaging Inc.
  • Bento Sushi
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co
  • CIBC
  • CIBC Foundation
  • CN Canadian Railway Company
  • Di Gusto Pizza and Pasta
  • DistributionNOW Canada
  • Enterprise Holdings Canada Foundation
  • Exxonmobil Canada
  • EY
  • Gluskin Sheff and Associates Inc.
  • Highwater Foundation
  • Hollyoak Family Foundation
  • Innovatives Medicines Canada
  • ITN Logistics Services Inc.
  • J.P. Bickell Foundation
  • Jay Hughes Memorial Foundation
  • Klemencic Homes Trenton
  • Modern Beauty Supplies Inc.
  • Randy Gillies Family Foundation
  • Re/Max Quinte John Barry Realty Ltd.
  • Ridley/Wicks Family Foundation
  • Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
  • Rose McQuarrie Legacy Fund
  • Sal Furino Family Foundation
  • Scandinavian Building Services Ltd.
  • Schulich Foundation
  • ScotiaMcLeod Charitable Foundation
  • Sheila Kirpalani Foundation
  • Smit-Vander Zaag Giving Fund
  • Snowfox Group
  • Steve and Janice Mayne Charitable Gift Fund
  • TELUS Foundation
  • Wildeboer Dellelce LLP
  • Annie Tam
  • Anonymous
  • Carmen P. Emery
  • Christine Skilton
  • Dale and Libby Zorgdrager
  • David Green
  • Donald K. Johnson, O.C.,L.L.D
  • Dorit Mevorach
  • Elizabeth and Randy Casson
  • Elizabeth Hunter-Irwin
  • Fabrizio Vatri
  • Gerry and Diane Throop
  • Hilen Wong
  • James Cornish
  • Jason Roberts
  • Jeff Goldman and Michelle Illiatovitch
  • Juliano Starnino
  • Kim Harle
  • Kirstie Elizabeth Laird Estate
  • Marc St-Onge
  • Naomi London
  • Norling Stevens
  • Paul Holden
  • Peter La Gamba
  • Richard Dri
  • Rick Sharma
  • Robert Agouri
  • Susan K Foster
  • Susan Ng
  • The Townley Family
  • Trevor Daly
  • Wilda Hay
Third Party Fundraisers
  • Ann Parker Ride for Pancreatic Cancer
  • Buck Cancer
  • Carole Gruson’s First Annual Golf Tournament
  • Evening with Dario Cecchini
  • For Lucy, With Love
  • Golf In Memory of Steven Milne
  • Lindsay Tam Memorial Golf
  • Living Sisu Hockey League
  • Marché Nocturne
  • Online Auction In Memory of Sylvia Drago
  • Purple Pansies Fundraiser
  • René Carignan Memorial Golf
  • Terry’s Scandi Walk

help us write a new story…

With your support, we can help more Canadians share their stories of survival.
316-4211 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2P 2A9
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