A donation for hope

Latest in the Dalhousie Difference series

- April 2, 2012

Photo by Lidor, used under Creative Commons license from Flickr.
Photo by Lidor, used under Creative Commons license from Flickr.

Mary (Sue) Saunders-Matthey, originally from West LaHave, Nova Scotia, passed away from breast cancer. Her stepdaughter died from the same disease.

Sadly, their story is not unique. But the generosity that's come from their memory is truly something special.

In 1996, in memory of his wife and daughter, Ray Matthey, who would himself pass away from cancer, established today’s Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Foundation, which is focused on cancer research, education and prevention. An emphasis is also placed on how environmental factors may be contributing to cancer.

“My sister [Mary] was a school teacher and education was very important to her,” says Marina Skerrett, a founding board member. “When she was dying she talked to her oncologist about her idea for a foundation, and he felt that money was very much needed for research and prevention and the whole gamut.”

The Foundation has generously committed a minimum of $50,000 over a two-year period to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute at Dalhousie Medical School. In June last year, they provided the first payment in the amount of $30,000.

“We just felt that it was a proper place to go and that they are doing extremely good work,” Ms. Skerrett says. “We are hoping that our donation can help in that.”

It certainly will. Dr. Jonathan Blay is scientific director of the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, which itself was made possible through a bequest to Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation.

Dr. Blay expressed appreciation to the Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Foundation on behalf of researchers eager to do studies in cancer prevention and on behalf of the public, who will ultimately benefit when an impact is made on the disease. He says the foundation’s support will help increase the momentum of work in cancer prevention.

According to Dr. Blay, the environment in the cancer research community is one of excitement and optimism. “The work that’s being done in the Atlantic region matches anything that’s being done anywhere else in the world.”   

Mary Saunders-Matthey would be proud.

This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, exploring what the power of philantrophy means to the university and introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. Learn more at boldambitions.dal.ca.


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