Throwing rocks at cancer

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Curl for the Cure was more than just a bonspiel for cancer patients, survivors, and their supporters on Sunday.

Event organizer Carol-Ann Rattray, who was diagnosed in 2011 with metastatic breast cancer, stood teary-eyed as she thanked 22 teams, most clad in pink, at the Cornwall Curling Centre.

Their efforts helped raise roughly $15,000 in support of the Ottawa General Hospital’s ACA Ottawa Breast Cancer Research Team: Dr. Christina Addison, scientist, Dr. Mark Clemons, (Rattray’s) oncologist, and Angel Arnaout, breast cancer surgeon.

“That’s what today is about – raising money to help local research,” said Rattray.

“We’ve been blessed with wonderful doctors and I truly appreciate everything that they’ve done. And all that you have done for me.”

Seaway News first spoke to the fiesty Cornwallite in mid-February to help promote the bonspiel. (Read more here.)

“I feel really good right now,” said Rattray. “I start my new chemo this week on Wednesday.”

Addison attended the event to lend her support and inform all the participants how the proceeds will benefit the work she does.

“I think sometimes people don’t actually understand research,” said Addison.

One problem her team faces is that every study has to be funded by research grants, which follow a competitive application process. In stark contrast, she likened finding funding for research to pitching for a business investment, having to convince agencies that a particular idea has a solid chance of helping someone.

“We have to write and win to get the money to do the work we want to do,” she said.

Events like this help the research team gather critical beginning pieces of evidence so that they can successfully apply to bigger organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation or Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

“So what you’re doing, even if you think it might be small it’s not at all, it’s huge and will have a great impact on our program,” said Addison.

She noted that over the last six years, problems with the economy and government funding have seen the success rate drop dramatically.

“This means 85 per cent of really good ideas that could turn into cures are not being pursued only because of funding restrictions,” said Addison.

Curl for the Cure included a silent auction and an array of prizes, including an autographed curling jersey from the Jennifer Jones rink, among others.

Scotiabank Cornwall also supported this event by matching funds to the tune of $5,000.

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