2015 Tour de Bleu Raises $2.7 million for Sunnybrook Hospital

Prostate cancer patients at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will have access to a 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine that will detect smaller tumours sooner, thanks to approximately 50 Tour de Bleu cyclists who biked from Muskoka to Sunnybrook yesterday.

The Tour de Bleu – a weekend-long cycling and social event that concludes with a ride from cottage country to Toronto – raised money toward Sunnybrook’s purchase of a 3T MRI.

“By pinpointing hard-to-detect prostate tumours and guiding biopsies with extreme precision, this equipment will have a tremendous impact on patients,” says Peter Gilgan, the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, who created the Tour de Bleu in 2005 to combine his love of cycling and his commitment to supporting community initiatives.

“We wanted to ensure Sunnybrook could acquire the most advanced 3T MRI, so we decided to ride for the hospital again this year,” Mr. Gilgan adds.

Over the last two years, the Tour de Bleu, the Peter Gilgan Foundation and Mattamy Homes have donated $4.5 million toward Sunnybrook’s purchase of the 3T MRI.

“This investment will allow our prostate cancer team, which is renowned for its collaborative care and cutting-edge research, to better detect and treat a cancer that will affect one in eight Canadian men,” says Dr. Calvin Law, chief of Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Program, which is one of North America’s largest and most innovative cancer programs.

The 3T MRI will be crucial to the diagnostic, treatment and research activities of Sunnybrook’s prostate centre. This new centre, which will be constructed with the financial support of donors, is expected to become Canada’s foremost centre for the treatment of prostate cancer and other urological conditions.

The prostate centre’s multidisciplinary team will invent the future of prostate cancer care by leading groundbreaking research, by improving and creating new diagnostic methods, and by delivering precise, image-guided treatments that maximize effectiveness while minimizing side-effects. Full details on the centre will be released in the coming months when Sunnybrook formally launches its fundraising drive.

Dr. Jon Dellandrea, president and CEO of Sunnybrook Foundation, emphasizes the critical role donors play in supporting the hospital’s life-saving care.

“It is thanks to the generosity of Tour de Bleu riders, the Peter Gilgan Foundation and Mattamy Homes that Sunnybrook will be able to acquire this state-of-the-art imaging technology and provide patients with the answers they so desperately seek,” Dr. Dellandrea says.

Sunnybrook is an international leader in developing MRI techniques for the detection of prostate cancer. By incorporating MRI into prostate biopsies, our experts are able to take as few as two tissue samples – compared to the 12 taken during conventional biopsies – to diagnose potential tumours. This is both more comfortable for patients and decreases the risk of infection. Our scientists aim to reduce the use of biopsies altogether by developing MRI to the point that it, alone, can determine whether treatment is needed.

Now in its 11th year, the Tour de Bleu has raised more than $9 million for a wide range of health-care institutions in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as for the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton.

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