Tour de Bleu, a 160-kilometre private cycling event hosted by the Peter Gilgan Foundation and Mattamy Homes, has raised $3.25 million for Women’s College Hospital (WCH), Canada’s only fully ambulatory hospital devoted to revolutionizing health for women. This includes $3 million for groundbreaking research into hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and $250,000 to advance the work of WCH’s Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV).
This investment not only marks the single-largest gift ever made by a group of private donors to advance WCH’s global leadership in the prevention, screening and treatment of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but the largest amount ever raised through this event for a charitable organization since its launch in 2005.
“On behalf of all Tour de Bleu riders, sponsors and donors, we are extremely proud to support the incredible work being done at Women’s College Hospital in the area of inherited breast and ovarian cancer research,” says Peter Gilgan, president & CEO of Mattamy Homes and founder of the Peter Gilgan Foundation. “Giving back to communities and doing what we can to help families live well and without the spectre of cancer is something we are very passionate about. Breast cancer is the most common cancer faced by Canadian women today, and ovarian cancer is the most serious. If, through our support, we can help Women’s College Hospital’s leading scientists stop these cancers before they can begin, then we’ll be ensuring that generations of families will have their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters in their lives so much longer. That is what moves and inspires us.”
Peter Gilgan founded Tour de Bleu in 2005 as a way to rally his network in support of impactful causes through a shared passion – cycling. This year, the event’s 55 cyclists rode for over 160 kilometres on Sunday, Aug. 7, completing their journey by crossing the finish line together in front of WCH’s state-of-the-art new facility in downtown Toronto.
“Seeing this team of riders all cross the finish line together was a powerful statement of solidarity and support,” says Katherine Hay, president & CEO of Women’s College Hospital Foundation. “Together, with one impactful image, these riders reinforced their commitment that no woman will be left behind when it comes to inherited breast and ovarian cancer. We are so grateful for the Gilgan family and the passion, support and generosity they have rallied, and for each and every rider, donor and sponsor who put their heart and soul into the success of this event. We truly can’t thank them enough.”
$3 million raised through Tour de Bleu 2016 will support the work of the hereditary cancer research group at Women’s College Research Institute, one of only a few hospital-based research institutes in the world solely focused on advancing health for women. This group, led by Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Dr. Steven Narod, is a world leader in the study of genetic mutations that are known to dramatically increase a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer – most notably the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which were co-discovered by Dr. Narod. The new funds raised by Tour de Bleu will be directed toward advancing genetic research, expanding access to genetic screening and supporting the development of new treatment options to eliminate the risk of inherited cancer.
The additional $250,000 will support key projects of WIHV, a hub of innovation that’s tackling the most complex, challenging healthcare issues of our time. WCH is the only hospital in Canada with a mandate to develop, test and implement new models of care and then scale those innovations beyond the hospital walls, transforming health systems across Ontario and beyond.