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Cancer charities team up for annual nationwide road hockey fundraiser

Through a precedent-setting agreement, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society have formed a partnership to raise money towards conquering cancer through the national expansion of Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Road hockey aficionados, rejoice.

The country's two largest cancer charities announced Friday they are teaming up to create an annual one-day road hockey fundraising event that will take place in cities and towns across Canada.

Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, the official name of the event, is a joint partnership between the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society.

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The decision by the two charities to join forces for the first time reflects the difficulties being faced by the not-for-profit industry and the increased need to make better use of limited resources, said Paul Alofs, president and chief executive officer of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

Many charities have had to react to increasingly tough times in recent years as the economic downturn took a major bite out of donations.

"This is a historic collaboration. It will provide resources and help us reduce costs," Mr. Alofs said. "Some friendly competition is a good thing, but there just needs to be more collaboration in the not-for-profit community."

Under the new event, participating teams will solicit donations online in order to participate in a one-day "dawn-to-dusk" road hockey event.

He said the charities want to borrow from the vision and success of the Terry Fox Foundation, which holds annual runs across the country to race money for cancer research.

Some of the money that is raised will go toward funding personalized medicine at Princess Margaret Hospital. A growing trend in health care, personalized medicine focuses on delivering treatment and care that is customized to an individual's needs. In cancer, for instance, this could mean analyzing gene expression in a patient's tumour in order to identify the specific treatment that could be most effective.

Mr. Alofs said personalized medicine is "a vision most of the world's top cancer centres have," but that at Princess Margaret, "we're a long way toward delivering this."

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The first Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer event will take place Oct. 1 in Toronto and, with more than 250 teams signed up, it has already been billed as the largest fundraising tournament of its kind in the world.

Expansion of the event will begin in 2012.

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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