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Canada’s top breast cancer charities merge to expand, enhance leadership

Published On 3/23/2016


Willow and CBCF synergize resources for cohesion and continuity

TORONTO -- Canada’s foremost breast cancer charities – the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support (Willow) – are uniting to provide comprehensive leadership to the breast cancer cause, the two organizations announced today.
The merger will see Willow’s information programs and peer support services continue and ultimately expand under the CBCF brand.
“This formal merging of two committed and compassionate organizations plays to both our strengths,” said CBCF CEO Lynne Hudson. “Our track record as the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research, combined with Willow’s expertise and programs to support people experiencing breast cancer, means we can now provide leadership to the breast cancer cause across the full spectrum of needs for all Canadians.”
“CBCF and Willow have been long time partners and successful collaborators on many fronts,” said Karen Malone, Executive Director of Willow, who will join CBCF as Vice President, Research and Programs. ” This union will allow for expanded delivery of unbiased information and timely access to vital support services for all individuals affected by breast cancer.
“Merging CBCF and Willow brings together the strengths of two organizations- an enhancement that will be welcomed by people experiencing breast cancer,” said Dr. Ruth Heisey of Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, a leading breast cancer clinician who has worked with both organizations. “The new, combined organization will touch on the full spectrum of breast cancer – from the laboratory and clinic where the latest innovations are developed, to direct patient support. This comprehensive leadership will be powerful for not just the 25,000 Canadian women who are diagnosed every year with this disease, but for the families and friends who love and support them. ”
Since 1994, Willow has been providing free of cost peer support and information to people affected by breast cancer. Since 2000, women in 500 communities have been trained by Willow to serve as breast cancer support group facilitators. The organization maintains community-based peer support groups across Canada. Willow’s publications are downloaded 80,000 times annually and the organization provides a national toll free helpline that can be translated in over 150 languages.
Since being founded in 1986, CBCF has contributed approximately $340 million to the breast cancer cause, including over 700 scientific grants. Since the mid 1980’s, mortality rates for breast cancer have decreased by 44% and survival rates have climbed to 88%, and CBCF is proud to be part of that success. Still, one in nine Canadian women will experience breast cancer in her lifetime and much remains to be done.
This year on Sunday, October 2, CBCF will mark the 20th year of its partnership with CIBC at the annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, which hosts events in more than 60 communities from coast to coast. Last year alone, CBCF contributed $25 million towards cause-related work, including breast cancer research grants, fellowships and community health grants, and health promotion and education programs.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Nicole Curling, Senior Manager, Communications 

T 416.263.7940 x 274   C 647.468.1949