Celebrating Philanthropy: Highlights from our 2024 Celebration Breakfast

Photos of the Celebration Breakfast.

On June 19, we hosted our annual Celebration Breakfast to celebrate donors' incredible impact on health care through the QEII Health Sciences Centre. More than 170 guests gathered to recognize the power of philanthropy and the opportunities it creates for patients and families in our region and beyond. 

Shared Connections

Three men talking.
Pictured: Guests enjoyed an opportunity to mingle and network. 

 Spirits were high at the Celebration Breakfast, which provides an opportunity for QEII Foundation donors, members of our Board of Directors, members of the We Are Campaign Cabinet, Honorary Trustees, QEII physicians and staff, Nova Scotia Health leadership and staff, friends of the Foundation and Foundation staff and retirees to gather and celebrate their shared connection with the QEII. 

Marking Milestones

A man and woman smile at the camera.
Pictured: Gordon Cooper, QEII Foundation board chair and Susan Mullin, president and CEO, QEII Foundation at the Celebration Breakfast. 

The annual Celebration Breakfast is an opportunity to reflect on all that's been accomplished in the past year and look ahead at what's to come. It was an incredible year because of donor support and strong community partnerships. QEII Foundation President and CEO Susan Mullin shared some highlights, including the arrival of the StarGuide SPECT/CT nuclear medicine scanner – a first in Canada technology that will impact more than 4,000 patients each year. Donors are playing a lead role in bringing two of these scanners to the QEII.

The Jordan Boyd Inherited Heart Disease Clinic opened in May at the QEII. The clinic is in honour of Jordan's legacy, ensuring that others living with inherited heart disease have access to the treatment and care they need. To date, the Boyd family and their supporters have raised $1.2 million net — in partnership with the QEII Foundation — funding pivotal inherited heart disease research.

In 2023-2024, philanthropy enabled $12,287,007 to support the purchase of equipment and technology, improve patient care and enhance research and education initiatives through the QEII.

"Philanthropy creates opportunities in health care that otherwise are not possible," said Susan.

We Are Transforming Health Care: A Campaign Update

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Pictured: We Are Campaign Chair Sherry Porter shared an exciting campaign update.

Sherry Porter, chair of the QEII Foundation's We Are campaign, updated guests on the Foundation's $100-million campaign to transform health care. With the community's support—many of whom were in the room—$72 million has been raised to date, with 21 life-changing priorities completed and more to come.

Looking at what's on the horizon, Sherry shared that soon, a new approach to MRI services in Nova Scotia will create greater access for patients across the province, reducing wait times for critical scans. Innovative solutions to tackle those wait times will bring services closer to home, sharing QEII expertise directly in the community. "It's a game changer, and donors will make it possible," said Sherry.   

From the Frontlines: A Front Row Seat to Philanthropy’s Impact 

Four people sitting on a stage during a discussion.
Pictured L-R: Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, president of research, innovation & discovery, and innovation partnerships at Nova Scotia Health moderated a discussion with panelists and QEII experts Dr. Amanda Caissie, Dr. James Robar and Dr. Michael Dunbar to highlight how philanthropy is impacting health care.

Each panelist’s work in cancer care and surgical innovation has benefitted from the support of the QEII Foundation's donor community, creating access to technology like Ethos with HyperSight. This innovative treatment platform allows cancer care experts to deliver radiation treatment in a hyper-precise way. The QEII is the only health centre in Canada to have it, and Tom Murdoch, the first patient in Canada to be scanned on it at the QEII, was at the Celebration Breakfast with his wife, Ann.

"These technologies are informing what we do next. Donors started that [by funding Ethos] and put us on the path to excellence for cancer care in Nova Scotia," said Dr. Robar, chief of medical physics at Nova Scotia Health.

The panelists offered insight into how donor generosity continues to create opportunities that otherwise would not be possible within the healthcare system. Dr. Dunbar, a QEII orthopaedic surgeon and medical director of the Centre of Excellence in Robotics, shared how acquiring the first orthopaedic robot in Atlantic Canada in 2021 paved the way for the QEII to have more surgical robots than any other health centre in Canada, five of which are donor-funded, offering more precise treatment and recovery and attracting the best and brightest surgeons and leading to the creation of the QEII's Centre of Excellence in Robotics.

Philanthropy combined with innovation, world-leading care, and collaboration delivered by QEII physicians and clinicians are powerful combinations.

"There's a real sense of collaboration and that we're going to do this together," said Dr. Caissie, QEII radiation oncologist and medical director of the Cancer Care Oncology Transformation Project. "Thanks to the donor community for putting that wind in the sail." 

Lifesaving Care: Danielle's Story

A group of people smile at the camera.
Pictured: Danielle Biron, Dr. Mahmoud Elsawy and some of her friends and family, who rallied around her during her care journey, focusing their efforts on finding a stem cell donor match for her. 

No matter how donors choose to support health care, a patient on the other side is receiving life-changing care. And in some cases, it is lifesaving. Guests had a chance to hear Danielle's story during the Celebration Breakfast.

Last spring, Danielle Biron, a mom of three and hairstylist, received a stem cell transplant at the QEII to treat bone marrow cancer. Dr. Mahmoud Elsawy, a QEII hematologist and part of Danielle's care team, describes the procedure as "one of the most complex medical procedures ever.” And the QEII is the only health centre in Atlantic Canada to offer it to patients. Today, Danielle's stem cells have been fully replaced with donor cells, and she is back to enjoying life to the fullest.

Watch this video to learn more about Danielle and her QEII care journey.