Grey Matters 2

Join us this Thursday for the Second Annual Grey Matters.

If you are unable to attend donations in support of the Alyson Woloshyn Clinical Research Fellowship can be made via Alberta Cancer Foundation.

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Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

At the end of February I was scheduled to be out of town so Russ, Alyson’s father, traveled to Calgary to receive Alyson’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Below is his account of the events he attended.

I had the bittersweet honour of attending two special events in Calgary recognizing the recipients of the Queen Elizabeth 60th Jubilee Medal.

The first was a small affair held at the Canadian Cancer Society that honoured the 6 medalists. Alyson’s picture was prominently featured in front of the awards as hers was the only posthumous one. The emcee was Jason Holowachuk who is the volunteer Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alberta-NWT Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. Also present was Dan Holinda, the Executive Director and Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson who presented the medals.

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal commemorates outstanding Canadians who have generously contributed to their communities and society at large through their service contributions and achievements. It also happened that this year is also the 75th anniversary for the Canadian Cancer Society. I was impressed by the statistic that when the Society was founded only 25% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer survived. Today, more than 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive. Alyson was cited for the following reasons:
(1) Her fund raising efforts have helped to defray the cost of cancer victims’ treatments. Her fund, “Woloshyn Warriors” with Alberta Cancer Foundation has already passed the $100,000 mark.
(2) Her support and mentoring of those living with the disease.
(3) Her continuous volunteering at Canadian Cancer events that aimed at cancer prevention. Her efforts were recognized by naming an ‘Alyson Woloshyn Fellowship’ that Jared has already talked about.

Alyson was an extraordinary young woman who, at a time when others might have understandably retreated, poured her energy into advocating for brain cancer research and fundraising, motivational speaking and encouraging others faced with a similar situation. The lessons she taught others continue to inspire every day.

The 2nd event occurred the following day at McDougall House, the official location of the Premier when she is in Calgary. This event honoured approximately 35 people.

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Tour of The Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute’s (SACRI) Brain Lab

Feb 11, 2013. Today I, Jared, had the privilege to touring the SACRI Brain Lab along with several members of Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF). What impressed me the most was the passion to which these folks approach their work, as they fully understand the urgency to find answers that will translate to better treatments and thus patient prognosis.

The tour started off with Dr Jennifer Chan giving a tour of a couple areas, including the brain tumour tissue bank. This is an impressive tissue bank because surgery, pathology, treatment and research happen at the same institution, allowing for very complete records, which in turn helps researchers answer questions more efficiently.

We then moved into Dr Donna Senger’s area which included a description of peptide markers that attach to tumour cells and are hoped to more precisely locate the margins of the tumour and direct surgeons more accurately.

For those of you that have been long time readers of Alyson’s blog, you will remember Dr Jay Easaw. His excitement about the new research that will aid him and his patients in the Neuro-Oncology Clinic is as infectious as when Alyson was diagnosed in May of 2009.

Dr Easaw then introduced Dr Amitabh Singh to discuss the project that has been funded by the Alyson Woloshyn Fellowship award from ACF. The title of this was the “Metabalomics in Neuro Oncology,” which is waiting to be accepted for publication in a major medical journal. Dr Singh has discovered, a way to detect types of brain tumour from a sample of a patient’s blood and urine. Where this gets clinically important for tumours which surgery to remove and get a sample is too risky given the location, like in the brainstem for example. Another instance this test would be a step forward is during treatment something called pseudoprogression can result from radiation, and can mimic the appearance of actual tumour growth. The only way to distinguish this currently is to wait 2-3 months to see if continues to advance or regresses. Thus this blood and urine test would tell clinicians that tumour is present and would allow decisions about treatment to occur 2-3 months sooner.

Discussion continued about the unique situation in Calgary that has Clinicians, Pathologists, Researchers, and Surgeons working so closely together along with the fact complete care is happening for the surrounding community in one facility. The answers we seek to save our loved one’s from this terrible disease are so very complex, but after spending some time with a few of the individuals involved in this research, I know progress is be being made.

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Woloshyn Fellowship Fundraiser

TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE (and are non-refundable)

Event Details
Tara Slone from Calgary’s own Breakfast Television will be the Emcee for the night

DATE: Thursday June 28 2012

TIME: Doors open at 5:00 PM

Soho Bar and Grill, 9th Ave and 6th St. SW, Calgary AB

There will be a live and silent auction, games and raffle prizes to help support the Alyson Woloshyn Fellowship.

When making your purchase, you need to make a donation for the total amount of all the tickets you want [4 tickets = $100 donation]

$25 per person (includes one drink and hot appetizers all night) with 50% of the ticket price going straight to the Woloshyn Fellowship Fundraiser

If you are unable to attend, you are still welcome to make a donation here: Click here.

Facebook page

Contact woloshynfellowship@gmail.comif you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

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There will be two opportunities to honor Alyson Woloshyn and celebrate her life.

Calgary, AB
Saturday, June 2, 2012 from 2-5pm at the University of Calgary in the MacEwan Ballroom MSC 301A. With formal tributes starting around 2:45 pm. Click for directions.

Waterloo, ON
Saturday June 9, 2012 from 2-5 pm at the University of Waterloo in St. Jerome’s D.R. Letson Community Centre with further details to follow. Click for location and directions.

A block of rooms have been reserved at the Holiday Inn Kitchener- Waterloo (30 Fairway Rd. S) for Friday June 8th – June 9th

Special Group Rate: $79.00 + tax, King Bed
For Reservations: Call 1-866-375-8240 or 519-893-1211
Please quote “Alyson Woloshyn Memorial” to obtain the group rate
Hotel room block will be held until Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Parking is complimentary


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Alyson Leigh Woloshyn

Woloshyn, Alyson Leigh – Of Calgary, Alberta, formerly of Kitchener, Ontario, passed away peacefully at the Rosedale Hospice in Calgary surrounded by loved ones on May 27, 2012 at the age of 35 after a courageous and dignified battle with brain cancer. Alyson completed her bachelor’s degree at University of Waterloo in 2000. She followed her partner, Jared, to Calgary in 2003 where she worked at the University of Calgary, most recently as the director of integrated client services. Since her diagnosis in May 2009, she advocated for brain cancer research, and raised over $50,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation that contributes to a cancer research fellowship in her name. In addition, a leadership award has been created in her name at University of Waterloo. Alyson will be dearly missed by her partner Jared Long, her parents, Russel and Donna, her brother Cameron (Melani), as well as countless other family members, friends and colleagues. A private family funeral was held, and memorial services will be held in both Calgary and Kitchener at a later date. For more information please return to this website in the coming days. In lieu of flowers, Alyson asked that donations be made to the Alberta Cancer Foundation through her website:

Calgary Herald

The Record


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After a courageous journey with GBM of just over three year, Alyson peacefully left us this morning with her parents, brother, and partner by her side. Her wishes were to have two celebrations of her life, one in Calgary and one in Kitchener. As details on these events are solidified, they will be posted on this site. Thank you all for your support; the number of recent messages certainly speaks to the level at which Alyson impacted so many.


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