The Rotary Club of Ottawa South (RCOS) met at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s Maplesoft-GumDocs Cancer Survivorship Centre to hear about recent developments and the positive impact of the Centre.

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF) has earned a leadership position in Canada with its compassionate and effective means of delivering comprehensive services to cancer survivors and their families. The ORCF has three areas of focus: Cancer Coaching, Research and Clinical Trials, and they are very active in all areas. Coaching to empower survivors to overcome fear of occurrence, fatigue, nausea, PTSD, anxiety, brain fog, loss of control.

John Ouellette, Vice-President, Philanthropy, welcomed us warmly and gave us an update as we settled in to a healthy and delicious meal in the Maplesoft-GumDocs Centre’s kitchen and meeting area. Last year the Centre had over 8,000 visits and provided 1,700 referrals to other local services. It is a comprehensive resource, plugged into local health services and the non-profit community to best suit the needs of the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario region. The ORCF shares its methodology and provides training to other clinics and foundations, helping them to build on their own success. 

Historically there have been three avenues of treatment: radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. The ORCF is one of the organizations helping fund an exciting fourth pillar: immunotherapy. Using the immune system to identify and fight cancerous cells. This avenue is showing great promise without the significant and negative side effects associated with radiation, surgery or chemotherapy. Companies form across North America are now coming to Ottawa first to participate in clinical trials using immunotherapy.

In 2010, the CyberKnife radiosurgery robot was installed at The Ottawa Hospital. It was the third in Canada and John reported that it is currently one of the busiest in Canada. It is more powerful, more accurate, and more versatile than regular radiation, and results in less discomfort, faster recovery, and better outcomes for patients. RCOS helped fund the purchase of the CyberKnife. Funds donated by RCOS assisted in the purchase of the CyberKnife.

Brandon Fong, a brain cancer survivor who thanks ORCF as a major component of his journey to health and happiness, gave a very candid and interesting talk of his road to recovery. He used his experience to illustrated that beating cancer physically needs complementary mental and emotional recovery. Being told “you’re cured” is incredible, but it doesn’t help someone pick up the pieces of their life — family, friends, work, health, etc. — and move forward with their life. The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation provided the coaching, tools and support that enabled Brendan to make positive and proactive steps.

In addition to the leadership of a strong management team and a capable and caring staff, progress at the ORCF is powered by the talented and respected doctors who are attracted to work with the Centre. They are fortunate to work with renowned and dedicated people, including Dr. Shawn Malone, Dr. John Bell, Dr. John Sinclair, and Dr. Rebecca Auer.

For many years, part of the proceeds from the annual RCOS golf tournament has been donated to the ORCF. Chair of the golf committee, Bernie Ingimundson, says that “It takes a lot of work to run an effective tournament, but Rotary Club members, volunteers and sponsors are all happy to contribute because they strongly support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.” This year, a cheque for $25,000 was presented, bringing the running total to over $700,000. It is a partnership that the Rotary Club of Ottawa South is both very pleased and proud to maintain.

John Ouellette commented that “Ottawa is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers throughout the region that help friends, neighbours and people they don’t even know. And the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is especially proud to have been chosen by the Rotary Club of Ottawa South as a privileged partner for over 20 years. Members of RCOS have always demonstrated true service above self and are by far the most generous service club supporting cancer projects that this community has ever seen. RCOS is filled with wonderful “Cancer Champions”.”


The Rotary Club of Ottawa South is thrilled to continue its partnership with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. (l-r: John Ouellette, Vice-President, Philanthropy – ORCF, Alex Davidson, President – RCOS, Brandon Fong – ORCF Client/Spokesperson, and Bernie Ingimundson – RCOS Golf Tournament Chair)


Staff from the Maplesoft-GumDocs Cancer Survivorship Centre celebrate with members of the Rotary Club of Ottawa South to mark this year’s donation of $25,000.