$1 million donation transforms pancreatic cancer journey for patients suffering with deadly disease

Sue Allan

Today, London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) is proud to announce a $1 million gift from the estate of the late Tom Allan and the Tom and Sue Allan Family Fund, a fund within London Community Foundation. This transformational gift will create and sustain a new position within the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) for the next 8 - 10 years. The position, a Patient Health Facilitator, will help patients navigate their cancer care journey from diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship, alleviating some of the burden during such an overwhelming time.

“Through the generosity of donors like the Allan family, improved patient care and the hope for a better future is possible for patients with pancreatic cancer,” says John MacFarlane, President and CEO at LHSF. “The Patient Health Facilitator will have a positive and profound impact on the patients and families who visit the Baker Centre as they face the burden of a new diagnosis.”

Pancreatic cancer is a fast-growing cancer with one of the lowest five-year survival rates. Unfortunately, diagnosis and treatment for pancreatic cancer are quite complex and are prone to delays. Furthermore, since it’s often not detected until later, advanced stages, treatment is more difficult. 

The Baker Centre aims to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer through a multidisciplinary clinical practice, advanced diagnostic imaging, translational research and a streamlined patient care pathway. With the Patient Health Facilitator offering increased support, patients will go from diagnosis to treatment faster and easier than before.

“The journey of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer is overwhelming,” says Dr. Stephen Welch, director of the Baker Centre. "The Patient Health Facilitator will help transform the care journey for patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”

Inspired by Rick Baker’s vision for the Baker Centre, Sue Allan wanted to help make a difference for patients suffering with pancreatic cancer. Tom Allan passed away 17 years ago after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Having seen first-hand how difficult the post-diagnosis period was for her husband, Sue was compelled to help newly diagnosed patients get the support they need. 

“Pancreatic cancer continues to be a stealthy, rapidly progressing cancer that will leave the newly diagnosed totally overwhelmed. As new treatments begin to emerge from the Baker Centre research initiatives, it will be critical for these patients and their families to have a disease centred patient facilitator to assist them in understanding the care and treatment options available to them,” says Sue. “Like the Baker Family, my family wishes we could have had longer with our beloved husband and father but pleased that the challenges can be made easier for others in London by our support of the Patient Health Facilitator position at the Baker Centre.”