200281
201519

Think Local  

BC Cancer-Kelowna begins push to expand research and treatment space

More cancer space needed

The improvements in cancer treatment in Kelowna and around the world have been plentiful, giving more hope to patients.

Now the BC Cancer Foundation is hoping to take those advances to the next level in the Okanagan, which is one of the fastest growing regions in Canada. The organization has kickstarted a $6.1 million fundraising effort to increase the space required to treat and research the disease.

“The building we’re in opened 25 years ago and hasn’t significantly expanded since, so we are under space pressure,” says Dr. Susan Ellard, the department leader for medical oncology at BC Cancer-Kelowna. “And in particular, because there are so many new treatments to offer people, and people may require more complex or longer treatment, or treatment that keeps cancer at bay for years longer than before, we’re finding that the chemotherapy space is very crowded. And that risks delaying people being able to access treatment in a timely way, so that they can benefit from what we’ve learned.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Ellard wants everyone to know great things are happening in breast cancer treatment because of multiple research advances over the years. Dr. Ellard and her colleagues who treat breast cancer are very glad that research their centre has been involved in through the years has led to multiple new and better therapies. This is one of the most fulfilling aspects of working in oncology: the chance to see research translate into more cures and longer lives despite a cancer diagnosis. In fact, the survival rate for those who have breast cancer detected early has increased to 92%. Some women who once would have survived incurable cancer for only months on average now may live for many years.

Research has not only increased the number of drug therapies available, but has also added to oncologists’ ability to determine which women with breast cancer do not benefit from receiving chemotherapy as part of their curative plan. This has spared many women harmful side effects they would once have experienced when research had not yet provided tools for identifying less chemo-sensitive tumours.

“We’re much better now at figuring out which women with breast cancer do not require chemotherapy treatment to improve their odds of survival, and that’s enormously valuable,” Dr. Ellard says. “In the past, more people had chemotherapy, because we couldn’t pinpoint who would be advantaged the most. You don’t want to miss something that may be life saving.

“But now we have tests that we’re increasingly confident can tell us when chemotherapy isn’t a value and can be completely omitted, where we might once have routinely given it. And so it’s not just more treatments, but treatments better applied."

Dr. Ellard, who has been a practitioner for 25 years, says she could not have imagined the technological advances in breast cancer treatment when she was beginning her career. Doctors now better understand various subtypes of cancer. They better understand how genetics play a role and can help prevent cancer in family members. There has been an increase in the number of type of treatments that either hold off cancer for longer if it is not curable or prevent it from coming back.

In addition, research that targets breast cancer could also end up helping treat other forms of cancer.

“As we grow to realize that if we can pinpoint molecular drivers in a cancer, it may move us away from treating cancer based on where it began in the body to treating it with molecularly targeted therapy that gets at the tumour’s particular vulnerabilities,” Dr. Ellard says. “Some of the drivers we learn about in breast cancer research may be shared by other tumours, so that research in one cancer type can advance research or treatment for other types of cancer.”

An improved systemic therapy space will increase treatment capacity at the centre by 40%. This will help more patients, more quickly, and lead to more and earlier stage clinical trials at BC Cancer-Kelowna, which will reduce the number of people who have to consider travelling to Vancouver to access new drug trials.

“We’ve been the second most active clinical trial centre in B.C.,” Dr. Ellard says. “We’d like to engage our clinicians all the more in offering to our patients locally these early-stage drug trials—both because research like that engages really curious and dedicated people to come and work here and stay here, but also because it gives our patients the opportunity to try promising new treatments at the earliest possible stage.”

Learn about the work that BC Cancer is doing in the Interior region and donate today at bccancerfoundation.com.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Wise Guys Car Wash celebrates first anniversary in Kelowna

Car wash deals offered

Wise Guys Car Wash is celebrating its one-year anniversary in Kelowna with great deals.

During October, it plans to show its appreciation to customers by offering half-price Express, Touchless and self-serve car washes and reducing the price of its Wash Club memberships.

“The Kelowna Wise Guys Car Wash is the only car wash in town that has Express, Touchless and self-serve options,” says owner Travis Wise.

“Why are we the best? Our staff goes the extra distance to ensure each customer is taken care of professionally and their vehicle shines.”

Unlike other car washes, Wise Guys offers free microfibre towels at the vacuum/detailing area so customers can add a personal touch while listening to classic rock music.

The self-service bays and vacuums are currently half-price and offer the softest and hottest water in town. On top of that, the chemicals Wise Guys use are engineered to clean.

Its Wash Club in Kelowna offers members the choice of using either Express or Touchless washing daily and joining the club is easy.

To get started, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1—Install the Wise Guys Wash Club mobile app at wiseguyscarwash.com

Step 2—Select a monthly plan under Wash Club and add your vehicle information and credit card info.

Step 3—See the site attendant, who will install an RFID tag on your vehicle.

Step 4—Press the start washing icon.

And the price of Wash Club memberships has also come down.

A Platinum membership is only $51.99, while a Gold membership is just $48.99, a Silver membership is $41.99 and a Bronze membership is just $39.99.

All prices include free daily vacuum and tax. Visit services at wiseguyscarwash.com for individual Wash Club details.

You’ll also receive a $10 credit toward your first month’s membership.

With the app, you can also purchase single washes, reload your wallet and gift cards, receive discounts, get referral bonuses and set up a fleet account for your business.

And that’s not all. Wise Guys is also running a contest this month where you could win one of 12 $20 washes. To enter, go here.

So, to have your ride look its best, see the guys who shine, protect and seal—the Wise Guys.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Think about becoming foster parent during Foster Family Month

Couple fosters plenty of love

Della Lyons was 19 years old and newly married when she and her husband first brought boarding school children into their home in the late 1970s.

They had five teenage boys who would spend Monday to Friday with them while attending school.

“Then it just snowballed from there, let’s put it that way,” Lyons says after putting a foster baby down for her afternoon nap.

Della and her husband, Wayne, have fostered more than 200 children in their Kamloops home over the last 40 years. Interestingly, they still have with them the first child they ever fostered. She is now 38 years old and in the Community Living BC program, which supports adults with developmental disabilities.

And, of course, she is part of the Lyons family.

October is Foster Family Month in B.C., and BC Foster Parents Association, in partnership with Secwépemc Child & Family Services Agency, is honouring those who step in to care for children and youth who, for many reasons, are unable to live with their families.

Lyons had foster parenting ingrained in her from a young age, as her mom brought children into their home in Port Alice, a tiny community on the northern end of Vancouver Island. Lyons recalls pushing babies around in strollers when she was as young as nine.

So it was no surprise that she had five children in her home as soon as she was old enough to become a foster parent at 19.

Lyons says there are several traits foster parents must possess, including flexibility, understanding and a solid support system.

Oh, and one other thing.

“You have to have a really good sense of humour,” she says with a laugh. “A really good sense of humour.”

Most of Lyons’ foster children are Indigenous since she works primarily with Secwépemc Child & Family Services Agency, and she makes it a priority to ensure those kids do not lose the connection to their cultural heritage.

“If you’re really good at what you do, it’s an extension of your family, which includes their family as well,” she says. “We have had a lot of connections with my kids’ families over the years, and lots of them I still keep in contact with—their parents or whomever has them.

“You don't have to be blood, but you need to work on connections. I feel that it’s my responsibility to keep the child connected to their family, even when it’s not good. It can get better.”

Lyons and her husband have started to slow down the number of children who come into their home, but they will continue to do so as long as they are able. She admits it can be a tough job sometimes, but she says she wouldn’t change a thing. It’s tough when children leave, but she knows it’s for the best.

“People ask: How can you give up your babies? That has been a common question from people who don't foster,” she says. “And I say: I've never given up one of my babies. My babies go on to better, and hopefully they return home. And if not, they hopefully have homes that are going to be permanent. That is the best outcome.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster caregiver, visit BC Foster Parents Association here or call toll-free at 1-800-663-9999.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Ebus provides excellent alternative to winter driving on BC highways

Reasons galore to ride Ebus

Saturday is the first day winter tires are legally required for most major B.C. highways.

So not only do you have to either buy winter tires or spend valuable time getting the ones you already own put on your vehicle. You then have to worry about white-knuckling it over the Connector and the Coquihalla for four hours or more to get the Lower Mainland.

Who needs that kind of hassle when Ebus can get you there not only stress-free, but also comfortably, affordably and productively?

“Safety is first and foremost,” Ebus director John Stepovy says. “You never know, especially along the Coquihalla, when you’re going to get inclement weather. It may be sunny where you're starting and by the time you end it’s maybe four seasons later.”

Ebus travels between most major B.C. centres, including Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver, Hope, Merritt and Kamloops. Whether you’re travelling for pleasure or for business, the reasons are plentiful to give Ebus a try.

One is the comfort of knowing you have an established driver behind the wheel—and not your friend’s cousin’s brother who just got his licence the other day.

“Our coach operators are professionals, they’ve been at it for many years, and they go through extensive winter training annually, so there’s always refreshers,” Stepovy says. “Our operators are prepared to deal with not just the weather that may occur out of nowhere, but also the roads and other vehicles on the roadway.

“You can rest easy and rest assured you’re going to get to where you’re going, or, as we say, safely home.”

Another Ebus benefit is the work you can get done during the ride. Whether it’s work for school or business, you have time to spread out, focus on the task at hand and use the coach’s Wi-Fi to get a connection to the world if required. You can’t do that when you’re driving, and flying is full of so many stops and starts that is difficult to get into a rhythm.

You can also watch a full movie, which is something you can’t do on a plane within B.C., or you can have a nice, restful nap to ensure you are full of energy when you arrive at your destination. The Ebus experience features all the amenities you could want.

Take Stepovy, for instance. He isn’t just an Ebus employee—he’s also a client.

“I travel with our coaches all the time, because not only can I get some work done, which I think is nice, but I’d rather be comfortable and not white knuckling it down the highway myself,” he says. “So I when I have the opportunity, I will take the coach before I think about driving.”

Another reason to enjoy an Ebus adventure involves nature. Not only are playing a role in taking 52 vehicles off the road every time an Ebus coach hits the highway, but you can enjoy all the beautiful vistas rural B.C. has to offer. When you’re on an Ebus, you are literally riding high and can catch views far-away scenery you cannot see in your own vehicle.

The holiday season is approaching, and ensuring you can get your Ebus seat before it’s gone could not be easier. The company also offers plenty of flexibility if your dates change down the road.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Think Local articles