Nov. 16, 2020
By SUSAN MINUK
With the goal of keeping cancer research top of mind during the coronavirus pandemic, an anonymous donor has bestowed a record gift of U.S. $1 million to Israel Cancer Research Fund Toronto (ICRF) to create the Beverley Librach Abshez Fund for Ovarian and Female Reproductive Cancer Research.
“With the promise of a vaccine, COVID will eventually be gone from our lives, yet, cancer will still remain with us for some time to come,” said Bonnie Fish, president of ICRF Toronto’s board.
The donation is the largest single gift ICRF Toronto has ever received at one time.
A mother of three daughters, grandmother and great-grandmother, Beverley Librach Abshez died of ovarian cancer this past June, and the extraordinary donation was made in her name.
The benefactor believes Israeli cancer researchers will take the world closer to a cure for female reproductive cancers.
“This donor really wanted to make sure that their gift was not going to bricks and mortar, rather, directly to scientists,” said Fish.
ICRF is the largest charitable organization outside Israel solely devoted to supporting cancer research in the Jewish state. Since 1975, ICRF has funded more than U.S. $77.5 million to support over 2,500 grants responsible for major cancer research breakthroughs.
Grants issued by ICRF have been awarded to hundreds of researchers at leading universities and hospitals in Israel. Past recipients include the first two Israelis to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, as well as multiple winners of the coveted Israel Prize, together with other accolades.
Following a rigorous peer-review process, ICRF will support 69 cancer research projects in 2020-2021. Among the areas of cancer research being funded are studies in blood, brain, breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and skin cancer, as well as genetics and genomics, molecular biology, immunology and immunotherapy, and the tumor microenvironment.
ICRF-funded scientists have been instrumental in the development of breakthrough life-saving cancer drugs, including Doxil, Gleevec and Velcade.