After two of his employees lost their wives to ovarian cancer, John Blachford, CEO of Blachford, was determined to help. Ovarian cancer is an elusive and deadly disease, often only presenting symptoms in its most advanced stages. The company committed a gift of $250,000 to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation to create the Blachford Ovarian Cancer Research Award to help more women survive ovarian cancer.
“Blachford celebrates its centennial this year, and we could never have reached this milestone or achieved such great success without the dedication of our employees,” said John Blachford, Owner and CEO, Blachford. “We chose to donate to the DOvEE project to show our support for those around us affected by this terrible illness.”
The new Blachford Ovarian Cancer Research Award will support Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the MUHC and the Detecting Ovarian and Endometrial Cancers Early (DOvEE) project. In 2018, Dr. Gilbert developed the DOvEEgene test, a simple diagnostic test that detects ovarian and endometrial cancers in their early stages. It works much like a pap smear does for cervical cancer, and its ability to detect cancer early ensures a much greater chance of survival. Now in its final clinical trial, the new award will provide much-needed funds to complete the trial and make the DOvEEgene test widely available.
“Working in gynecologic oncology, I see late diagnoses of ovarian and endometrial cancer all the time. It’s devastating to know that if we had caught it early, these women would have survived,” said Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Director of Gynecologic Oncology, McGill University Health Centre. “The Stage 3 clinical trial of the DOvEEgene test is the culmination of years of work, and I am grateful to Blachford for supporting us as we bring DOvEEgene to all women.”
Survival rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in over 30 years, an astonishing fact considering the speed at which medicine and technology have advanced. Thirty years ago, companies like Blachford would have been using fax machines and typewriters. In the time between typewriters and tablets, no new technologies to improve survival rates for ovarian and endometrial cancers were developed. Until now.
“Too many women are lost to ovarian and endometrial cancers. The MUHC Foundation is proud to support Dr. Lucy Gilbert as she works to change this,” said Julie Quenneville, President and CEO, MUHC Foundation. “Thank you, Blachford, for your dedication to ensuring no more mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are lost to the silent killers.”
Blachford, founded in Montreal, is celebrating its centennial this year and its 365 employees worldwide are proud to give back to the community that has supported its success.
DOvEE is a priority of the MUHC Foundation’s $200 million Dream Big Campaign to change the course of lives and medicine. The Dream Big. Stop the Silent Killer campaign has raised over $2 million to support Dr. Gilbert’s big dream of making the DOvEEgene test a routine part of women’s health care, and saving countless lives in the process.