UA Local 488 Donation Saves Lives!

In a monumental act of generosity, UA Local 488 has donated almost $300,000 to the Cure Cancer Foundation to purchase a new Beam Scanner, which will be used for new groundbreaking cancer treatments.

David Dyer, the Executive Director of the Cross Cancer Institute, expressed his utmost gratitude on behalf of the Cross. He first thanked the Cure Cancer Foundation, stating the group has “brought many great things to our site, including equipment, staff training, and space development.” He then thanked UA Local 488 for their altruistic donation, “We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Dyer explained that the idea of a Linac MR machine was developed here in Alberta by Sir Professor Dr. Gino Fallone, who has been knighted in recognition of his extraordinary work. Dr. Fallone went on to explain the purpose of his machine and how it will revolutionize cancer treatments. The Linac MR contains both a Linac and an MR machine that were supposedly incompatible until Dr. Fallone cracked the code to combine them.

An MR machine can be used to identify where tumours are in soft tissue areas (lungs, breasts, or prostates). However, patients must be moved from the MR to a Linac for X-ray radiation treatments. The problem is that once the patient is out of the MR, tumours in soft tissue can move when the patient breathes, making it very hard to ensure the tumour is what’s being hit with radiation. By combining both machines, doctors can get an almost video feed of where the tumour is and ensure it is being hit with radiation.

The Beam Scanner, purchased by Local UA 488, is used together with the Linac MR. Dr. Fallone explained, “When you have a drug, you know how much of that drug is in every pill. But imagine if you didn’t know the amount. You have a bunch of pills, they all look the same, but you have no idea how much of the drug is in them. How can you give a pill like that to your patient?” Dr. Fellone continued, “For equipment, that’s exactly the problem.” He explained that each piece of equipment used to treat cancer is different, and it is hard to measure the levels of radiation used in treatments.

The beam scanner will allow staff at the cross to measure how much radiation is being delivered in treatment, ensuring it is the correct amount.

Marvin Bahry was the first patient treated with the Linac MR, and he also offered his sincerest thanks to the Cross Cancer Institute, his doctors, and UA Local 488 in a heartfelt speech. “Local 488 has provided a wonderful gift to the hospital, demonstrating that by working together, we can make a difference in medical advancement and care.” Marvin’s immense gratitude echoed throughout the halls of the Cross Cancer Institute!

Rod McKay, the business manager of UA Local 488, spoke about what inspired this incredible act of philanthropy. “We’re a union of plumbers and pipe fitters,” explained McKay, who discussed how the union started a supplementary benefit fund in the 1960s. For every hour a union member worked, one penny would be added to this fund. Today the Union has over 9300 members and 10 cents per hour is donated to the sub-fund per member.

The fund mainly helps members through bursaries but can also be used for charitable donations to the community. McKay stresses that he wanted to use these funds to help people, and when the Cure Cancer Foundation proposed donating the funds to purchase this new Beam Scanner, McKay was thrilled!

Thank you, UA 488; your incredible gift will help to improve cancer-patient survival and recovery rates!

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