UBC Okanagan cancer research award created in memory of Kelowna's Bill Tymchuk

Kelowna resident Leida Tymchuk has established a new endowment to support cancer prevention research at UBC Okanagan, in memory of her late husband Bill Tymchuk.

Consisting of a $20,000 initial gift and an annual contribution of $5,000, the Bill Tymchuk Cancer Research Award will be used to fund research by faculty and students at UBC Okanagan's Faculty of Health and Social Development.

"This endowment is so important -- by 2010 cancer will become the single greatest cause of death in Canada, yet we know that 50 per cent of cancers are preventable," said Dr. Joan Bottorff, Dean of Health and Social Development in announcing the endowment.

"We want to build research programs and prepare the next generation of researchers for the work that lies ahead in finding a cure and better ways to support healthy lifestyles."

In 1976, Bill Tymchuk founded Tymchuk, Brown and Hattori, a Kelowna law firm, and later became a financial consultant with CIBC Wood Gundy in Kelowna. He fought lung cancer for two and a half years, but passed away in July 2005 at the age of 54.

"Cancer seems to be diagnosed at much younger ages than I remember," said Leida Tymchuk. "When you've spent as much time at the chemotherapy ward at the cancer centre as my husband and I have, you see how it affects families. Children live with the fear of losing their parent, income is either reduced or lost and then there's the issue of coping with the cancer treatments."

"One of the ways I dealt with the sadness of my husband's cancer diagnosis was to think of how many other families were also fighting cancer. Hopefully with additional research in cancer prevention, future families may be spared."

Bill Tymchuk's colleagues at CIBC Wood Gundy are also contributing $7,000 to the new endowment. "We are very happy to honour Bill's memory by making this contribution," said Brock Aynsley, manager of the Kelowna CIBC Wood Gundy office.

Dr. Bottorff invited others to consider making a donation to the Bill Tymchuk Cancer Research Award and noted that as more contributions are added, "this endowment will continue to provide resources for students and faculty to pilot new ideas -- and do the necessary ground work for taking research in new directions to help make cancer history."

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