On February 2, the B.C. Mining Industry’s fundraising campaign for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation launched their 2017 campaign to develop the Transplantation and Cell Therapy Program (TRACE). This will be the first of its kind in Canada.
Last year, money raised went to the CAUSES (Clinical Assessment of the Utility of Sequencing and Evaluation as a Service) Clinic, something that benefitted families in the Kootenay’s who are forced to travel to the lower mainland because of a much-needed biopsy for their sick son or daughter. It is a research study created with the purpose of determining the clinical impact of genome-wide sequencing for children in B.C. with undiagnosed disorders.
“It was obviously hard on the family, hard on the child,” said Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett. “It really is meaningful to the families and the children.”
Mining for Miracles looks to raise $2.9 million in 2017 and 2018, to support the development of the new TRACE clinic. Its purpose will be to provide children across B.C. with personalized medicine using the patient’s own cells, which will prevent rejection of organ transplants, kill cancer cells as well as fight infection.
Other functionalities including helping 40-59 children with kidney transplants each year, assist 250 children living with organ and bone marrow transplants in B.C., as well as provide a new form of treatment for children with relapsed leukemia. It also aims to position BC Children’s Hospital as a leader in clinical cell therapies, transplantation and research into new treatments for cancer and diabetes.
Jeff Hanman, co-chair of Mining for Miracles is aware of many children and their families having to travel great distances to receive a biopsy, sometimes on a regular basis.
“Just like the Causes Clinic we funded last year, which allows for those services to be provided in those communities,” said Hanman. “The new (TRACE) clinic we’re funding will replace that (long-distance biopsies) with a simple urine or blood test. The hope is, that over time this will reduce the number of trips children living with organ transplants have to make to the hospital.”
Hanman extended his thanks to the generosity of the mining industry.
“When you look around the province today, there are literally thousands of children who are healthy, and in many cases alive, because of the contributions of the women and men in B.C.’s mining industry that support the BC Children’s Hospital,” said Hanman.
Mining for Miracles provides several ways the public can donate to these causes. The first, they sell diamond draw tickets, which gives people the chance to win a large diamond, custom gold ring with a $16 thousand value. Second, Jeans Day tickets are sold. And last, the most signature fundraiser is a pie-in-the-face fundraiser, of which Geoff Brick, General Manager of Greenhill’s Mine at Teck Resources Ltd. took dozens last year. Minister Bennett has also taken a pie in the face to raise funds for the Mining for Miracles campaign.
Premier Christy Clark joined B.C. mining industry representatives to launch this year’s fundraising campaign.
“Mining for Miracles is one of the best illustrations of the crucial role B.C.’s mining industry plays in our economy, supporting families and communities in every corner of our province,” said Premier Clark. “By raising over more than $26 million for BC Children’s Hospital, mining isn’t just creating jobs – it’s creating hope.”