The Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation has been a key sponsor of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the world’s top five cancer research facilities. The Centre is known for its game-changing scientific achievements, as well as its exceptional patient treatment and care.

To date, the family foundation has donated $2.5 million to the Centre’s Familial Cancer Clinic to continue advancing the shared vision of enabling every cancer patient at the facility and across the province of Ontario to benefit from genetic testing for early detection of cancer.

The Centre is Canada’s largest genetics clinic dedicated to cancer patients. With the support of the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation’s most recent gift, Dr. Raymond Kim, Medical Geneticist and Director of Cancer Early Detection leading a universal genetic testing program with 1,300 breast cancer patients at Princess Margaret’s Breast Site Group, which is the largest and most comprehensive breast cancer research and care centre in Canada.

The goal of this research is to demonstrate that universal genetic testing can lead to the identification of cancer-susceptibility genes that otherwise would have remained undetected, therefore allowing for earlier intervention and better patient outcomes. Through the study, the patients will undergo a simple blood or saliva test as part of their standard treatment to screen for dozens of genes responsible for inherited cancers and other syndromes.

“With cancer stubbornly remaining the number one cause of death for Canadians, and the number of new cancer cases expected to rise by 40% between 2015 and 2030, the time to get ahead of cancer is now,” said Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President and CEO of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “Genetic testing is a non-invasive early detection screening tool that needs to be used more widely. We’re grateful for the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation’s generous gift that will change the lives of Canadians today as well as set a precedent for the importance and future of genetic testing.”

The gift also establishes the Bhalwani Family Compassionate Care Fund to provide financial support to cancer patients seeking genetic testing who either do not meet the funding criteria set by the Ontario Ministry of Health or do not have access to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

“This clinic advances awareness of genetic cancers and makes detection a path to a cure,” explained Arif Bhalwani, founder and director of the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation. “Inherited cancers have touched our family and we hope that cancer gene panel tests become the norm so that we can be a step ahead with better treatment options and dramatically improve survival rates.”

In 2019, the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation made an initial investment in cancer genetics at Princess Margaret with a $1 million gift to create the Bhalwani Family Hereditary Cancer Fund. Supporting the clinic’s establishment and operation, the gift led to a 30% increase in patients seen over the past three years and helped enable the implementation of a 100% virtual genetics clinic in response to the pandemic.