The MUHC Foundation's Health Matters

Spreading awareness: A man diagnosed with melanoma twice

July 10, 2022 The McGill University Health Centre Foundation Season 2 Episode 40
The MUHC Foundation's Health Matters
Spreading awareness: A man diagnosed with melanoma twice
Show Notes Transcript

This week on Health Matters, Tarah Schwartz chats with Dr. Vidal Essebag, a cardiologist at the MUHC, about the importance of cardiac health and the impact that the electrophysiology lab (EP lab) can have on care at the Glenn. In the spirit of spreading awareness, Dean Graddon joins Tarah to discuss his experience with skin cancer and how he was diagnosed with melanoma not once but twice. Dr. Marina Klein, an infectious disease specialist, goes into depth about monkeypox, a viral disease making headlines. Finally, Rosa Trunzo, CIBC’s Vice President and Quebec Region Head for Personal and Business Banking, joins Tarah to discuss CIBC’s generous donation of $1 million in support of Opal, an app designed to reduce the stress of patients.

Cette semaine à Question de santé, Tarah Schwartz s’entretient avec le Dr Vidal Essebag, cardiologue au CUSM, sur l’importance de la santé cardiaque et l’impact que le laboratoire d’électrophysiologie peut avoir sur les soins au site Glen. Pour davantage de sensibilisation, Dean Graddon discutera également avec Tarah de son expérience du cancer de la peau et de non pas un, mais bien deux diagnostics successifs de mélanome. La Dre Marina Klein, spécialiste des maladies infectieuses, approfondira aussi la question de la variole du singe, une maladie virale qui fait les grands titres. Puis enfin, Rosa Trunzo, vice-présidente et cheffe régionale du Québec des services bancaires personnels et commerciaux de la Banque CIBC, se joindra à Tarah pour discuter du généreux don d’un million de dollars de CIBC pour l’appli Opal, conçue pour réduire le stress des patients.

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Tarah Schwartz:

Hello there. Thank you for joining us. I'm Tara Schwartz and this is Health Matters on CJAD 800. On today's show skin cancer. It may surprise you to know that it is the deadliest of all cancers. It can spread to other parts of the body resulting in 1200 deaths in Canada, each and every year. We speak with a Montreal man who has had melanoma twice, plus monkey pox. We learned the latest about the virus from an infectious disease expert. But first, our hearts are so important for our health, but heart disease remains a big concern. Here's why. Every seven minutes a Canadian dies of heart or vascular disease, that's 70,000 Canadians every year. Heart disease is often considered a man's illness, but one in four women will lose their lives to heart disease. Our goal at the MUHC Foundation is to fundraise in support of cardiology care and research so that Montreal will have the lowest hospitalization and fewest deaths in Canada due to heart disease. We are working steadily toward that goal by supporting many projects, including an electrophysiology lab. Dr. Vidal Essebag is a cardiologist and electrophysiologist, and he joins me now to discuss what an EP Lab offers. Thank you for being with us. Dr. Essebag.

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Tarah Schwartz:

I would like to start here, what inspired you to pursue a career in cardiology, why the heart?

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

I was from very early on, always fascinated by the heart, the center of our body, it keeps all the other organs alive, and from my early studies, the physiology, the way the heart beats, the way the heart works as a muscle, and also as an electrical system, the heart is actually run by electrical tissues in the heart to make sure that everything's beating normally. And from very early on, I thought that was very fascinating.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, it is fascinating, because I guess we don't realize that the beating, you're right, it's an electrical system. But we don't often make that connection, sort of the electrical system with the idea of the heart beating, I love

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

Yeah, it's kind of like in your house, you that. have plumbers that that check on the the plumbing of the house, and you have electricians that deal with the electricity. So the heart is the same thing. I'm an electrician for the heart, and I make sure that the electricity is keeping the heart beating normally. But that's also an area where disease and problems can come in, because when that electrical system falters, it could lead to problems. And those are the types of problems that we can cure.

Tarah Schwartz:

So let's talk about the electrophysiology lab, the EP lab. This is something that the MUHC Foundation is supporting. And it's so important. So explain to us what is an electrophysiology lab, EP lab.

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

Right, so when we say a laboratory, it's basically a room where where interventions or procedures are performed. For people that have what we refer to as heart rhythm problems, so the heart's rhythm normally beats regularly, but when people have issues where the rhythm is not beating properly, then they may need interventions, procedures, minor surgery that can be done to correct these problems. There are two large categories of types of procedures. One that's well known is, you know, things like a pacemaker. So that's a little machine that goes onto the skin that is connected to little wires that go inside the heart and make sure that the heart is beating properly. The other area, which we deal with is is more something called ablation. So we can go inside the hearts through veins with special types of catheters or cables that can detect the areas that are causing abnormal heart rhythms and we can often cure the problem by burning or freezing an abnormal spot that is causing problems.

Tarah Schwartz:

And why is it important to have an EP lab at the Glenn site?

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

So, you know, the Glenn is a huge hospital. There's a huge cardiac program and care for patients with heart problems, vascular problems. And many of these patients have issues also with the electrical system at the heart. So having a state of the art fully equipped, you know, operating their interventional room to do the procedures on site is critical in being able to offer the best care for these types of procedures.

Tarah Schwartz:

We're speaking with Dr. Vidal Essebag, cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the MUHC. And we're talking about heart disease. I mentioned earlier Dr. Essebag that 70,000 Canadians die each year from heart disease, have those numbers increased or decreased over the years? Are things getting better or worse?

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

Heart disease remains a leading problem, in terms of death rates are probably stable, I think, with technology we've been able to improve people's quality of life, improve longevity, so people are able to, to live better and longer with heart disease, thanks to a lot of the procedures that we're able to offer both electrically and in other areas. The plumbers and the surgeons also offer lots of new things. But as people live better in longer, they also have more time to develop other issues, which include some of these, you know, abnormal heart rhythms that we're also able to cure to improve people's lives.

Tarah Schwartz:

Is there a misconception? Do you think that heart issues are an older person's disease a man's disease? Do you think that that's the case that there's this misconception?

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

That wouldn't be a misconception. So if that's someone's perception, then that would be a misconception. You know, hearts issues, span from, you know, the fetus, to babies to children, adults, and elderly people. The types of problems can vary over time, but some of the problems can occur at any age. There's a big pediatric cardiology group, and we're actually looking to hire a new specialist in pediatric electrophysiology, at the Children's which is also at the Glenn, with whom we collaborate closely. We often do procedures on you know, young and otherwise healthy people that have a heart rhythm problem where their hearts going very fast and periodically and affecting their quality of life. And we can offer a period of procedure in an hour, you know, their life has changed, and they can go back to doing their normal activities. So we regularly often perform procedures in people that are otherwise considered, you know, young and healthy. And of course, there are lots of procedures performed in elderly patients as well.

Tarah Schwartz:

So, as far as the treatment goes, I feel like there have been a lot of changes and a lot of advancement in how heart patients are treated. Is that the case? Had things really come a long way to say yes, okay.

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

In fact, what makes me so passionate about my particular subspecialty is that the technology and the advances evolve so fast that every six months or every year, we have new technology, new tools, new mapping systems with three dimensional reconstruction of the electrical system of the heart to all types of technologies and catheters with different engineering and mechanisms of energy delivery. It's the field is continuously evolving, to make things better, more effective, safer for patients. And at McGill, we're leading a lot of the large international studies that are validating these new technologies. So it's a fascinating field and it's amazing. You know what we're doing today we weren't doing last year, we weren't doing 10 years ago. So it's amazing what we're able to offer now and it's keeps my career exciting.

Tarah Schwartz:

Just a final question is there a most exciting part of your job. Is there a favorite part of your job before I let you go Dr. Essebag?

Dr. Vidal Essebag:

Favorite part of my job is being able to see the patients and follow up and seeing how how grateful they are.

Tarah Schwartz:

That is a wonderful part. Dr. Vidal Essebag, I want to thank you so much for joining us on the show today, really, really enlightening. Next up on Health Matters skin cancer. We speak with a Montrealer who has had it twice. I'm Tara Schwartz. Welcome back to health matters on CJAD 800. It's starting to feel more and more like summer, a bit of a rainy start, but we'll get there. It's the time of year when we crave that sun and that heats our summers are short, but it's important to be reminded of the importance of taking care of our skin. Skin cancer cases in Canada are rising at an alarming rate. Cases of melanoma have increased three fold since the 1980s. With 8,000 Canadians diagnosed each year. It's something that can be easy to miss if you're not looking for it. Our next guest discovered his melanoma quite by chance. Dean Graddon joins us now. Hello, Dean. So how did you find out about your first case of melanoma?

Dean Graddon:

First case of melanoma actually just came about when I've been keeping an eye on on a mole on my thigh over a period of time, and started to see it spread starting to ulcer a little bit. And I was a little worried. And by chance, I had to take my elder son to a clinic, and I showed the lesion to the doctor at the clinic and we went on from there.

Tarah Schwartz:

So he sent you right away to a dermatologist?

Dean Graddon:

He gave me a referral. As I'm sure you know, in the medical system, it took a little while to get an appointment, and a bit of a delay, but I saw the dermatologist and then was immediately given a referral right on the spot to an oncologist.

Tarah Schwartz:

So on your thigh you had a piece of your thigh removed and 32 staples going down your leg? What was that like?

Dean Graddon:

It was quite the ordeal. It was a big, long, scary day. It was a big worry leading up to it quite frankly, you always wonder has this spread any further? Is it just in the surface of the skin? What else could happen? All those questions definitely go through your mind.

Tarah Schwartz:

And had it spread any further beyond the surface of the skin?

Dean Graddon:

Happily, no. In that first instance, they also went into my groin area to take out a few lymph nodes to test them as well to see if any cancer cells had spread. And the good news did come back a few weeks later after that initial surgery that it had stayed local and hadn't spread any further.

Tarah Schwartz:

Such wonderful news. Now, you had young children at the time. How did they react to daddy being sick? Or did they not see it that way?

Dean Graddon:

They were at that age where I guess they were probably early to mid elementary school year age at that point in time. We didn't share all that much information with them at that age. They just knew that daddy was going in for surgery and they were hanging out with the cousins on Crescent Street and in their aunt's apartment at the time.

Tarah Schwartz:

Wow, we are speaking with Dean Graddon, who was diagnosed with melanoma twice and we're talking about skin cancer and the importance of protecting our skin. I'm wondering, Dean, did you change your behavior in the sun after that first case of melanoma?

Dean Graddon:

The funny thing is I was always someone who was quite vigilant. I've known from a fairly young age that I have a number of risk factors. So I was always quite vigilant, maybe not in my youth and adolescent years, but as an adult, I was always very careful. But as as time has gone on since then, I've had to be very, very mindful of, of my skin health for sure.

Tarah Schwartz:

And how long after the first case was the second case diagnosed?

Dean Graddon:

It was good seven or eight years, I think I'd have to check your calendar to be more specific, but the last one was roughly a year ago.

Tarah Schwartz:

And where on your body did that one present itself and how did you find it?

Dean Graddon:

That one was actually on my shoulder blade. Once again, I had gone to get medical attention for something completely different. And I had been tracking something on my back for a little while and said to the emergency room doctor since I'm here, can you take a look at this? And once again, well, I don't think it's anything too bad, but I think we should refer you to to a dermatologist to get that looked at.

Tarah Schwartz:

And then what happened then?

Dean Graddon:

So then I got the dermatologist referral fairly quickly the second time around. I was able to see someone within a couple of weeks. And the doctor took one look at what I was concerned about and said nope, not I'm not worried about that at all. There's something a little bit further over than I am concerned about. And he took a biopsy on the spot and sent that off to the lab and for a second time it did come back is as a case of melanoma.

Tarah Schwartz:

How did how did you feel about having that a second time? Was it sort of discouraging? What were you feeling? What were you going through?

Dean Graddon:

It was a slap in the face. You know, you think after eight, nine years, whatever that was, I can't remember exactly. We're going down that path again. Happily, in the second instance, it was a tiny little speck that hadn't spread. They caught it even earlier than the first time around. So with a very minor procedure, that day in the hospital he was able to remove everything.

Tarah Schwartz:

I'm glad to hear that. We were speaking with Dean Graddon, diagnosed with melanoma twice, We're talking about skin cancer, we're talking about the importance of protecting our skin and monitoring because Dean, it's interesting that you've mentioned that you sort of have been tracking, you know, multiple moles or freckles on your body. Specialists do suggest that to especially those of us who have a lot of moles and freckles on our body, which I am one as well, that we sort of track it every six months, and you see a doctor dermatologist with one is changing. So is that something that you are continuing to do? And is that something you look for in your children who might have a similar similar skin coloring to you?

Dean Graddon:

It's something I've been very vigilant after the first time around, I have to confess I did let the follow up slide. But this time around, no chance after, after the second diagnosis, and I'm going to be continuing. Initially, it was actually every three months that he was seeing me and now we're up to every six and we may may stretch it out further if everything stays clear. I've got two boys, they're both in their early 20s now. one of my kids has the similar pale skin color to me and I'm on him all the time. My other son is not as big of a red flag, but I think they've learned that lesson through Dad's experience.

Tarah Schwartz:

And you're also a school principal, which I love. How do you educate your students in the school about the harmful effects of the sun? Do you talk about it, do you bring it up? Do you try to you know, help them understand that it's important to be cautious in the sun.

Dean Graddon:

I've never really shared my own story in my role as a principal when I was still in the classroom, it was something I did. I was actually a science teacher. So it was a part of the regular curriculum that would come up and then we played storytime once in a while and the story of Mr. Graddon's skin cancer was definitely shared when I'm still in the classroom. As a principal, it's you know, you've got kids running around in the school yard playing in the sun but sunscreen on a regular school day is not really a thing on the radar if it's an activity days that might change but a regular day not quite so much.

Tarah Schwartz:

I'm wondering if you think that it's still not understood enough like my little boy is in day camp now and every time we you know, we get ready for day camp, I'm always like put sunscreen on but I worry that they don't continue to put it on during the day because I think it's still not talked about enough. People don't realize that it can go from like day to night. You know, right away, you've got a melanoma, obviously, you were predisposed to it. But do you think that people pay attention enough to the harmful rays of the sun?

Dean Graddon:

Sadly, not. I think it's definitely on the radar of some people. And it's often in families where there's some sort of a history or interest or knowledge or that kind of thing. But for the majority of Canadian families, I think it's not on their radar as much as it should be.

Tarah Schwartz:

Which is why I think the numbers you know, have I mentioned it earlier, has increased threefold since the 1980s which is significant. It is rising at an alarming rate. I wonder Dean just final question for you. Has having skin cancer twice now, how has it or has it changed your outlook on life or how you live it or how you see things has it impacted you in that way?

Dean Graddon:

I try to keep a positive outlook. I think you know it's definitely made me much more leery of sun exposure. But I've always done everything I can to adopt a healthy lifestyle anyway, and I don't want the specter of cancer hanging over my entire life, but it's something I'm definitely cognizant of.

Tarah Schwartz:

So are you like hat wearing long sleeve wearing throughout the summer months? And are you cognizant of it in the winter as well I wonder?

Dean Graddon:

A little less on the winter, I guess I mean, if I'm spending a full day outside sunscreen could be on my face. But am I a long sleeve summer guy? Probably not. It gets a little warm. But if I'm walking from the house or the school to the car, I'm not going to be so concerned but if I'm spending more than a half an hour outside sunscreen is definitely going on.

Tarah Schwartz:

Well, Dean, I'm happy that things worked out well for you that you saw the right dermatologist at the right time. And I appreciate you being here for sharing your story. It's a personal one and hopefully people will listen, and we'll learn from you especially as summer is right in our midst right now. So thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Dean Graddon:

Entirely my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Tarah Schwartz:

Next up on health matters, monkeypox is still in the headlines. What are infectious disease experts hoping to learn about this virus. I'm Tarah Schwartz and this is Health Matters. There are a lot of headlines about monkeypox lately and how it's spreading in communities around the world. Much like the COVID 19 pandemic, we have researchers who have sprung into action to study different aspects of the virus. Dr. Marina Klein is one of those researchers. She's an infectious disease specialist and the Research Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Chronic Viral Illness at the MUHC. Thank you so much for being with us. Dr. Klein. So even though we see or hear information about monkeypox in the headlines, I find at least it can still be really hard to understand the virus if we're not an infectious disease expert. So help us to understand what monkeypox is.

Dr. Marina Klein:

Sure so, I mean, first of all, it should be said that it's a bit of a misnomer, because it has very little to do with monkeys. But it is a virus, which is in the same family as the smallpox virus. And until recently, it's really been mostly found in parts of Africa, in very limited outbreaks, and really some exposure to animals. So like, we get infected with many different viruses that come from animals, as we learned from COVID, for example. And mostly it's rodents, so small, you know, mice and rats and, and gophers had been infected, and then people get exposed to it coming in contact to it. And then there can be some limited transmission and households. And these little outbreaks sort of die out over time. But they've been increasing in the last number of years. And there's many theories about why that might be the case. But one of them is that the smallpox vaccination, which used to be routine, around the world stopped in the early 1970s, when smallpox was eradicated. And so with time, more and more people are susceptible to getting infected with any virus that's in this family. And so monkeypox is one of those viruses. It's a virus.

Tarah Schwartz:

I was gonna ask you if you thought that it was a coincidence that monkeypox is now appearing just as we're sorting starting to tame to a certain degree COVID-19 like, is it a coincidence that all of a sudden, we're seeing this new virus, or is there some connection? I think that's what a lot of people are thinking why now?

Dr. Marina Klein:

I think with all these things, it's both in some senses a coincidence, but also a reflection of what's happened with the change in pandemic restriction measures, We're speaking with Dr. Marina Klein, infectious disease expert the opening up of borders, opening up travel, that the removal of protection with masking and large, you know, having large events where there's large gatherings, these all these measures, not only do they allow COVID to make somewhat of a resurgence, any other virus that gets into the community could also take advantage of that. So in that sense, it's not a coincidence. Yeah but in other senses, it is. In the sense that, why now and why this virus? I think there's a lot of things that have changed in the last, you know, 10 years globally with climate change, with increased contact with people, with animal environments, with global and Research Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases travel. All of these factors are a common thread to why we're going to see more and more emerging viral infections are and Chronic Viral Illness service at the MUHC. So Dr. emerging infections generally that can transmit around the Klein, you will be leading a team at the RI-MUHC, the globe rapidly. Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre about monkey pox. So tell us what it is that you will be studying. So what we wanted to do is to rapidly respond to this emerging viral infection by really building on some of the infrastructure and frameworks that we set up to study COVID-19. So that we could be in a position to answer a lot of different types of questions that everyone has. So we really want to understand more. How is this virus transmitted? How long when someone is infected, how long will they remain sick? Are there effective treatments that we can give to reduce the symptoms and to reduce the transmission of this virus, who gets more severely ill with a virus? Are there characteristics of people in their immune systems that make them more susceptible? So, you know, there's a whole host of questions that everyone's asking right now and these knowledge gaps that, you know, have really not been explored, even though the virus has been around for a long time, principally, because I think it's been affecting poor countries in Africa, there has been a really lack of resources put towards understanding this. And as we've now seen it spreading rapidly around the globe, and we really are not in a good position to deal with it.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, more rapidly than, I think, then a lot of people thought. Is one of the questions, how the similarities, essentially, with how monkeypox is spreading and how COVID-19 spread at the beginning of the pandemic? Is that one of the things you're looking to answer?

Dr. Marina Klein:

Yeah, I think we need to be clear that it's very different type of virus and COVID-19, which is, you know, spread through respiratory droplets, and has the potential to spread rapidly in the general population. Whereas monkey pox is a very different type of virus, which really means direct contact with an infected lesion of the skin, or, you know, infected ulcer of some kind. So, you have to touch it, or you have to touch an environment that's been contaminated with the virus. So it's a different type of virus. It's called a DNA virus. So it's actually very stable in the environment, it can persist on surfaces and bedding on sheets and clothing. You know, if we think back to smallpox, how unfortunately, it was transmitted through just, you know, giving contaminated blankets to a massive problem with indigenous communities in Canada at that time. So it has a different mechanism of transmission. But yes, I think the issue around you know how quickly it's gone around the world is really fascinating. And why that is one of the questions we're interested in.

Tarah Schwartz:

Concerning, fascinating and concerning as well. Like, is it a concern how quickly this is spreading?

Dr. Marina Klein:

I think it's a concern. One of the things that we've seen, which has been good, and probably speaks to how we've learned some lessons from addressing COVID 19, is that there have been some very proactive approaches to trying to contain the infection as rapidly as possible. So that is, we have a few tools. There is smallpox vaccine, a second third generation vaccine that's actually quite safe to give, that is available in at least some jurisdictions in limited quantities. So it can be used to try to reduce the number of people who could get this, if they're at risk. So that's being deployed, I think Montreal has done a fantastic job at doing that. We're very interested, for example, in looking at a treatment. There's a treatment that was developed for smallpox that was likely to be very active against the monkeypox virus. And so we're trying to collaborate with international groups and running a clinical trial to see if we can use this treatment to reduce transmission.

Tarah Schwartz:

And we certainly are better at collaborating globally after the COVID 19 pandemic. So are we better prepared for monkeypox than we were for COVID-19 in that sense?

Dr. Marina Klein:

Yeah, I'd like to think so. I think there's no I love how you describe that saying, you know, now that the question that even locally, our collaborations are happening much faster across the country, we're collaborating with pressure of COVID has waned because I feel that that that's colleagues now in Toronto, who also are experiencing quite a few cases. And internationally, we've learned that that's probably, you know, almost certainly the best and fastest such a true statement. It's physical as well, like you feel way to get quality evidence, so that we can make a difference in terms of the health of people, and reducing the spread and the pressure that it is passing all that we are seeing numbers impact of these types of epidemics. You know, we still are slow getting off the mark sometimes, because it's, you going up again, so the worry is coming back but just a closing know, trying to secure funding to have, you know, ongoing support for these research in place. So one of our objectives message from you, Dr. Klein, in terms of what message you would have for our listeners about monkeypox with what should they with with them, it's really been highlighted, I think how quickly this came upon us, when we're just starting to relax after COVID-19 pressure is starting to wane, is that we really need to put in permanent research infrastructure to deal with emerging pathogens and be able to collect information, blood samples, other samples, so we can do these research projects very quickly and get the answers we need to make a difference rapidly. know, what should they be preparing for? Yeah, so I think two things one, this isn't as, perhaps as frightening a disease as, as it might sound like from some of the media, that it can be quite, you know, the manifestations can be quite severe in terms of the types of lesions that people get. But it is by and large, seems to be quite self limited. People resolve the infection, we've had very few severe cases and no deaths related to it in the current epidemic. And it is, and so I don't think people should be afraid of it. But we need to be vigilant, we need to realize that at the moment the most of the people who've been infected are in the community of gay and bisexual men who have sex with men, but that it's not a disease that is going to be limited to that population. It has a potential to spread beyond that population. So we need to be vigilant in case you know, people develop strange symptoms, a strange rash with fever or swollen lymph nodes that they need to consult a medical professional and get diagnosed quickly. And that there will be I think, good ways to prevent and treat this infection.

Tarah Schwartz:

Dr. Marina Klein, thank you so much for joining us on Health Matters. We always appreciate your expertise.

Dr. Marina Klein:

That's my great pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Tarah Schwartz:

Next up on Health Matters, a significant donation to support patient centered care at the MUHC. I'm Tarah Schwartz, you're listening to Health Matters. The MUHC foundation is very fortunate to have a strong community who like us believe in supporting excellence in health care. One innovative way to help patients is to put them at the center of care by giving them access to their health care data. The Opal app was created right here in Montreal at the Research Institute of the MUHC Dr. Tarek Hijal and Dr. John Kildea and the late Laurie Hendren created the app to reduce patient stress by giving them access to their medical appointment calendar. Imagine laboratory test results, getting clinical notes written by their doctors and educational material about their illness and treatments. The goal is to eventually have this app widely available, and a significant donation is going to help researchers get there. CIBC has donated $1 million in support of Opal. Rosa Trunzo is CIBC is Vice President and Quebec Region Head for Personal and Business Banking. And she joins me now. Rosa, thank you for being with us. So why is philanthropy and giving back and important pillar for CIBC?

Rosa Trunzo:

Yeah, thank you for asking. So I need to tell you, our bank so CIBC, we truly believe in a world without limits to ambition. And we're so very committed to making a meaningful impact in the lives of our neighbors, which includes giving back to those in need, right, and as a reflection of the diverse interests of our people, our clients, our neighbors, where we seek out opportunities where we can not only make substantial contributions to our communities, but spend our time volunteering, because we know this is how change happens. And our employees are so very committed, and generous with giving back and volunteering. And truly, it's inspiring to see how involved they are in their communities. But getting back is deeply embedded in our culture here at CIBC and the cancer cause is one that is especially important to our bank, because it affects as you know, the lives of so many Canadians. This includes our team members, of course, our clients, and sadly, our loved ones. So I'm thrilled to share as well with you, Tarah that we launched in 2021, The CIBC Foundation, which exemplifies our bank's genuinely caring belief that together as a community, with I would say shared vision we can truly overcome obstacles and emerge more united, resilient, prosperous and ready for a future really without limits to to ambition.

Tarah Schwartz:

And how long has the CIBC been supporting medical research? Is that something that's been on the bandwagon for a while or is that something new?

Rosa Trunzo:

Oh my goodness. Yeah. So our bank has a storied history of supporting our communities and this is through various avenues and medical research is just one of the many areas we help contribute to. So our support of medical research across Canada is long standing and it can be seen through our supportive organizations and that would include the Canadian Cancer Society and the Fondation Charles Bruneau right here in in Quebec. Very proud to mention that this year marks our 26th year as a title partner of the Canadian Cancer Society. Oh, thank you so much. And you know, everybody knows the CIBC Run for the Cure which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research that will help people live with and I would say beyond beyond cancer. And I just also want to add that this year marks our sixth year as the title sponsor for tools CBC Charles Bruneau which is close to my heart which aims to give all children with cancer, the the utmost, the best chances of recovery. And each year Team CIBC is there to help raise funds for the foundation and it goes towards like you mentioned at the beginning, Tarah, you know, cancer research, treatments, screening, and as well as wellness programs and proud to mention that the tool CBC Charles Bruneau sponsors four hospitals here in Quebec and personally, I'm gratified when I see how beautiful these children are when they're recovering. And it's wonderful to help see how we're curing them and that they can live beyond their diagnosis.

Tarah Schwartz:

We're speaking with Rosa Trunzo, CIBC Vice President and Quebec Region Head for Personal and Business Banking, and we're talking about a $1 million donation to the MUHC Foundation. So what was it about the MUHC Foundation and the Opal app that inspired CIBC to make this very generous donation?

Rosa Trunzo:

We are thrilled to be part of this journey. So by supporting the MUHC's mission to provide exceptional and integrated patient centric care for those living with cancer, and its innovative Opal app, we're collectively making progress towards our bank's goal of creating a future where no one has to fear a cancer diagnosis. And as you mentioned earlier, this Opal app provides patients access to their hospital appointments, it's just phenomenal, laboratory test results, the clinical notes, like you mentioned, educational material about their illness and treatments. And with our help, the app will be expanded to enhance patient care and research. And by allowing participating physicians to monitor their patients between appointments, using wearable devices that track vital signs is simply amazing. And the incredible team at MUHC, honestly continuously helps improve the functioning of our health care systems here in Quebec, and across Canada, every day through the implementation of innovative tools like Opal, and something we're proud to support their talented team with expanding.

Tarah Schwartz:

Yeah, it's really a wonderful app. We've had the Dr. Kildea and Dr. Hijal on the show a couple of times to talk about the Opal app. It's quite remarkable. You recently came to the MUHC and the RI-MUHC for a tour. I love being on these tours with donors because I love seeing the wow factor. What was that experience like for you?

Rosa Trunzo:

It was wonderful, and inspiring day full of stories of hope, perseverance. And I actually had the opportunity to meet very talented doctors that you just mentioned, such as Dr. Hijal and Dr. Kildea, and wonderful and determined people from the foundation like like Julie and like you Tarah that I was privileged to meet, hearing firsthand how this all came about was truly, truly inspiring.

Tarah Schwartz:

Well, we thank you very, very much for your commitment to our commitment. You know, we're all working toward the same goal, which is you know, a world where cancer doesn't exist. So thank you so much for your time today. Thank you so much for the donation from the CIBC. It's wonderful to talk to you.

Rosa Trunzo:

Absolutely. My pleasure.

Tarah Schwartz:

Rosa Trunzo, CIBC Vice President and Quebec Region Head for Personal and Business Banking, a $1 million donation to the MUHC Foundation. I'm Tara Schwartz. Thank you for tuning in. What would you like to hear about on the show? Write to me at healthmatters@muhcfoundation.com. Follow us on social media as well and sign up to our newsletter to learn all about what we're doing. Just head to muhcfoundation.com. I hope you'll join me again next Sunday. Thanks so much for listening to Health Matters and stay healthy.