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Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada Names Vera Arajs Clinical Research Fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto

New organization will support patients across Canada while working to find a cure

November 30, 2010 ― At their official launch event today, the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada (SCFC) announced a $250,000 gift to establish the Vera Arajs Clinical Research Fellowship in Sarcoma at Mount Sinai Hospital. The fellowship will provide important sub-specialty physician training and clinical research into this rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer that affects approximately 500 Canadians each year.

“It is our aim to work with leading research institutions in Canada to cure sarcoma cancers and to provide patients and their families across the country with access to information, and support that has not previously been widely available,” said Diana Arajs, Founder and Chair of the SCFC. “We are thrilled to launch the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada at Mount Sinai Hospital, where the world-leading sarcoma unit is saving lives every day.”

The sarcoma program at Mount Sinai Hospital is the largest multi-disciplinary program of its type in Canada, and is recognized as a world leader in treatment and management of the disease. The program is unique because of the inter-professional and inter-disciplinary care that ensures patients receive all of their cancer care needs, as well as their complementary medical, rehabilitation and psychosocial needs in one place.

“I want to thank the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada for this generous gift in support of the sarcoma program at Mount Sinai Hospital. It will allow us to train new sub-specialists in the best practices for the treatment of sarcoma who can then go out across Canada, and elsewhere in the world, to provide the highest level of cancer care in their communities,” said Dr. Jay Wunder, Surgeon-in-Chief, Head, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Rubinoff-Gross Chair in Orthopaedic Oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Sarcomas are a very rare type of cancer which arise from connective tissues including fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves, bone and cartilage. These tumours are investigated and staged through a variety of tests including CT, MRI and bone scans. The type of sarcoma is diagnosed by the specific type of cell that makes up the cancer, or through the use of molecular genetic testing, via a biopsy in which a sample of tissue is removed from the tumour and examined microscopically by a pathologist.

“I know first hand how devastating sarcoma is. But thanks to the treatment I received from Dr. Wunder and his entire team at Mount Sinai I have been able to not only survive cancer but conquer it,” said Kyle Miller, an osteogenic sarcoma survivor who carried the Olympic torch in Beijing in 2008 and won the gold medal for Team Canada at the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships. “The donation being made today by the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada means other Canadians who find themselves in my situation will have access to the best treatment possible like I have had.”

“Philanthropy continues to drive and advance the compelling work being done at Mount Sinai Hospital. We are extremely grateful to the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada and Diana Arajs for their support in establishing the Vera Arajs Clinical Research Fellowship in Sarcoma,” said Bob Rubinoff, Co-Chair, Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation Board.  

“It is important to us as a Foundation that no matter where a patient lives in Canada, they get the same level of support and access to treatment,” added Ms. Arajs. “This disease affects children, young adults in the prime of life and the elderly across Canada and while there is much work to do, we look forward to a day when we can say that Canadians are sarcoma cancer-free.”

About the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada (SCFC)

The SCFC was founded in 2010 in memory of Vera Arajs and other Canadians who have lost their lives to sarcoma cancers. We are a volunteer-run, national organization working to support patients and their families, while supporting Canada's leading research institutions in their efforts to eradicate Sarcoma cancers.  It is our mission to connect patients and their families with the best medical information and community resources, to ease the process of dealing with a sarcoma cancer diagnosis and treatment.  To get involved, please visit our website at

About Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital is an internationally recognized, 472-bed acute care academic health sciences centre affiliated with the University of Toronto. It is known for excellence in the provision of compassionate patient care, innovative education, and leading-edge research. Mount Sinai’s Centres of Excellence include: Daryl A. Katz Centre for Urgent & Critical Care; Lawrence and Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women’s & Infants’ Health; Christopher Sharp Centre for Surgery & Oncology; Centre for Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Centre for Musculoskeletal Disease and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute.

For more information, please contact:

Rob McMahon 
Media and Communications Specialist  
Mount Sinai Hospital 
t  416-586-3161     
c  416-357-2873 
Diana Arajs
Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada
t  416-519-5837