Celebrating the past, present, and future of cancer care in Waterloo and Wellington regions: Team members and patients mark 20 years at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre open house

Celebrating the past, present, and future of cancer care in Waterloo and Wellington regions: Team members and patients mark 20 years at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre open house

The cancer team poses for a group photo outside of Grand River Regional Cancer Centre

Grand River Hospital celebrated 20 years of providing cancer care close to home in our communities at the Grand River Cancer Centre Open House, November 4. Team members, volunteers, survivors, and patients and their families from across Waterloo and Wellington regions gathered at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, to celebrate a significant milestone in its commitment to providing exceptional cancer care services. Since its inception two decades ago, the Cancer Centre and the team who provide life-saving care everyday have been a beacon of hope, compassion, and innovation for cancer patients and their families across Waterloo and Wellington regions.

The Grand River Regional Cancer Centre officially welcomed its first patient  in the fall of 2003. The facility at Grand River Hospital’s KW Campus brought radiation therapy services, along with a wide range of enhanced cancer treatment services, to our communities.  In the 20 years since, the cancer program has remained dedicated to delivering world-class cancer care, consistently setting new benchmarks in treatment, research, and patient support.

On Saturday, November 4, the open house provided an opportunity to both reflect on the program’s journey and to look at the innovations driving its future growth, while celebrating the unwavering dedication of the entire healthcare team.

Key highlights of the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program’s 20-year journey in cancer care include:

A group of open house attendees tour a radiation therapy suite with two Cancer Centre staff

The first cancer centre in Waterloo Region: When its doors opened in 2003, the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre was a state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facility, enabling patients to receive the most advanced and comprehensive care available, close to home, meaning patients no longer needed to travel to London, Hamilton, Toronto, or beyond for the majority of their testing, treatment, and care.

Leading Medical Experts: The cancer team has over 300 highly skilled oncologists, surgeons, and patient-facing and patient-serving staff who have been at the forefront of cancer research and treatment, providing patients with the best possible outcomes.

Cutting-Edge Research: Since 2003, Grand River Hospital has been a hub for clinical trials and cancer research, contributing to the development of new therapies and treatment modalities.

Comprehensive Support Services: The regional cancer program provides comprehensive support services, including counseling, survivorship programs, and holistic care to address the emotional and psychological needs of cancer patients and their families.

Patient and Family Advisory Council: The program is proud to have a network of dedicated patient and family advisors who lend their experience and voice to different projects across the hospital from decision-making to supporting current patients on their cancer journey.

The open house held special significance for patients who have been a part of the region’s cancer care journey since before the Cancer Centre was opened, including Joanne MacPhail, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer more than 30 years ago.

“Cancer care looked really different at Grand River Hospital back then. There was no Cancer Centre. There wasn’t a full team or treatment options. There wasn’t the support system many cancer patients, survivors, and families have access to today.”

A group of Cancer Centre staff wearing their Cancer 20th anniversary t-shirts pose for a photo

"It is hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we opened the doors to our Cancer Centre and brought cancer care close to home for members of our communities,” said Jane Martin, regional vice president of the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program and vice president of regional programs and clinical support services at Grand River Hospital. “This milestone is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our patients and their families. We are honoured to have played a vital role in the lives of countless individuals, and we remain dedicated to our mission of delivering the highest standard of care, close to home,"

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the open house featured a number of events including tours of the Cancer Centre, ask the expert sessions with oncologists, a patient panel hosted by local media personality, Brian Bourke, and Melanoma Canada’s Mobile Mole Unit.

The Hospital expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated staff, patients, and community partners who have been instrumental in making this 20-year journey a success.

For more information please contact:

Kara Weiler, Integrated Communications Director
M: 226-751-6508 or kara.weiler@grhosp.on.ca