A strategic manager with the City of Edmonton, Brenda Waluk also brings her expertise to her volunteer position as Chair of the Board of The Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund. There, she and volunteers from nine local unions representing nearly 10,000 employees (including firefighters, transit worker and others) administer a fund whose mandate includes promoting healthy communities in the Edmonton area.
The Charitable Assistance Fund became involved with the Alberta Cancer Foundation in 2000, when it donated $50,000 towards IGAR (image-guided adaptive radiotherapy), a program led by Dr. Gino Fallone, director of medical physics at the Cross Cancer Institute. IGAR uses a combination of CT scanning, MRI, and PET imaging to map a patient’s cancer as accurately as possible. Radiologists then design a therapy, using a helical tomotherapy unit to deliver radiation that follows the tumour edges accurately, leaving healthy tissue undamaged.
Building on the success of the IGAR, Dr. Fallone and the Alberta Cancer Foundation made another presentation to the Charitable Assistance Fund. “They approached us in 2007 or 2008,” says Waluk. “That’s when we started supporting the LINAC program.” The LINAC-MR program is a prototype being developed by Dr. Fallone, building on his previous work. “Dr. Fallone explained it to us,” Waluk says. “The new machine will deliver accurate doses of radiation and it’s much easier on the patient. It might be able to do in two or three doses what is currently done in 10 or 12.” The Charitable Assistance Fund awarded the project $485,000.
“We are so proud to be associated with this project,” she says. “We have these amazing scientists right here in Alberta, doing cutting-edge things. We have to support them.”
The Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund represents 10,000 people in and around Edmonton. The Fund’s generous support for Dr. Fallone’s work means that their families, their neighbours and community members benefit from a higher level of cancer care.
The Fund represents employees in the following unions:
- Amalgamated Transit Union #569
- CUPE Local #30
- Edmonton Firefighters Union #209
- City of Edmonton Management Association
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #1007
- United Nurses of Alberta Local #196
- Communication, Energy and Paper Workers Local #829
- Association of Managers and Non-Union Affiliates – Alberta Health Services
- Edmonton Police Service Sr. Officers Association