July 15th, 2024

Historic donation for cancer centre

By Lethbridge Herald on June 14, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Saker Manji and her daughters celebrate the unveiling of the Amir & Saker Healing Gardens after making a $500,000 donation to the Jack Ady cancer centre Friday at the Chinook Regional Hospital.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

The Jack Ady Cancer Centre and the Alberta Cancer Foundation received a historic donation of $500,000 and in recognition of the gift, a healing garden just outside of the centre has been named after the donors. 

The Amir and Saker Manji Healing Gardens has been named in memory of Amir Manji and in recognition of his family’s donation, which will significantly enhance the centre’s medical equipment and oncology training programs. 

An unveiling ceremony took place Friday morning at the healing gardens, where those in attendance listened to Natasha Manji speak about her father Amir and the care he and the family received when he was at the Jack Ady Centre. endy Beauchesne, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, spoke about the historical donation and how it will be used. 

Manji said after the ceremony giving back to the community is something that lines up with their family values as well as their religious and cultural values and to be able to give back to the Jack Ady Cancer Centre where people from Lethbridge and the surrounding area can receive care that is the best in class, where they call home really matters to her family. 

“We hope that people can receive an ever-evolving and best-in-class service right here at home,” said Manji. 

She said Lethbridge is a city built on the values of community – people show up for each other, they go out of their way and become dedicated to making the lives of the people around them better and that was the experience they had at the Jack Ady Cancer centre. 

“When my father received his diagnosis, right away we became part of another community, a community of doctors, partners and professionals who went out of their way, went above and beyond the role of their ordinary jobs to really make sure that we received care and treatment, compassion and dignity in the way that resonated with us,” said Manji.  

Manji said his diagnosis was devastating as he took care of his health very well. She said it was just as much a value for him as it was to work hard to serve his community. 

“To receive a diagnosis when you think you’ve done all that you can was just that really stark reminder that nobody is immune and there are no exemptions to receiving a cancer diagnosis,” said Manji. 

While in the cancer centre, Amir Manji underwent treatment for stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. He passed away in 2018 but his legacy now lives through his family’s donation.  

During her speech Manji said the family developed meaningful connections with the staff, which fueled their desire to give back. 

Beauchesne said after the ceremony the $500,000 was the largest donation ever received by the centre, which will help them in a big way. 

“It’s going to allow us to purchase a vital piece of equipment here at the cancer centre which will really allow for far more precise radiation, absolutely critical for those patients, for more effective and accurate treatment,” said Beauchesne. 

She said the equipment is called a PTW BeamSCAN and that will benefit patients from all across southern Alberta, and another portion of the donation will be going towards oncology training programs. 

“Mr. Manji during his cancer treatment really noticed the amazing team here at the cancer centre and wanted to give back to that, so it will support training for the team,” said Beauchesne.

She explained the Jack Ady centre is the regional referral centre for all of southern Alberta, including people from Medicine Hat, who had to come to Lethbridge for radiation therapy. 

“There is a cancer centre in Medicine Hat as well, but the radiation corridor for southern Alberta is here so if you’re on a course of radiation therapy for many weeks you’re actually coming to this cancer centre,” said Beauchesne.

She said the donation will help many in their cancer journey regardless of where they live in southern Alberta. 

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