Left to right: Lauri Glotman, Leslie and Gordon Diamond, and Jill Diamond.
The Diamond family has donated $7.2 million to the BC Cancer Foundation to expand BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program – expanding identification and screening for the BRCA gene mutation. This gene mutation increases the risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish decent are 10 times more likely (1 in 40) to carry the gene mutation. Screening for the gene enables early detection and intervention, and even prevention in some cases.
“We’re really proud to partner with BC Cancer because it fulfils one of our most important Jewish values, tikkun olam, which is the obligation to repair the world and make it a better place,” said Jill Diamond.
The Diamond family personally knows the impact of the BRCA gene mutation. “Our grandmother unfortunately died of breast cancer. Had she known she had a BRCA gene mutation, and been screened properly, the cancer could have been caught earlier and we would have enjoyed many more years with her,” Diamond explained.
The family’s gift – one of the largest ever to the BC Cancer Foundation – will fuel three clinical projects to:
• Expand outreach to people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, who are at greater risk.
• Establish a first-in-Canada initiative to directly contact high-risk relatives of mutation carriers to pursue genetic testing.
• Implement immediate genetic testing for breast cancer patients age 60 and under upon biopsy, eliminating the need for a doctor’s referral for screening and removing the burden on patients.
It will also fund three breast imaging fellowships at BC Cancer Vancouver, increasing the centre’s capacity and expertise for specialized breast radiologists.
“The Diamond Foundation’s generous donation is a giant step on the path towards transforming hereditary cancer care across B.C. Not only will this support three critical initiatives now, but it will also provide the groundwork for future programs and greatly increase our impact by reaching more families at higher risk of cancer,” said Drs. Kasmintan Schrader and Sophie Sun, co-directors of BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program.
“This is for our daughters, for everyone’s daughters,” said Jill Diamond and Lauri Glotman. “It will allow women to continue to be the backbone of their family, their community and society, and – armed with knowledge about their increased cancer risk and the preventative measures they can take – protect and care for future generations.”
The Diamond family has a long history of supporting BC Cancer, including donating the land that the BC Cancer Research Centre stands on in Vancouver.
The Diamond Foundation’s generosity will make BC Cancer a leader in hereditary cancer care, providing the groundwork for future programs, saving lives for generations of families.
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Rabbi Yechiel and Chanie Baitelman, co-directors of Chabad Richmond, were recently honoured as recipients of the Richmond Centre Outstanding Constituent Award by Wilson Miao, member of Parliament for Richmond Centre.
Serving their community for more than 25 years, the Baitelmans are known for their compassion, inclusiveness and commitment to bettering the lives of Jews and non-Jews alike. Their mission has been to connect the values and ethics of the Torah and Judaism with the Jewish community and beyond. Together, they created the weekly Light of Shabbat Meal program that feeds both Jewish and non-Jewish households, with 150 meals delivered weekly by volunteers.
This award celebrates the contributions the Baitelmans have made to Chabad Richmond and other organizations in Richmond Centre, including their ongoing outreach, educational and social service programs. The Baitelmans’ hallmark is respect and love for every person, regardless of religious beliefs, social status or education. Generous with their time as well as their talents, they live their life’s mission by serving others.
Both of the Baitelmans sit on a variety of community boards, and the rabbi has served as a chaplain for the Correctional Services Canada prison system and is the chaplain to the local RCMP detachment in Richmond.
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Bea, born Bernice Gropper, was known as “Bessie” during her school years. She was smart as a whip and graduated University of Saskatchewan by age 20.
She moved out to Vancouver, where she met Myer Goldberg, and the two were married in 1945. The day after returning from her honeymoon, Bea joined Hadassah-WIZO and chaired just about every event the organization had, including the Hadassah Bazaar, and held leadership positions both locally and nationally. She even rewrote (or reorganized) Hadassah-WIZO’s constitution!
Bea was also involved with the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Centre (from when it was on Oak and 11th), the Louis Brier Home and Vancouver Talmud Torah, and supported Hillel BC, the Hebrew University, Jewish Family Services and many others.
Family and community are very important to Bea and she still is a woman who lives by her values and principles.
Mazal tov to Bea Goldberg, 100 years young!