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The donor: Tom Stefan

The gift: Raising $10,000

The cause: BC Cancer Foundation

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When Tom Stefan was diagnosed with bladder cancer four years ago, the disease was spreading fast and doctors gave him only a couple of years to live.

Mr. Stefan, who lives in Vancouver, was skeptical about the Canadian health-care system and headed to the United States for treatment. Ironically, doctors at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance referred him back to Vancouver, saying the BC Cancer Agency had some of the best doctors and most innovative treatments in the world. Mr. Stefan returned home and underwent chemotherapy and surgery at Vancouver General Hospital before taking part in trials for a new drug called Tecentriq, which has been given fast-track approval in Canada and the United States.

He’s now cancer-free and he’s been sharing his story to help raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation. He’s also participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer next month and hopes to raise $10,000 for the foundation (he’s up to $3,600 so far). “My life is richer than ever before,” said Mr. Stefan, who is chief financial officer at Vancouver-based Seaspan Marine.

Mr. Stefan, 52, added that his experience has renewed his faith in the Canadian system and he’s hoping to help fund programs that will make it better. “It’s a very unique Canadian thing that we value highly, but how we manage it going forward is critically important.”

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