City residents encouraged to participate in cancer studies

This week 214 Red Deerians are taking part in the Tomorrow Project and so many are on a waiting list to participate that a second visit will be made in August by the mobile research team.

The Tomorrow Project is a long-term study that, through testing and lifestyle monitoring, seeks to understand what causes diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and others.

In 2008 the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project was established when Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces joined to collect the information of 300,000 people over the next 20 to 30 years.

Donna Wray, project manager for the Tomorrow Project, said they already have 12,000 participants in Alberta and are aiming to reach the goal of 30,000 in the province.

The Tomorrow Project is constantly seeking new participants age 35 – 69 that have never been diagnosed with cancer.

“We are asking people 35 to 60 years of age to come in because if we invite a 20 year old in we have to wait 15 years before the diseases we’re looking for even show up,” said Wray.

To get involved people can call the toll-free number and ask for a questionnaire to be sent to them.

Once the questionnaire is filled out the participant goes to the clinic to partake in all the required testing including measurements and blood sampling.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling was also in attendance at the clinic and said he is impressed by Red Deer’s participation in this study.

“The participation levels speak to the awareness people have about cancer,” said Flewwelling.

While this clinic was not the first one, it was the first mobile clinic to be held in Alberta.

Pat Klein, a participant in the study from its beginning 10 years ago said he joined to help make the future better for other people down the road and to help make progress to beat cancer.

“I would say ‘come on in and let’s get at ‘er’. We have to take part in these things to make it better for young individuals,” said Klein.

Pat’s wife, Dorothea Klein, pointed out that everyone is susceptible to the disease and that if spending a few minutes in a study will help, than it’s something everyone should do.

Dorothea was diagnosed with cancer after signing up to participate and is continuing treatment this year.

The newly appointed ambassador for the Tomorrow Project, Rita Rose, also takes part in the study and said she is amazed by the scope of the project.

“It must be a good thing if it’s been taken up by other provinces,” said Rose.

The more information gathered, said Rose, the more helpful the study will be for future generations.

The second clinic will be announced in July, at which point people can call to sign up and take part.

There are two permanent study centres already in Alberta, one in Calgary and one in Edmonton, and can process 350 participants a week.

For more information on the Tomorrow Project visit www.in4tomorrow.ca or call 1-877-919-9292

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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