Creating a future where no Canadian needs to fear a cancer diagnosis

Team CIBC members share their stories on how they have been directly affected by cancer and why they won’t stop championing for the cause.

Created for logo

“When you’re a kid and your friend has cancer, it’s hard to understand what they’re going through,” says Daniel Plante, community general manager at CIBC. “I was eight years old when my best friend was diagnosed. When we last met seven years ago, his eyesight had been severely impacted by the brain cancer that had returned after many years of treatment. I promised to see him again soon but never got that chance.”

Every hour, 26 Canadians are estimated to receive a cancer diagnosis. At some point, we’ll all know someone affected by the disease. And Plante’s story is just one of many compelling tales of how a diagnosis can significantly impact your life and the lives of those around you.

Today, Plante and Team CIBC help champion the resilience and dedication of programs like the Tour CIBC Charles-Bruneau through the Charles-Bruneau Foundation—which finances research and supports the development of projects in pediatric hematology and oncology. “I have three children and I never take their health for granted,” he says. “Children with cancer and their families need us. I’m proud to be part of a team that understands that and wants to make a difference.” 

CIBC has long supported cancer community initiatives like the Tour CIBC Charles-Bruneau, including support for treatment, research, and screening as well as wellness, survivorship, and patient support programs. Equipment purchases and upgrades in rural hospitals across Canada so that patients can access local screening and treatment are but one example of how these initiatives improve the lives of those facing a cancer diagnosis. 

Building on this culture of giving back, the bank recently launched the CIBC Foundation, which aims to create a world without limits to ambition. Through the Foundation, CIBC is advancing its commitment to supporting several initiatives and causes, including cancer-related programs, which are helping make progress towards realizing a collective ambition many Canadians share: creating a future where no one needs to fear a cancer diagnosis.

“Cancer is a cause that is very important to us at CIBC because it affects so many Canadians, including our team members, clients, and loved ones,” said Sandy Sharman, group head, people, culture and brand, CIBC, and co-chair, CIBC Foundation. “Our team is dedicated to playing our part to support those facing cancer and enable researchers to further the treatments available to help those who need it.”

One of the bank’s longest-standing partnerships and a cornerstone of its charitable work—the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run For The Cure–demonstrates the impactful partnership the bank is looking to further develop through its investments in the Foundation. 

Financial service associate Clarissa Johnston has a long history of volunteering for The Run, which has seen CIBC raise more than $58 million since its partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society began in 1992. “When I was transferred to Vancouver, I made sure to stay involved in the event,” Johnston says. “Every year it became nearer and dearer to my heart, as I lost my father, colleagues, and friends to different types of cancer. This event has played such a big role in my life and has really defined my 45-year career with CIBC. Even after I retire I plan on staying involved.” 

Likewise is the experience of Coral Swaby, an executive assistant at the bank and breast cancer survivor. “I’ve been cancer-free for two years now, and during this entire journey, I’ve had a team of people standing with me,” she says. “Initiatives like The Run are such great reminders of that necessary support.” 

Coral Swaby, CIBC executive assistant

In its vision to further advance a holistic approach to cancer-related initiatives in Canada, CIBC works with many organizations to tackle unique and evolving needs. Take Wellspring Calgary’s Returning to Work program, for example, which addresses career-related concerns for those with cancer by way of personalized preparation for returning to work, tips on managing health, and assistance in developing a primary self-care plan. The initiative spotlights how our workplace, not just our homes or care facilities can be an integral part of healing.

“At work, I didn’t want anyone in the office to know about my diagnosis, except my boss,” says Swaby. “But that changed after my first round of chemo. Walking into work with a shaved head was when I realized it was time to open up about my cancer, and I’m so glad I did. I believe half of what got me through treatments was the positive environment my coworkers created for me.” 

Along with SickKids, Princess Margaret’s Healing Beyond The Body program and the annual Movember fundraiser–which CIBC ranked #2 globally for fundraising–Team CIBC’s contributions have benefitted many grassroots programs across Canada, like Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC). For Mark McGuire, a senior director of financial planning & advice effectiveness, partnering with the Newfoundland-based organization that supports the mental health and wellness of young adults dealing with cancer has become a symbol of the change a small group of motivated and compassionate individuals can make.

“YACC is strongest in their Newfoundland base, yet offers nationwide support,” he says. “After eight years of working together, our CIBC team has gotten to know many recipients of their programming. Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got the back of these brave young adults. I’m incredibly proud our team at CIBC has YACC’s back. And I want everyone to know, and be proud, that even though we’re a small province, our work has a big impact.” 

Since the early ‘90s, the net cancer survival rate has grown by nearly ten per cent. While the dream of a cancer-free world has not yet become a reality, investments in the nationwide community of changemakers pushing the needle have become a guiding light.

To learn more about how CIBC and its team are working to make a difference in Canadian communities by supporting cancer initiatives, visit cibc.com.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.