Gordon’s gift has worldwide impact
through the “Feeney Fellows”
Gordon Feeney considers himself doubly fortunate.
“I was fortunate to receive swift care from Dr. Paul Greig at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which has allowed me to be cancer free since my surgery two years ago,” says Gordon. “I’m also fortunate to have the ability to contribute to the Billion Dollar Challenge. My personal philanthropy focuses on health care, because unless we’re healthy, nothing else matters much.”
With no pain or symptoms, Gordon was surprised when a potential problem showed up during his annual physical. After an MRI and CT scan at The Princess Margaret, Dr. Greig made a diagnosis of liver cancer and recommended a two-part treatment plan.
“From our first conversation, Dr. Greig earned my complete confidence. He explained everything in lay terms and even drew it all out for me – I still have that piece of paper!” says Gordon. “I had no idea at the time that he was such a prominent surgical oncologist.”
The amount of tissue requiring removal would have left insufficient liver to function adequately. So within 24 hours of diagnosis, Gordon underwent a procedure that blocked the vein to the tumour side of his liver, to cause the other healthy side to grow. Two months later, he had the operation to remove the cancerous portion of his liver. No follow-up chemotherapy or radiation was needed.
Grateful for the excellent care that he received at The Princess Margaret, and shocked to discover that the five-year survival rate for liver cancer is only 20%, Gordon asked Dr. Greig how he could help.
“Teaching the next generation of oncologists is highly important to Dr. Greig, so he asked us to meet with two of his Fellows,” says Gordon. One of the Fellows had been appointed as head of his department at the Mayo Clinic before arriving at The Princess Margaret. Gordon was impressed that a condition of his appointment was to spend two years training with Dr. Greig.
“On the morning that my wife, Donna, and I met these Fellows, they had just spent 20 hours in surgery, and here they were, meeting us in a tie and blazer. That’s dedication,” says Gordon. “It takes people with a certain mindset and nerve to concentrate on something so delicate for 20 hours. I want the next generation of HPB oncologists to be exposed to the best training, and I believe Dr. Greig is
The result of that meeting was their transformative gift to support the “Feeney Fellows,” part of the Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Surgical Oncology Fellowship Education and Research Program.
“We want to help create a ripple effect, as Fellows take their newfound knowledge and skills back to their home hospitals,” says Gordon. “Through our gift to The Princess Margaret, we are doing our part to tackle liver cancer worldwide.”