If anyone understands Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s commitment to conquering cancer, it’s Ron Gorospe. Intentionally and unexpectedly, he’s experienced what he calls “the magic,” from more angles than most people.
First, as a young and healthy accountant for the pharmaceutical industry, Ron worked closely with doctors at The Princess Margaret. Among Ron’s early collaborators was the renowned Dr. Tak Mak, who would pave the way for modern immunotherapy: a less toxic alternative treatment to chemotherapy. Ron recalls, “I saw dedicated doctors looking for cures and testing different treatments. It was inspiring to watch history being made.”
Then, in 2001, Ron would experience The Princess Margaret as a cancer patient. During the course of a routine physical in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, “A small dot showed up behind my lungs.” The dot was, in fact, lymphoma. Ron explains, “Lymphoma is a formidable cancer. There’s nothing grandiose that you notice. It’s really subtle.” Before he could process the news, Ron was referred to Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz at The Princess Margaret. In a fortunate coincidence, “I was a recipient of one of those innovative therapeutics, developed by the pharma company I worked for. It was a drug that alleviated some of the side effects associated with chemo and radiation.”
Upon successful completion of his therapies, Dr. Gospodarowicz cautioned Ron that it wouldn’t be unusual for some form of cancer to reoccur. She added it could take “up to 20 years to happen.” Exactly 20 years later a tumour was “unexpectedly discovered” on Ron’s salivary gland, while he was being treated for an unrelated illness. After having the cancerous tumour removed at The Princess Margaret, Ron remains cancer-free.
Today, Ron is an enthusiastic fundraiser for The Princess Margaret, who proudly states, “My unique experience has given me insight into many different facets of this organization. I experienced their dedication and the miracle of their skill set in combination with the kindness of all the staff. It is a battle to find a cure and the money we raise is the bloodline for that battle. I’ll do whatever I can to help them find a cure.”