An annual event that raises millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment raised more than $1.6 million this year. 

The 17th annual Tree of Hope/l'Arbe de l'espoir radio-thon began at 6 a.m. on Information Morning Moncton and raised $190,294 in just three hours. The program then passed the baton to Radio-Canada to carry on throughout the day.

By the end of the day Friday, the campaign had raised $1,619,743. 

Tree of Hope 2017

The amount was presented at the end of Radio-Canada’s l'Arbe de l'espoir radiothon in Dieppe. (Submitted )

Each year, the Tree of Hope campaign raises money to fund cancer research, improve treatments and increase patient comfort.at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital and its oncology centre.

This year's co-chair of the campaign was musician Joannie Benoît, who had cancer of the femur when she was just 16 years old. She had to have her leg amputated as a result.

Speaking during the morning broadcast, Benoît said the cancer was discovered when she began having pain in her leg while playing sports, and then it spread quickly.

"I stayed very positive. You have to be very positive."

She said music was a big part of her recovery, because she found it therapeutic.

Joannie Benoît

Joannie Benoît, now a professional musician, says music helped her recover from cancer when she was 16. (CBC )

"For me, the music, it was my new passion. Now that's what I do for a living. I think if I didn't have cancer, it would have changed the person I am today. I'm a better person because you don't take life for granted."

All the proceeds of the Tree of Hope campaign go to :

  • The Dr. Léon-Richard Oncology Centre, which receives over 60,000 patient visits each year
  • Satellite units in Edmundston, Campbellton, Bathurst and Caraquet
  • The Mgr. Henri-Cormier Lodge, where over 1,800 patients stay for free each year

The radio marathon is the campaign's biggest fundraiser. Donations can be made by calling 1 800 862-6775 or visiting www.treeofhope.ca.