Ottawa

Bryan Murray leads fundraising drive for alternative cancer centre

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is spearheading a fundraising drive to raise $5 million for the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre.

Sens GM uses Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre to complement chemotherapy

Bryan Murray said he hopes the money raised will help make the alternative therapies more affordable. (CBC)
Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is spearheading a fundraising drive to raise $5 million for the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre.

Murray, who has Stage 4 colon cancer, said the clinic has helped him cope with the disease.

"I believe the treatment I've received at OICC, the complementary treatment, has allowed me to live fairly normally. I continue to work," said Murray.

He announced a $100,000 donation from the Senators and NHL foundations. That's in addition to a $900,000 contribution by an anonymous donor.

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, which opened in 2011, is a non-profit organization.  It offers a variety of treatments such as vitamin injections, herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy and counselling.

About 1,500 people have been treated at the clinic, which has has gained credibility with the established medical community. The Ottawa Hospital shares patient records with the centre.

CBC Ottawa anchor Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, currently undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer, said the clinic has helped her deal with the emotional toll of the disease.

"It's complementary therapy and not alternative therapy," said van Oldenbarneveld. "It can't hurt, and if it helps me —and it does countless others — why not try it?"

Most services not covered by OHIP

Murray pointed out not everyone can afford the treatment because most of the services offered at the centre are not covered by OHIP. He said he spends several thousand dollars a month on treatment at the clinic, which is out of reach for most people, and said that's the main reason he agreed to help raise funds.

"I said I would be involved with them if it would reduce the cost of some of the product they have so it's more accessible to people," said Murray.

The centre said the money raised would fund "essential patient programs, innovative research, and subsidized patient care for those unable to afford integrative cancer care at the OICC."

Roughly 6,000 to 7,000 people in the Ottawa area are diagnosed with cancer each year.

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