Gyno-Mite: Small Team, Mighty Mission

In 2021, Trillium Health Partners (THP) Gynecologic OR nurse, Anna Czipf, lost her mother, Mrs. Dragica Matesic. She didn’t think twice before redirecting sympathy donations toward Gyno-Mite, the newly formed fundraising team from the Gynecologic Oncology Program she worked closely with. Just weeks prior, these colleagues had made a split-second decision to join forces, adopting the clever moniker and lacing up their shoes to take part in the annual Mississauga Marathon to advance cancer care at THP.

This was all during the third wave of COVID, when communities were still reeling from the effects of this virus and health care workers and hospitals were under immense pressure.

The team is spearheaded by gynecologic oncologist Dr. Tiffany Zigras, who felt inspired to do more to benefit the Gynecologic Oncology program at Trillium Health Partners and, ultimately, improve the experience and quality of care for their patients. This patient-centric approach to care was the driving force behind their plan to take part in the now virtual marathon fundraising event to raise critical funds for THP. The ultimate goal was to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to improve outcomes for cancer patients undergoing surgery.

“Our main motivation was our patients. The brave people we care for on a daily basis demonstrate incredible resilience in moments of great difficulty. Both our patients and their families are so grateful for the care they receive here at Trillium Health Partners and we wanted to make a contribution to build and improve on that. We had T-shirts made, and patients and staff members alike were excited to purchase them and wear them to support the cause. It felt great to work as a team, have fun and achieve a common goal together,” says another physician team member and Division Director of Gynecologic Oncology, Dr. Kate Pulman.

While the team is a collaborative bunch of physicians, nurses, trainees, researchers and administrative staff, they often work separately. Through the fundraising effort, the team felt a renewed sense of team spirit. In fact, through emails, word-of-mouth and the support of family and friends, Team Gyno-Mite was able to raise an astounding $10, 418

“This success through a pretty grassroots approach just speaks to the fact we have such a collaborative and supportive group of people we work with at the hospital and a whole community around us that are cheering us on and want us to succeed. Everyone is really committed to making sure our patients receive the highest level of care and the generosity we saw come through is just one example of that,” says Dr. Zigras.

THP is one of 13 regional cancer care centres in the province, and one of only nine that provides dedicated care in the area of Gynecologic Oncology.  Our center provides rapid cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and psychosocial oncology and supportive care to thousands of individuals each year. In fact, last year 12, 494 of the overall patients treated at the centre were women while the Gynecologic Oncology Program specifically treated 1,109 patients.

Individuals who have gynecologic cancers in the community rely on the expertise and compassion of hospital staff coupled with state-of-the-art equipment during some of the most distressing health care challenges of their lives. Fundraising ensuring patients continue to have access to leading-edge technologies and services, close to home.

“We’ve received incredible support from Trillium Health Partners Foundation over the years. They helped guide us through some preliminary initiatives prior to the Gyno-Mite Mississauga Marathon Team and that support led us to create the team and really take fundraising into our own hands,” adds Dr. Genevieve Lennox.

Are you a THP staff member interested in fundraising for your hospital? Learn more here.

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