First Research Grant Through Hockey Fights Cancer™ Powered by the V Foundation Announced During National Hockey League’s All-Star Weekend in Toronto

When the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and V Foundation announced the Hockey Fights Cancer™ Powered by the V Foundation partnership, accelerating fundraising for the best cancer research in North America was established as the primary goal.

That goal took centerstage to kick off the NHL’s All-Star Weekend, February 1-3, in Toronto, as the first research grant through Hockey Fights Cancer™ Powered by the V Foundation was announced.

The $800,000 translational research grant from the NHL, NHLPA and the V Foundation supports the research of Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Head of Neurosurgery at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network (UHN) and Co-Director of UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute. Dr. Zadeh’s work is focused on identifying more personalized treatment options for adults with brain tumors.

“Association with the NHL, the NHLPA and the V Foundation provides us the recognition we need to get the word out about this important research,” Dr. Zadeh said. “We are working to identify more personalized treatment options for adults with meningioma, the most common type of primary brain tumor. Our research aims to develop a predictor to determine meningioma’s response to radiation post-surgery by utilizing data – identified non-invasively – through a blood test.”

In the days leading up to the announcement of the grant at the 2024 NHL All-Star Game, Dr. Zadeh welcomed NHL, NHLPA and V Foundation representatives into the lab at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. People attending Dr. Zadeh’s lab tour included:

  • Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
  • Marty Walsh, Executive Director of the NHLPA
  • Kim Davis, Senior Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs, NHL
  • Shane Jacobson, CEO, V Foundation
  • Susanna Greer, Chief Scientific Officer, V Foundation
  • Roger Ferguson, Chief Marketing Officer, V Foundation

Dr. Zadeh’s Lab Tour

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Pictured – Members of Dr. Zadeh’s Lab Team: Dr. Andrew Ajisebutu in front; Dr. Yosef Ellenbogen in back

“Like sports, science is all about teamwork,” said Dr. Susanna Greer, Chief Scientific Officer, V Foundation. “Dr. Zadeh’s work is truly game-changing and is a great example of the work researchers do every day to develop more targeted therapies and the cancer treatments of the future.”

“This is a milestone moment,” said V Foundation CEO Shane Jacobson. “This is the first grant of many that will be supported as part of Hockey Fights Cancer™ Powered by the V Foundation. The V Foundation was born out of sports, ESPN and the great Jim Valvano. Our partnership with the NHL and NHLPA aligns with our heritage and where we want to go, accelerating Victory Over Cancer®.”

“For over 25 years, the NHLPA has been committed to helping find cures for cancer,” said Marty Walsh, Executive Director of the NHLPA. “The work Dr. Zadeh is doing now will lead to treatments that will help save lives. Cancer touches all of us, and we’re honored to dramatically increase Hockey Fights Cancer’s™ positive impact in the fight against cancer.”

“Since the inception of Hockey Fights Cancer™, we’ve raised over $32 million to support those affected by cancer, touching the lives of millions of people,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Now, more than ever, our focus is on raising money to support the best and brightest scientists supported by the V Foundation, scientists like Dr. Zadeh.”

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