Ottawa singer-songwriter Ana Miura performs during the 11th annual Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation Telethon yesterday. Miura presented the foundation with a $10,430 cheque.


Marlene Bogart has been cancer free for 10 years, but she has not left the disease behind.


After winning her own battle with breast cancer, Bogart felt the need to help others. She started volunteering at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF), raising money to buy a chemo chair, to make patients a little more comfortable during therapy. Three years ago, she spent five months caring for a neighbour who was dying of cancer.


“I just feel like giving back for all the great service and care I received,” she said. “It’s so hard for people who have to go through it on their own. I have a soft spot for them.”


Yesterday, Bogart was at the St. Laurent Centre to help collect a record $6.061 million in donations during the 11th annual ORCF Telethon, televised on A-Channel.


“Over the course of the telethon we’ve been able to raise more and more as it’s grown,” said ORCF president, Linda Eagen. “You never know what you’ll collect over the phones. It always amazes me.”


On top of phone pledges, hundreds of events that happen throughout the year also raise funds, according to Eagen.


The telethon is a way of celebrating and thanking the army of people who organized those fundraisers.


“This is also one more opportunity for people to make a contribution if they haven’t already and it allows us to educate people about cancer, the research we are doing, and the care we provide,” she said.


The seven-hour event featured dancers, singers and entertainers, community groups presenting their fundraising totals, and volunteers taking telephone pledges.


“This year will be a banner year for cancer research,” said Dr. Mike McBurney, ORCC director of research.


Many research projects initiated in Ottawa that have taken years, even decades, of research will be undergoing their first human trials in 2008. Some trials are a combination of drug treatments and some have to do with modified viruses.


“We’re the leaders as far that the projects are concerned,” said McBurney.