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Okanagan dealership family drives $1.5M into cancer care

Bannisters give where they live, supporting systemic therapy suite at BC Cancer – Kelowna
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The Bannister family has donated $1.5 million to the BC Cancer Foundation. (Contributed)

The family behind several big dealerships in the Okanagan has put a significant donation into gear for cancer research and care in the Interior.

The Bannister family, of Bannister Automotive Group, has made an incredibly generous gift of $1.5 million to the BC Cancer Foundation.

The donation will go towards creating a new, state-of-the-art systemic therapy suite at BC Cancer – Kelowna.

“The suite is essential to meeting the growing demand for cancer treatments in the Interior, while also providing the infrastructure to bring early phase clinical trials to Kelowna for the first time,” according to the BC Cancer Foundation. “This will ensure patients have timely access to the latest life-saving treatments closer to home and establish Kelowna as a centre for excellence in patient-focused care.”

The donation is in addition to the Bannisters’ $100,000 in 2020 to help establish BC Cancer – Kelowna’s Brachytherapy chair role, which is held by Dr. Juanita Crook.

“The work done by BC Cancer – Kelowna’s dedicated staff as they both provide care to current patients and conduct the innovative research needed to improve outcomes is nothing short of remarkable. With three generations of our family living in the Okanagan, we know the importance of having world-class cancer care close to home and are proud to help ensure this continues to be available for our communities for the generations to come,” said Chad and Lyn Bannister on behalf of the family.

Dr. Ross Halperin, BC Cancer – Kelowna’s executive medical director, says the family’s gift will have an “incredible impact on how we’re able to treat patients in Kelowna.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for cancer research and we’re proud to be among the busiest clinical trials site in the province. This donation will help us expand even further and be at the forefront of the most important areas of research, like immunotherapy.”

The donation is the largest gift to the suite to date and the most significant donation received by the BC Cancer Foundation from a family in the Interior.

To join the Bannisters in transforming cancer care in the Interior, visit: https://bccancerfoundation.com/why-give/beyond-belief/interior/.

Bannister Automotive owns dealerships in Vernon, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Penticton, Kamloops and beyond.

Lyn and Joanne Bannister purchased their first dealership in Barrhead, Alta., in 1979 before selling it and moving to Vernon in 1990 and purchasing the Buick, GMC, Chevrolet dealership and growing from there.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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