Michael Konviser, MD, co-founded the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation as a result of his experience with the disease. His father was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2003, and passed away in 2005. Michael graduated in medicine at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario and is currently doing a fellowship in anaesthesiology at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. Having experienced mesothelioma first hand as a family member, as well as being a physician, Michael has an understanding of the personal and social side of the disease that confronts patients and families, as well as an understanding of the medicine and science behind mesothelioma. This makes him sensitive and aware of the issues faced by patients and families, as well as being in touch with the medical community. Michael’s experience on both sides of the equation allows him to provide unique input on multiple fronts on CMF’s mandate. Michael lives with his wife, Jacqueline, and daughter in Toronto.
Eudice Goldberg, MD, co-founder of the CMF, became interested in this area as a result of her personal experience of having her spouse diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. In addition to her personal experience, her medical background as a physician has also been a motivating factor for her in founding this charitable foundation. Together with Michael Konviser, her son, she has been intent on commemorating her partner, Arthur Konviser, who passed away from the disease in 2005. She and Michael are still working to make the network of both patients and families, as well as of health professionals in Canada, much stronger than it is today. Eudice is working with others primarily on strategic direction, fundraising, building a health network to improve early diagnosis and facilitation of treatment, as well as liaising with the medical community involved in both research and clinical care of patients with mesothelioma.
Adam R. Freedman is a long-standing member of the CMF’s board of directors. Dedicated to the goals and objectives of the CMF, Adam assists the CMF with fundraising efforts and strategy development. Adam spent his university years in Halifax, Kingston and Quito, Ecuador. Currently, Adam lives in Toronto with his wife, Jaclyn Jacobs, their son, Mason, and their rambunctious terrier, Samson. When he's not practising corporate law, Adam enjoys canoeing, hiking, hockey and golf.
Gabi Mandowsky has been on the board of directors of the CMF for over 5 years and is proud to work with the whole CMF team to help support patients and families dealing with this difficult disease. After graduating with a JD/MBA from Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business, Gabi practiced corporate law at Torys LLP, a leading Canadian law firm. During her time there, she focused her practice in the corporate and capital markets group. She has represented and advised a number of public and private corporate clients in complex securities and mergers and acquisitions transactions. Gabi joined Aver Media Finance in 2012 and was responsible for the business and legal affairs of the company until April 2013, when she assumed the role of Senior Relationship Manager. She now manages a portfolio of client relationships, negotiating, executing and monitoring a portfolio of production and corporate loans in the media and entertainment industries. Gabi and her husband, Ori, and their daughter and son, currently live in Toronto.
Alissa M. Boardley became involved with the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation shortly after her father was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2009. Having experienced first hand the feelings of helplessness and isolation that often come with a mesothelioma diagnosis, Alissa is keen to assist the CMF in developing the tools and support network so desperately needed by those directly affected by this disease in Canada, as well as the medical professionals overseeing their care.
Debbie Bianco is a past board member of Weizmann Canada and of Oolagen Community Services where she was a board member for nine years and recently was appointed as a lifetime board member. Her hope as a director of the CMF is to help raise public awareness as well as sufficient funds so that one day there will be a cure for mesothelioma.
Christopher W. Lee graduated Medicine in 1991 from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and subsequently specialized in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Since 1998, he is a Medical Oncologist with the British Columbia Cancer Agency and the Surrey Memorial Hospital and, the Medical Director of the Edward Miller Clinical Research Unit at the BC Cancer Agency - Fraser Valley Centre. He is a clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and a member of several societies and committees, including the Quality of Life Committee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) Clinical Trials Group. He is also Chair of the Systemic Policy Group of the BC Cancer Agency Lung Tumour Group and of the Mesothelioma and Thymoma Working Group, a subcommittee of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Lung Disease Site Committee.
Dorn Cassidy lives with his wife and children in Chestermere, a small town outside of Calgary. Dorn and his family felt compelled to get involved with the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation when their father was recently diagnosed with MPM. While their path ultimately led them to Toronto where successful treatment took place as part of a ground breaking clinical trial, they are determined to help others avoid the difficulties experienced along the way. He is determined to help others by increasing awareness, improving screening methods and establishing major fundraising events to advance mesothelioma research.
Dr. Siu-Chung (Quincy) Chu has been a medical oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta since April 2005. He trained in medical oncology in London, Ontario and did clinical research fellowship in novel anti-cancer drugs at the Institute for Drug Development in San Antonio, Texas from 2002 to 2005, one of the largest and most prominent phase I units in the world. Dr. Chu’s current clinical and research interests encompass phase I and II studies with novel anti-cancer agents, development of novel anti-cancer drugs in lung and sarcoma as well as biomarker development. Since 2006, in collaboration with Drs. Michael Sawyer, Jennifer Spratlin and Randeep Sangha, Dr. Chu has established a phase I unit at the Cross Cancer Institute. Collaborative preclinical research in the discovery of biomarker and novel anti-cancer targets are ongoing with both basic scientists and translational scientists in the University of Alberta and other institutions. Dr. Chu serves as a scientific advisor to various pharmaceutical companies, Lung Cancer Canada, the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation and other patient support organizations to enhance research and timely access to both novel diagnostic and therapeutic advances in anti-cancer treatment. Dr. Chu is a reviewer for peer review of top rated oncology journals, including Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Clinical Lung Cancer, Investigational New Drugs, and an associate editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Sarcoma.
Andy Querin joined the CMF Board after losing his father to the disease in 2012 and determined to assist in helping raise awareness and funding for a cure. He has served as past board member with the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) and has spent more than 25+ years working in the Advertising and Marketing industry in Toronto and Montreal. Andy has held executive leadership roles with various digital and emerging media companies in Canada. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.
Alec Farquar is a lawyer with a long career involved with asbestos disease compensation and prevention. He is currently coordinator of Asbestos Free Canada. Previously, Alec was Director of the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA), an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Labour which advises and represents non-unionized workers in their workers’ compensation claims and appeals. This has included involvement in hundreds of asbestos disease cases. Alec came to the OWA from the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers where he was Managing Director, and before that from the Ministry of Labour where he was the Director of the Occupational Health and Safety Branch (OHSB). In both positions, Alec was extensively involved in detection and prevention of asbestos disease. Alec has extensive experience in both workers' compensation and occupational health and safety. He has a long history of working with vulnerable worker communities including immigrant workers, women and young workers. He has also worked extensively on partnerships with the employer community around dispute resolution, health and safety and return to work including innovative joint return-to-work partnerships. He is fluent in Italian and French which has helped him connect directly with the francophone and Italian-Canadian communities. A graduate of Princeton University, Alec also has an L.L.B. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He has also served on the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section and has received the section’s Ron Ellis award for excellence.
Lee Loftus is well known throughout Canada for his involvement in Workplace Occupational Health & Safety. Lee has been a longtime advocate for the identification, removal, control and disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials in both the workplace and in public locations. Lee has also been a strong advocate for victims of asbestos and he continues to drive changes for compensation, awareness and research. He has served as business manager of the BC Insulators Union from 2008 to present, as well as from 1992 to 1999. He has been president of the BC Building Trades since 2009, and previously served on the Board of Governors for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Council. He has a long history of serving on boards, associations, committees, and councils, including the Canadian Standards Association, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, Insulation Industry Apprenticeship Board, Vancouver and District Metal Trades Council, as well as various WorkSafeBC committees. He was appointed the Acting Chair of the Board at WorkSafeBC in May 2020.