Members of Alberta Ride teams, part of the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, take part in a fundraiser for World Cancer Day.

Each year, Feb. 4 is recognized as a day to raise awareness for advancements made in cancer research and highlight the continued need for future innovation.

The Alberta Cancer Foundation is the official fundraising partner for the 17 cancer centres in the province and invests in research and programs that will have a direct impact on patients and provide real-life returns for Albertans battling the disease.

On Tuesday, Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre is hosting a celebration and unveiling a new campaign to support the Patient Financial Assistance Program.

The program provides support for Albertans who are undergoing active treatment so they can focus on what matters most — their healing.

Last year the Patient Financial Assistance Program was accessed nearly 6,000 times by more than 1,000 patients thanks to support from Alberta Cancer Foundation donors.

It’s an eight-week campaign to raise funds for the flagship program.

The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer is also hosting a fundraiser for World Cancer Day.

Throughout the day, Alberta Ride teams will join in cycling 600 kilometres collectively, and will post their efforts to social media. Those teams will then nominate other Alberta Ride teams to do the same and use the hashtag #ShowUsYourKMs. 

This year more than 220,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer. That means every day more than 600 Canadians will hear the words “you have cancer."

Silas Rutley heard those words while living in Banff in 2015, which started him on a year-and-a-half long journey. The patient financial assistance program helped him cover some of his accommodation and gas expenses during treatment.

“I was able to focus on just my health, getting better instead of stressing, my family stressing about having financial help and assistance paying for rent in two different towns, paying for gas, paying for food, paying for everything,” said Rutley.

Phoebe Dey is with the Alberta Cancer Foundation and said the disease touches us all in some way, even those not diagnosed.

"One-in-two Albertans will hear the words ‘you have cancer’ in their lifetimes and that’s an awfully high number," said Dey. "And that’s our friends, our loved ones, our neighbours our colleagues. We want to make sure no matter where (patients) are in this province, no matter what kind of cancer they’re facing, that when they hear those three words, we will offer three in return, and that’s 'we will help'."