Clinician Scientists at CCMR Participate in Challenge for Life

  • 7/14/21 10:56 AM
  • CCMB Communications & Public Affairs

Each year, many CCMB staff participate in CancerCare Manitoba Foundation’s Challenge for Life. 

Today, we share Dr. Versha Banerji's story. Dr. Banerji is a senior scientist in CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute and hematologist in the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, CCMB. She is part of Team Cancercure for Challenge for Life. 

I am a Clinician Scientist at CancerCare Manitoba and Senior Scientist at Cancer Care Manitoba Research Institute.  This is my 6th year participating in the Challenge for life and my 10th year supporting it. My reasons to participate in the Challenge for Life are many:

My father has been treated for prostate cancer at Cancer Care Manitoba. He is a strong, brave man, who took the bus from work for his treatments to show me what tenacity is. I walk for him.

I am a physician that sees patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and hairy cell leukemia (HCL). They face tremendous uncertainty in their journey with their disease along with the unpredictability of progression and being older when they may be treated. They share my excitement when I bring them new treatments. They have taught me resilience and hope. I walk for them.

I am a scientist that educates the next generation of clinicians and scientists, from undergraduate, to co-op, BSc Med, Graduate, medical students, resident and fellows. My research is based on what I see in my clinical practice. How therapies have changed outcomes as we have better treatments for all patients, not just the fittest ones. Do all people benefit from these therapies? My passion is to meld the science behind the disease with clinical practice – known as ‘translational research’. My research focuses on the powerhouse that drives the cell and how it aids in leukemia cell survival. As a result, designing treatments that target this survival mechanism of the leukemia cell is essential for their demise. I could not have achieved these goals without the support of the Foundation. They fund my research, support highly qualified personnel in my team like Cheryl, Subir and Eileen and my students (so many to thank), and have enabled me to be one of the leading CLL Clinician Scientists in the country.

As a scientist, I walk for the Foundation to help raise funds which supports research scholarships and fellowships to educate students, residents and clinical and research fellows. And I walk to raise funds for the operating and infrastructure grants that bring cutting edge technologies and support highly qualified lab personnel.

Thank you, Dr. Banerji, for sharing your story!  

Choose your Challenge… because you can!


Register Now for Challenge for Life!