New systemic therapy unit at Cross Cancer Institute to be named in honour of Gay Young thanks to $5 million in donations to Alberta Cancer Foundation

December 16, 2022 – Alberta – Today, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Cross Cancer Institute have announced they will be able to relocate and expand their current systemic therapy unit into a larger, brighter, and quieter space that honours the beloved Gay Young. This is all thanks to $5 million in donations from friends and family of Gay.

The new treatment area will allow for much needed improvements regarding the comfort and privacy of those undergoing chemotherapy. It will also provide new treatment beds and chairs, which will allow staff to provide more efficient care. More than 50% of patients facing cancer will need to rely on systemic therapy, such as chemotherapy, and will have appointments lasting as long as six hours, with patients often needing to come back multiple times per week over the span of many months. This significantly more private and quiet area will let in plenty of natural light and provide more space.

“We know the bright minds that work together under this roof have made the Cross Cancer Institute a national leader in ground-breaking research. When we pair this research with compassionate care – we are really changing the way patients face cancer. Our sincerest thanks to those who have helped raise an incredible $5M to create a space that honours one of the most generous members of our community – Gay Young,” says Dr. Chris Eagle, Board Chair of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Gay Young led the way for multiple not-for-profits across the province, dedicating her time, attention and leadership to help many people and organizations. She managed a terminal cancer diagnosis for four and a half years, sadly passing away last year.

“Gay was an incredible mother, wife, friend and community member. I will never forget her giving spirit and determined personality. Gay’s philanthropic efforts have touched so many hearts and homes, and this tribute to her is a beautiful gesture. Gay lit up every room that she walked into, and it seems appropriate to name this new systemic therapy space that will create a much brighter and positive experience for those who need it after her,” says Lynn Mandel, friend of Gay Young.

The official name of the new unit will be the Gay Young Systemic Therapy Unit, located on the 5th floor of the Cross Cancer Institute. Gay Young was treated at the Cross Cancer Institute and is remembered for her warmth, kindness and generosity. This is just a small step in acknowledging the legacy she has created.

“I am grateful to the staff at the Cross Cancer Institute and all the people that helped or supported Gay during her cancer journey. I would like to say thank you to our friends, the community, and anyone else that has given a gift in honour of Gay. I hope this new systemic therapy unit provides hope and comfort as Gay always did,” says Ralph Young, loving husband of Gay Young.

About the Alberta Cancer Foundation:

The Alberta Cancer Foundation directly supports the 17 cancer centres across the province, including the new Calgary Cancer Centre and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. Our purpose is to create more moments for Albertans facing cancer by inspiring our community to give to innovation in detection, treatment, and care. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to invest in research and care initiatives that will provide real-life returns for Albertans facing cancer. We support every Albertan, no matter what type of cancer they face or where they live in the province.


For media inquiries, contact:

Breanne Kraus
Interim VP, Communications & Marketing
Alberta Cancer Foundation
(780) 905-9273

Kelly Liebe’s journey with cancer started when she was 35, in 1998. From the moment she was diagnosed, everything changed. Kelly participated in a breast cancer treatment clinical trial. Twelve years later, this clinical trial would evolve into the treatment her daughter, Chrissy, was put on in 2010 for her breast cancer.


mother and daughter with same cancer

Kelly (right) with her daughter, Chrissy (left).

Kelly tells their story…

“At the age of 35, my path was about to change, and I would learn to navigate through this vast unknown. Thankfully I was never alone. Surrounded by my family, friends, and medical network, I gathered strength, knowledge, and courage through my breast cancer journey.

“The initial diagnosis was one of the worst events in my life. I remember the day I found the lump. I went to emergency I was so afraid. When I saw the doctor, I just knew from the events that unfolded next that it wasn’t good.

“I was shuffled from test to test that day. In between, I would call my husband who was at home looking after the kids.  He tried to reassure me and be optimistic.

“Within the first week I had a biopsy, and it was sent in for testing. I was so anxious. I lost ten pounds, my body ached from my head to my toes.

“When the doctor came in and said you have breast cancer.  I remember looking at my husband and the pain mirrored within his eyes can still be captured in my mind today.

“My parents came up on December 28th and surgery for a mastectomy, on the left side, was set for January 2, 1998. I was surrounded by nurses and doctors who were absolutely wonderful to me. Even though I lost a breast, I could still breathe, feel, and walk – I could still love.

“Later that month we went to the Cross Cancer Clinic in Edmonton. I was told I had stage 3 aggressive and grave triple-negative breast cancer with lymph node involvement.”

Kelly was given a few treatment options and officially decided on joining a clinical trial. Due to joining the clinical trial, anything new that pertained to her cancer diagnosis had to be overseen at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. Kelly and her family were living in Fort McMurray at the time. Many of their days were spent driving the five-hour trip to Edmonton from Northern Alberta.


“In 2010, our daughter Chrissy, a single mother with two children, found a lump in her breast. She was diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer as I had in 1998.

“At the age of 32, our beautiful daughter had her breast removed and began her high-dose treatment, which was the refined version of my clinical trial.

“You realize that you are doing a clinical trial to better future treatment for others, you just don’t realize it will be your own daughter sitting in that chair.

“I wish the story ended there but sadly it does not. Chrissy’s cancer returned in 2012 with a vengeance and she was given one week to live. During that time, we obtained the rights to be guardians of our grandchildren, her children, Chloe and Ethan.

Cancer patient memorial

A picture of Chrissy on the back of Kelly’s bike at the Tour Alberta for Cancer.

“She rallied and pulled through to the point where we could bring her home, after three months in the hospital. In August of 2012 that is what we did.

“On December 9th Chrissy took a turn for the worse and we called the home care nurse in. She arrived, went up to see Chrissy and then came down to see me.

“I will remember that moment forever I was standing in the laundry room and the nurse came in; she told me it was time.  I thought to myself, ‘what do you mean it’s time?’

“The next morning, Chrissy took her last breath, and my breath was ripped from me. I will forever carry her in my heart.

“In November 2016 at my routine check-up, a lump was found. It proved to be early-stage breast cancer and on December 10, 2016, it was confirmed.  How ironic to find that out on the date of Chrissy’s death but four years later. I thought to myself – I know you are there, love – I’ll be strong.



“So, our story continues, and we move with the day.  We are still surrounded by our family which continues to grow with new additions.

“I would like to express such love and gratitude to all those at the Cross Cancer Institute who have played a role in not only our family’s journey but the journey of all who have walked through those doors.”


Read her husband’s story here.

You never know whose life you could change simply by talking about your own, share your story today.