The Honourable Michael H. Wilson, who passed away on February 10, 2019 from cancer, talks about his first exposure to the disease and encountering it again when his grandson Patrick was diagnosed. He also talks about the importance of raising funds for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to enable life-saving cancer research.

The passing of Michael is a loss keenly felt by his family, friends and colleagues, and all of us at The Princess Margaret. As a former Finance Minister of Canada, past Ambassador to the United States, and a champion of many important causes, his positive impact on Canadians will be felt for generations.

Dear friend,

It’s hard to believe it has been more than two years since Patrick was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma. We are forever grateful for your love and support of Patrick and our family throughout his cancer journey, and of our subsequent efforts to fundraise for that cause.

Through challenging times, there have been moments of light and hope. One of these moments was developing our connection with Dr. Abha Gupta and her team at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, who provided Patrick with excellent, compassionate medical care.

We wanted to give back, so in early 2017, we launched the Wilson Sarcoma Research Fund.

With relatively rare cancers like sarcoma, researchers need a way to capture information, find patterns, and learn from each part of every patient’s journey. That is why we are helping fund the development of the Canadian Sarcoma Registry, a research and bioinformatics platform that will benefit Canadians and people around the world.

This exciting venture will support collaborative research with experts at cancer centres locally, nationally and internationally to find new and better ways to treat sarcoma.

We have set an ambitious goal to raise $1 million to help advance discovery for sarcoma.

We would appreciate your help sharing this campaign with your families and friends.

If you’d like to make a donation in Patrick’s honour to help fight sarcoma, please click donate below.

1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Our family is united by an important cause. Together, we can make a difference.


The Wilson Family


Our Story

In March 2016, Patrick Wilson was in his first year at Florida Southern College starting a new phase of his life, making new friends and focusing on competitive water-skiing.

He was just 18 years old.

Everything changed when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare form of sarcoma.

A Devastating Diagnosis

Patrick’s cancer started in his pelvis but, by the time it was found, it had spread to his his lungs and lymph nodes.

He returned home to Toronto and began treatment at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the Top 5 cancer research centres in the world.

The aggressive chemotherapy left him weak and bedridden for weeks at a time.

My Cancer Journey

Despite the gruelling treatment, Patrick wanted to get back some normalcy and returned to school. However, the side effects of his treatment were so severe he was hospitalized for a week, with a white blood cell count of zero and a fever of 105 degrees.

Thanks to Patrick’s resilience and the tremendous support of his family, Patrick is now fully recovered and back at school full-time.

Finding Hope: Geoff and Joanne Wilson

Patrick, along with his father, Geoff, and grandfather, the Honorable Michael H. Wilson, and their family, established the Wilson Sarcoma Research Fund to create a national sarcoma research initiative that could help patients around the world.

About RMS

Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare form of sarcoma, with a 20 to 50 percent survival rate.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma to occur in children. It is rare in adults. RMS can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly develops in the head and neck and in the organs of the reproductive system and urinary system.

Symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma

The most common sites affected by this disease are:

The most common sign is a mass or swelling that doesn’t go away and gets bigger over time. It may or may not be painful. Other signs and symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma include:

  • a bulging eye
  • headaches
  • difficulty urinating or having bowel movements
  • blood in the urine
  • bleeding from the nose, throat, vagina or rectum

Support the Wilson Sarcoma Research Fund

The Wilson Sarcoma Research Fund officially launched in the Spring of 2017, with more than $275,000 donated by the Wilson family.

With a $1 million goal, the money raised will go towards creating an innovative sarcoma and bioinformatics program, the first of its kind in Canada, at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

This international database of tissue samples could help patients around the world.