I was a mother of three children, the youngest under three years old when I was treated for advanced cancer. After initial surgery (that was unsuccessful — too much involvement with vital organs), three different rounds of chemo, and unsuccessful effort to harvest my own stem cells, I received stem cells from my one full biological sister. I spent 27 days in isolation (graft vs host disease) and had many side effects from treatments.
I was able to return to work 2 years later, and 18 years ago, I decided to give back. I have volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society, providing peer support for patients and families across Canada before, during and after stem cell transplants. I know the importance of Canadian Blood Services (being the recipient of many, many blood products throughout my own journey) and know how we can make a difference in others’ lives by donating blood and time.