In August 2018, Jamie Ficko, Humboldt Broncos alumni and Humboldt resident, began to feel unwell. Being in his late 30s and in excellent physical shape, he knew almost immediately that something was not right. He was exhausted and noticed swollen lymph nodes on his body. After several doctor visits and tests, in October 2018 he received a diagnosis that he never expected -- acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Jamie’s cancer was aggressive, and treatment would need to start immediately in Saskatoon. He initially responded well to treatment, which included blood and platelet transfusions, and was able to return home in late November. Sadly, he began to develop new symptoms soon after Christmas. The cancer had progressed and he required a lifesaving stem cell transplant.
Emotions ran high when he found out there were no matches on the stem cell registry. While Jamie began a new course of intense treatment, his family and friends rallied to find a match. When Hockey Gives Blood heard Jamie’s story, they stepped in and ran swabbing events throughout the community. In the end, it was a partial match from his father that would save his life. The transplant was successful in February 2019 and he began his road to recovery. Today, Jamie is healthy, active and back to playing hockey. He is also an assistant coach for his son’s minor hockey team.
“I am so thankful to Hockey Gives Blood for working tirelessly when I needed a stem cell match,” said Jamie. “Although the match ultimately came from my father, Hockey Gives Blood created awareness about the need for more stem cell registrants among a younger generation. The people who swabbed to help me, could help save someone else’s life. It could be your relative, your friend or a teammate. What do you have to lose?”