I’m a father, afternoon host on 102.1 the Edge, and a cancer survivor.
It started in May 2020 with a lump on the left side of my neck. Was it stress from moving, the pandemic, or raising a newborn? Or was this one of the increasingly many signs of COVID-19? When one lump became three—and spread to the other side of my neck—it was time to see a doctor. Bloodwork became an ultrasound and then a biopsy, which revealed everyone’s greatest fear: cancer.
“Four quick rounds” of chemotherapy became seven—plus radiation—and nothing seemed to work. There were a lot of emotions during that time: panic when one form of treatment didn’t work and fear the next wouldn’t, either. But thanks to a clinical trial at Princess Margaret Hospital, I finally reached remission and was eligible for a life-saving stem cell transplant. I was without my young daughter for three weeks while I received treatment in Toronto and recovered at Lakeridge Hospital in Oshawa. The transplant was a success and I was able to return home.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada continues to be there for me and my family. In fact, it has funded research leading to solutions like the one which saved my life. This is on top of the support services it provides for Canadians experiencing blood cancers. It truly is an honour to be even a small part of the amazing work the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada does.
For so many people experiencing blood cancer—and their loved ones—finding out you've got cancer is something you will always remember. And I remember distinctly hearing, "Hodgkin's Lymphoma—that's the easy one! You'll be fine." As if chemotherapy and radiation is a beachside vacation. But I internalized that and thought, well, maybe I don't need a lot of help. Maybe this will be easy.
The reality is I did require help. And I got a lot of it, including from this organization. Whether it was research funding, caregiving funding, or just a phone number to call and someone to hear my story, the LLSC was there for me. It made me realize that none of us can do this alone. And it truly does require a village.