In 2000, Ev McDowell was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. This is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. Multiple myeloma causes abnormal plasma cells to multiply uncontrollably in the bone marrow and “crowd out” other types of cells that our body needs to be healthy.
At the time of Ev’s diagnosis, the life expectancy for patients with this disease was only three to five years. Today, thanks to the team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Ev has been in remission for almost 19 years.
Lynn Danby was enjoying retirement life with her husband of 40 years and her grandchildren when a chronic runny nose prompted a visit to her doctor.
It was the fall of 2013 when Lynn noticed that her nose had been running a lot, she assumed it was nothing serious but thought it was best to mention it to her doctor and see if there was anything they could recommend for her. Her doctor recognized that this wasn’t just a common cold, and ordered a scan for Lynn. The result that came back shocked Lynn - cancer. A sinus tumour. Lynn’s doctor said that if they had found the…
How Clinical Trials Save Lives - Jody's Story
Port Elgin’s Jody Mahon has a strong reason to advocate for clinical trials.
“If I hadn’t participated in the COMET trial, I don’t think I would be here today,” she says.
COMET is an international clinical trial, led here in London by Dr. David Palma and partially funded by generous donors, which tests stereotactic radiation – high-dose radiation targeted to specific spots – in patients who have had cancer spread to other areas of the body. This was unfortunately the case for Jody, who has been battling metastatic breast cancer since 2012.
Sidney Robertson knows what it is to struggle with mental health. She also knows the power of sharing her story with others.
One October day during her grade 11 year, a vicious act of domestic violence left Sidney and her family reeling with shock, confusion, and long-lasting mental trauma. With events unfolding at such a rapid pace, Sidney didn’t immediately recognize the impact her situation was having on her. Between speaking with authorities and visiting the hospital, Sidney did her best to remain involved in school and her community. At the time, those came as welcomed…
When Beth French of Kincardine, Ontario became pregnant again; she knew she needed the support of the high-risk maternal fetal medicine team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).
At 24 weeks into her first pregnancy, Beth developed severe complications. Tragically, her daughter was stillborn.
Though reeling from the loss, Beth and her husband Glen felt incredibly grateful for the care they received. Beth left the hospital clutching a memory box close to her chest, which had been caringly created by LHSC staff and volunteers.
In the spring of 2018, Beth was…
Chad Gibbons was just 21 years old when he experienced kidney failure, and had to be put on the transplant list.
In the winter of 1999, Chad began experiencing extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and trouble sleeping. His family doctor referred him to a kidney specialist in Windsor, Chad’s hometown, who confirmed that Chad’s kidney was failing. This was especially concerning because Chad was born with only one kidney.
He remembers how he felt after receiving his diagnosis: “At first it was nice to have an explanation of what was happening to me, but…
Melissa Selmes was a 31-year-old new mother when she was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. Originally given just one year to live, Melissa and her medical team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) have fought to get her to where she is now – cancer free.
Melissa’s story began in 2010 when she was pregnant with her daughter. As her daughter grew inside of her, so did an ovarian cyst. When the time came for Melissa to have her C-section, the cyst had grown to an 18-lb tumour. Her doctors removed the tumour, along with her right ovary. The tumour was tested, and…
Third-year mechanical engineering student, Adam Keller, had many hopes and dreams for his future. Surrounded by friends, a loving family, and a passion for design work, his life was turned upside down on his 21st birthday. “There was quite a while where I had a lump on my neck, but I didn’t think anything of it because it was not painful,” Adam recalls.
It wasn’t until Adam started experiencing back pain that kept him up at night which motivated him to book an appointment with his doctor. His doctor performed a series of tests and ordered a biopsy for the lump on Adam’s neck. For…
A Helping Hand in the Darkest Hour
Words can’t quite describe the impact of the Mental Health Patient Assistance Fund, which is 100 per cent donor funded. For those on the receiving end, this fund can be life-saving.
Jake was already a patient of LHSC’s Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) when he came home from a group session to find his mother had died by suicide in the apartment they shared together. Reeling, he immediately called PEPP. Not only did the program provide…
Paying Forward the Kindness of Strangers
Donate for Giving Tuesday
Sometimes the smallest gesture can have the greatest impact. For Carol Weekes Schacter, it was a brief moment five years ago at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP).
Carol’s sister Judy was undergoing treatment for an aggressive brain tumour known as a glioblastoma and had her head shaved for brain surgery. Carol wanted to get her sister a nice wig, but knew Judy would prefer to pay for it herself; however, Judy was…
Fowler Kennedy gets varsity soccer player game ready
When a knee injury almost ended Tiffany’s varsity soccer career, the team at Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (FKSMC) created a care plan to get her back to where she belongs.
Before she came to London for university, Tiffany tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of the key ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint – and received reconstruction surgery in Toronto. But Tiffany was still in pain while playing for Western University’s varsity soccer team.
When Randy Bowden lost his taste buds, he says it was one of the lowest points in his life.
It may seem like an insignificant side effect, given other complications that can come with cancer treatments. Yet to someone who cared so much about food, it was worse than the cancer diagnosis itself.
“Even when I found out I had head and neck cancer, it was not as bad as when I found out that I could not taste anything,” he said, recalling the sadness he felt. “And they couldn’t tell me when it was going to come back or if it was going to come back.”
On May 4, 2018, Desiree Ford was in a tragic car accident that claimed the lives of her friend and her dog.
Desiree had to be airlifted in to Victoria Hospital due to the severity of her injuries and required seven complete blood transfusions within the first 20 hours of her accident. Doctors weren’t sure she would make it through her first 24 hours, but she pulled through.
Thanks to the work of the doctors and nurses at London Health Sciences Center (LHSC), Desiree survived and has made significant strides towards healing.
Desiree’s injuries were…
It’s hard to imagine that life as you know it can change overnight. This was the case for thirty-eight-year-old Julie Horton, mother of three, who simply woke one morning to extreme discomfort in her neck. Eventually, the pain became so severe she couldn’t perform daily tasks like sleeping, driving or even hugging her children.
“It was like one day the pain wasn’t there and the next day, it was. It seemed to just gradually get worse and worse, causing the muscles all around to get very tight and sore,” explains Julie.
After several years, the pain in Julie’s neck…
“Without FEMAP, I don't know if I would be here today. FEMAP helped me find my voice and gave me the courage to use it,” says FEMAP patient Tandra Lepine, who bravely shares her story with the goal of helping others.
Tandra Lepine remembers having struggled with her mental health since she was a young child. When she was 9, she started experiencing a lot of unrest at home. She remembers witnessing a fight between her parents that led to the police coming to her home, which resulted in Tandra and her siblings having to stay at a women’s shelter with her mother for several weeks…
For most, the teens early twenties are a time of discovery. A time where you try to figure out who you are and where you want to go with the rest of your life. But for Dylan Fournier, a St. Mary’s native, those years were hijacked by cancer.
Now, with the help of Access Cancer Therapies (ACT) Now and Dr. Stephen Welch of LHSC, Dylan’s life is no longer dictated by cancer.
In 2012, during his freshman year of high school, Dylan was diagnosed with colitis. The…
Dennis' COVID-19 Journey
Dennis and his wife Patricia fell ill with COVID-19 following a turbulent eight weeks of caring for their hospitalized daughter in Toronto. Their daughter had major surgery and complications, and three weeks following her release, she tested positive for COVID-19.
Dennis and Patricia returned to London immediately to self-isolate and notified the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU). Patricia developed a bad cough and shortness of breath, and was very tired for about a week, but she…
Brenda Thorne is a loving mother, wife, and grandmother. In 2015, Brenda almost lost her life to multiple organ failure. Thanks to the incredible doctors and staff at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) she survived and is back where she belongs – with her family.
For years Brenda had experienced significant fatigue, but she attributed it to her busy lifestyle – teaching, being an organist, as well as the demands that come with motherhood. In 2012, Brenda had developed digestive issues, and with her continued fatigue Brenda decided to seek medical advice. Through testing in…
A chance visit to the Emergency Department (ED) led to life-changing news for patient Candace Miller.
In September of 2019, Candace woke up in the middle of the night with a very strange and concerning feeling on the right side of her head. Her husband took her to the ED at London Health Sciences Centre’s Victoria Hospital.
At first, the ED doctors and nurses suspected a stroke. They performed a CT angiogram to check her blood vessels for blockages and referred her to a neurologist at the Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) clinic.
No signs of stroke showed on…
In October of 2017, Cristian Castro was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This particular cancer begins in the white blood cells of the lymphatic system and can spread anywhere in the body.
Cristian’s diagnosis came with an 80% chance of survival.
At the time of his diagnosis, Cristian was only 29 years old with a full life ahead of him. Because he was young and lead a healthy, active lifestyle, this life-changing news came as a shock to both him and his family. Although devastated and afraid of the diagnosis, Cristian’s family…
Every year, one in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers for Canadian men and the third deadliest. Yet still, many will put their prostate exam on the back burner because of associated stigmas.
Fortunately, this was not the case for John Oliveira, whose diligence in asking for the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test well before the recommended age saved his life.
A hardworking family man from Wallaceburg, John knew that in order to live a long and healthy life, he needed to take control of his health – even though…
Behind her smiling, bright-eyed, cheerful face is a disease that has deeply affected Carol Regts and her family – ovarian cancer. However with faith, a positive mindset and determination to live her best life, Carol is using her diagnosis as an opportunity to spread the message about early detection and help raise money for research.
In the summer of 2016, Carol began feeling “yucky” all the time. She was lethargic and had no motivation, even to do the things she once loved like volunteering and crafting. She was constantly bloated to the point where…
The saying ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ could not be more true for Gord Williamson.
After doctors in Sarnia discovered he had throat cancer, Gord underwent 65 bouts of radiation and more than seven surgeries to save his life. Unfortunately, it left him without a voice. Today, thanks to the Head and Neck Cancer team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Gord is talking with the help of a voice prosthesis – and he’s got much more to say.
As a young adult, Gord moved from his hometown of Brampton to Sarnia to pursue post-secondary education. After meeting…
Jeff and Heather Turnbull
Prostate cancer is in all-too-common disease, with one in seven men diagnosed in their lifetime. Heather Turnbull was aware of these frightening statistics and convinced her husband to get checked out… just in time. She tells her story:
I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have regular checkups with your doctor. It was a year ago that my husband Jeff went in for surgery for prostate cancer. Make sure your husband, partner,…
Martie Grof-Iannelli is a loving mother, wife and happily retired Librarian and University Instructor. For twenty-three years, she taught in the Master’s program of Library and Information Science at Western, and later became the Senior Manager of Library and Media Services at Fanshawe.
Martie enjoys editing written works in her spare time and has always dreamed of writing her own novel. Eight years ago, cancer was the furthest thing from her mind; little did she know her life would be uprooted with an unexpected cancer diagnosis. Years later, Martie longs to give back by…