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…
Dr. Tracy Sexton & Linda Kuska
Linda Kuska and Tracy Sexton have a few things in common: they are both mothers, they work in health care, and they are both breast cancer survivors. For the last five years, Linda and Tracy have been sitting beside each other for four hours every week as paddling partners on the Rowbust dragon boat rowing team and have become close friends.
In May of 1999, Linda Kuska was working as a registered nurse at LHSC’s former South Street Hospital. She was a young mother with no family history of breast cancer, and yet she noticed a small lump in her breast. After…
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.
The Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer
In June 2019, Londoner Rick Baker and some of his family members were cycling one of the toughest summits in France: Mont Ventoux. This 2,000 metre-high grind to the blustery peak has been considered one of the most gruelling sections of past Tours de France. When 55-year-old Rick reached the halfway mark, he doubted his ability to finish – each push depleting what little energy he had.
Rick was three and a half years into a stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and on a heavy combination of active chemotherapy.
Bob Hardie & The Hardie Family Foundation
The family that keeps on giving for Giving Tuesday
For over 20 years, Bob Hardie has been an unwavering supporter of London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF), and is no stranger to philanthropy and giving back. In addition to his great work in prostate cancer research, Bob has contributed in so many other ways; whether it’s with his time or money, Bob has generously supported LHSF since his first gift in 1996!
The toll cancer can take on a patient…
Jessica Thompson of Sarnia was just 24 years old when she noticed a lump on her stomach.
She didn’t think much of it at first, but it grew so quickly within two months that people began to ask her if she was pregnant.
Knowing this was not the case, Jessica went to her local health unit, where they performed several tests and sent her for an ultrasound and a CT scan at the Sarnia General Hospital. The results of the scan confirmed her fears…
Jason Supports A Need That Hits Close to Home
McDonald’s franchisee Jason Lessif is a community-oriented family man with a desire to help others. That’s why when Barb and Paul Hebert spoke about their son’s tragic battle with mental illness at last year’s Country Classic Auction; it struck a chord with Jason.
“I was blown away,” Jason says. “My heart went out to them and it just made me realize that we have to do something as a community. So I put my hand up, and a whole bunch of guys at my table put…
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…
Fellowships train the next generation of cancer specialists
With new discoveries made in health care every day, the practice of medicine is constantly evolving. It is therefore essential that physicians continue to hone and refine their skills long after receiving their MDs.
At the London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP), fellowships give physicians the opportunity to become experts in a specific area of cancer care. Fellowship training may involve both clinical and research activities. Donor support provided the necessary funding for the following fellowships:
UROLOGIC ONCOLOGY FELLOWSHIP
The prestigious Urologic Oncology…
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.
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.
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…
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…
Bikers for Boobs
It’s a brisk early fall day in South London when the sound of distant highway traffic is punctuated by the telltale engine growl of a pack of Harleys. A group of leather-clad bikers is arriving back to Rocky’s Harley Davidson from a charity ride that took them across the region in support of financial assistance for breast cancer patients. The event is aptly titled Bikers for Boobs.
“We wanted to catch the guys’ attention with this event – there are a lot of male bikers,” says Darlene Reparon, the Ladies of Harley Officer for the Forest City HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter. “…
Growing up, 18-year-old Kendra Klages from small-town Tara, Ontario, has always been told she’s just like her Uncle Duane. Smart, witty and kind-hearted, Kendra takes this as a big compliment, especially knowing she will never meet her uncle.
In 1990, before Kendra was born, Duane Steinacker passed away at the age of 20 from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system and affects the disease-fighting network throughout the body.
Kendra’s mother Krista was just 15 years old at the time her brother passed. According to Kendra, her mother…
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, brother,…
Ashton Lefteris has an ambitious goal to raise money for cancer care.
“I want to raise $10,000 and then I want to raise $100,000 and then a million dollars,” Ashton says. “It’s as much as I possibly can.”
Ashton recently started the fundraiser Coins for Cancer after his mom Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago while nursing her youngest son. Jennifer began treatment at London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) London Regional Cancer Program under the care of Dr. Kylea Potvin and Dr. Muriel Brackstone.
“They both have been the most fabulous…
Peter and Trudy Channer
Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal cancers for women. Symptoms are vague and the lack of reliable early detection is why it’s known as “the silent killer.”
Peter and Trudy Channer know this all too well.
Nearly 20 years ago, Peter’s sister Mary passed away from the disease at the age of 37, leaving behind two young daughters. Two years later his brother’s daughter Sara, 20, lost her battle with ovarian cancer as well.
“Mary was his only sister which is tragic in itself, but then to lose your niece to the same disease, it’s something…