Patients like Deborah spend years hoping for breakthroughs and novel treatments to improve treatment outcomes and patients’ quality of life.
Help make a difference by supporting research that can help improve the lives of lymphoma patients nationwide.
This year, Lymphoma Canada is celebrating its 25th anniversary. 25 years of empowering patients! Since 1998, the year Lymphoma Canada was founded, we have worked tirelessly to support patients and the lymphoma community by providing educational resources, support programs, research funding, and advocating for novel lymphoma therapies. In honour of this momentous anniversary, we will share the inspirational story of one of our founders, Deborah Sterritt.
Cancer research is integral to discovering and developing new treatments for lymphoma patients. It is because of ongoing research, that there are more and newer approaches to diagnosing and treating lymphoma. Lymphoma Canada works with an experienced Scientific Advisory Board that assists with reviewing educational resources and applications for research funding to promising studies that have the potential to increase positive outcomes and quality of life for lymphoma patients.
Join forces with Lymphoma Canada by donating to fund research that will help lead to earlier diagnosis and effective treatments. Together, we can bring hope to those affected, strive toward a brighter tomorrow, and support lymphoma patients like Deborah.
In 1995, Deborah Sterritt was diagnosed with an indolent form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Follicular Lymphoma) when her daughters were only 9 and 12 years old at the time. Deborah lost her mother at a young age and did not want the same fate for her daughters. She initially underwent aggressive treatment, but in January 1998, Deborah was told that the cancer had returned. This time she was told her best option was to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
At the time, the survival rate for a bone marrow transplant was not high, nor was it a proven standard of care for her subtype of lymphoma. Feeling unsure, she paused to consider the options available to ensure she made the best decision for herself and her family. Unfortunately, at the time, there were no Canadian organizations that she could turn to that focused solely on lymphoma cancers. This made it difficult to find relevant information about the disease and available treatment options for Canadian patients like herself.
She turned to the U.S. to consider what could be coming to Canada in the near future. Deborah learned about new approaches to therapy from reputable resources. She knew this disease could ebb and flow. Understanding this and generally feeling well made her comfortable waiting to see (watchful waiting) if another treatment would become available.
She was told that she had approximately seven years left to live in 1995, yet 28 years later, Deborah is still alive and sharing her story.
Deborah continued to learn and seek information about lymphoma. In 1998, she attended an educational conference in New York hosted by a U.S. based lymphoma organization. Meeting other patients and learning more about lymphoma was an eye-opening experience for Deborah. It became clear that she might live a long and fulfilling life with her lymphoma subtype if what had been approved in the U.S. came to Canada. For the first time since her diagnosis, she was optimistic. That inspired Deborah to launch the Canadian Lymphoma Foundation (CLF), now known as Lymphoma Canada, alongside Dr. Brent Zanke and three of his patients Terry Creighton, Jane Mingay, and the late David Pitblado.
While she was an active member of the Lymphoma Canada team, Deborah contributed to the establishment of the fundamental principles that are still evident in Lymphoma Canada’s mission today. Lymphoma Canada has always been patient-oriented; our mission is to empower patients and the lymphoma community through education, support, advocacy, and research.
“I truly believe Lymphoma Canada changed my life” – Deborah Sterritt.
Deborah took her fate into her own hands. She created memories travelling with her daughters until she approached the seven-year mark and realized that she might live beyond what the doctors predicted so the pace of creating new memories could unfold more slowly. In 2004 Deborah took a step back from Lymphoma Canada to undergo treatment. She remains an active supporter of Lymphoma Canada and advocates for lymphoma education. Since her initial diagnosis 28 years ago, Deborah has done everything she can to ensure that patients like herself can have access to knowledge and Canadian treatment options to increase their chances of treatment and as important, quality of life.
Through watchful waiting and self-education, Deborah has lived a long and fulfilling life as a patient with follicular lymphoma. Follicular lymphoma usually responds well to treatment, but there is always a risk of relapse. Last fall, her follicular lymphoma recurred for the 5th time, and she underwent another regimen of treatment. She’s now practicing watchful waiting and is hopeful that new treatments will become available.
“I’m so optimistic that we’re going to find a solution.” – Deborah Sterritt.
Patients like Deborah spend years hoping for breakthroughs and novel treatments to improve treatment outcomes and patients’ quality of life. However, this wish is only possible with the generosity of donors like you.
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