Reflecting on My Cancer Journey of 2023

As we said goodbye to 2023, I find myself reflecting on the incredible cancer journey last year. I feel the urge for cancer research advocacy because my life depends on it.

This year, I will have had lung cancer for nine years, and even in my wildest dreams, when I was first diagnosed, I never would have imagined that I would still be here.

My ten most unforgettable memories in 2023

#10

I became one of the Cancer Grand Challenge Advocacy Panel members. Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the USA founded this global funding initiative.

The panel set ambitious challenges and provided international teams with £20M (USD 25M) for each team to come together and think differently, aiming to make progress against cancer the world urgently needs.

I'm honored to be with 11 UK, US, Canadian, Italian, and German advocates to bring our unique perspective to the initiative.

#9

I joined the Patient Working Group, Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network, by the Terry Fox Foundation in Canada. Terry lost his leg to osteogenic sarcoma at age 18.

In 1977, Terry underwent 16 months of treatment and found he could not ignore the suffering he witnessed in the cancer wards. Terry decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He named the run as Marathon of Hope.

Terry died on June 28th, 1981. In 1999, Terry Fox was voted nationally as Canada's greatest hero. When our patient group met for the first time in person, and we discussed why and how to accelerate precision medicine for cancer treatments.

#8

I became a grant reviewer for the Canadian Cancer Society. I also led a patient-partner team to get involved with the cancer researchers at the university in the province of Quebec, Canada, who were funded at $7.5M for five years by the Canadian Cancer Society.

#7

I attended the AACR Annual Meeting 2023 and the Scientist and Survivor Program. AACR is the focal point of the cancer research community, where scientists, clinicians, survivors, patients, and advocates gather to share the latest advances in cancer science and medicine. I had a wonderful experience.

#6

I became a Patient and Family Representative to the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Board. I also presented an abstract at their Annual Meeting 2023.

#5

I became a member of the Grants Selections Committee at ASCO Conquer Cancer. We reviewed the Layperson Abstract, Patient Advocate Form, and the Patient Advocate Letter of Support. We also provide constructive comments and reflective scores.

#4

I led a research project on worry and fear experienced by Canadian lung cancer patients. The project was patient-initiated and carried out. The research was presented at different conferences.

#3

I learned to make video clips to raise our voices for cancer advocacy. The outcome was great. So far, I have posted 24 episodes of video clips (one per week) on my Facebook and YouTube , which have been viewed more than 11,000 times.

#2

My husband and I took four trips this year to Orlando, FL, in April; Montreal in June; a beach resort in Sarasota, FL, in October; and Halifax, on the east coast of Canada, in November. We love traveling.

#1

We celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Winnipeg Lung Cancer Patient Support Group and had several parties.

I'm proud of my achievements in 2023 and enjoy each of them. I still have several ideas in mind but have yet to have the opportunity to try them.

In 2014, I will keep working on cancer research advocacy.

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