From Sore Throat to Cancer

Jessica Durka smiles for a photo

Jessica Durka from Simcoe thought she had symptoms of tonsillitis – an inflamed lump in her throat, enlarged lymph nodes and fatigue.

“The lump wasn’t going away after a few weeks of taking medication, so I was referred for a throat biopsy,” explains Jessica. “I was shocked when the results showed I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Jessica’s doctor provided options as to where she could receive her cancer treatment. Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre was her choice.

“My doctor said Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is home to one of the best blood-cancer programs in Canada, so it seemed like the right place to be,” explains Jessica.

Chemotherapy begins

She began a regimen of chemotherapy immediately.

“I was so exhausted and frail that I could barely sit up in bed. I was grateful that my care team gave me the comfort I needed during the worst time of my life.”

Three rounds of chemotherapy proved successful in eliminating the cancer. However, her care team suggested three more rounds to ensure that all traces of the cancer cells were eradicated. Jessica’s cancer is currently in remission.

Giving back to help others

“I am doing really well now and I see the world with a whole new perspective. Now that I’m cancer-free, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life.”

“My goal is to help in any way that I can.”

Wanting to give back, Jessica organized her own fundraising event in support of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation. As an investment advisor, she also joined Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation’s Gift Planning Services Committee. This allows her to provide guidance and support to donors regarding legacy and estate giving.

“Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is incredible and they need donor support to stay on the leading edge of cancer care. My goal is to help in any way that I can.”

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