Two-Time Cancer Survivor Rallies Community Around Hospital Fundraiser

HAMILTON, ON: Deb Martin from Dunnville knew that something was seriously wrong.

Deb Martin

Deb Martin

In 1999, Deb had difficulty swallowing and she felt an uncomfortable pressure in her upper abdomen. This was the beginning of her journey with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“My immediate thought was that I was going to die,” recalls Deb. “I underwent nine rounds of chemotherapy in Guelph. Luckily I was in remission less than a year later, but it was always in the back of my mind that the cancer could return someday.”

When Deb’s oncologist retired a few years later, he referred her to Dr. Tom Kouroukis at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre for regular follow-up appointments. In 2008, Deb’s worst fear became a reality when the cancer became active again.

Dr. Kouroukis suggested that Deb participate in a clinical trial involving infusions of an antibody. The trial was successful and Deb has been cancer-free for 10 years.

“The people there are amazing and I feel so lucky to have received such quality care,” she says.

Grateful for the level of care she received, Deb decided to give back and fundraise in support of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation as an Illuminight Patient Ambassador. Deb is sharing her story to inspire community support for the event.

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation’s inaugural Illuminight, presented by The Clark Companies, is taking place on Friday, October 26 at Earth to Table: The Farm in Flamborough. The evening features a nearly 1.5 km walk along farmland fields, a campfire, music by Canadian artist Ty Baynton, food and surprise fall-themed activities.

The event is aiming to raise $150,000, with all proceeds supporting the highest priority equipment needs of the Cancer Program at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. Overseeing nearly 300,000 patient visits a year, the Cancer Program cares for all types of cancers and it is the only place in the region where patients can be treated for conditions such as gynecological and complex blood cancers.

To register and fundraise, please visit hamiltonhealth.ca/illuminight. All attendees must register online in advance.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Those wishing to sponsor the event may contact Milaina Wright at 905-521-2100 ext. 76787 or wrightmila@hhsc.ca.

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About Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation:

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation, as part of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, is focused on raising funds in support of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and its programs. The Foundation provides funding for leading-edge equipment and patient amenities, innovative research initiatives, redevelopment of patient care spaces, and the education and training of health care providers.

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation supports specialized cancer and orthopedic programs. It oversees the Regional Cancer Program, including a network of community-based oncology clinics at hospitals in Brantford and Burlington and a partnership in Niagara, and is the only site in the region treating all cancers. Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is also home to the region’s only stem cell transplant, acute leukemia and blood cancer programs. The combined volume of chemotherapy visits overseen by Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is the largest in Ontario, and a comprehensive cancer clinical trials program is housed at the Escarpment Cancer Research Institute. The Foundation is focused on enabling outstanding patient care through its goal of Health Care, Transformed.

Media Contact:

Michael Cordeiro
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation
905-521-2100 ext. 73374
cordeiromi@hhsc.ca