During my career, I went from ‘health’ care to ‘wealth ‘care! After completing a nursing undergraduate degree at Queen’s and a graduate degree in health administration at the University of Alberta, I spent 20 years in health care, primarily working in tertiary care hospitals. During the 1990s recession, I sought another opportunity and spent 26 years at Scotia Wealth Management, where I built and led a wealth advisory practice in a role I loved.
In 2019 I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and given a life expectancy of six months to three years. As the reality hit, it’s not surprising my priorities shifted. By February 1, 2020, I successfully transitioned my practice to another Scotia Wealth advisor to spend my remaining time with family and friends doing what I enjoy.
Recent advances in cancer diagnostics and treatment are helping more cancer patients live longer, and higher quality lives. Biomarker testing, an advanced diagnostic test, identifies patients eligible for therapies that more precisely and effectively target their tumour cells. As a result, patients experience fewer toxic side effects than conventional therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiation. As the grateful beneficiary of advanced biomarker testing at Sunnybrook Hospital, I lead an active life and live beyond my ‘best before date’!
A Sunnybrook Oncologist will join me to supplement my patient experience with medical knowledge. I’ll discuss how the things I’ve learned and continue to learn about lung cancer, including its challenges, stigmas, and recent ground-breaking advances, led me to become an advocate. I’ll talk about my fundraising success and the difference this will make in the lives of lung cancer individuals.
The overriding theme is that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer; it should be on everyone’s radar.