Deborah’s journey with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) began in 2004 when she received the life-altering diagnosis. Her story is one of resilience, advocacy, and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of CLL patients. As she embarks on her retirement, we take a moment to celebrate her remarkable contributions to the CLL community.
Diagnosed with CLL in 2004, Deborah remains on Watch and Wait. She was told by her family doctor that she had the ‘good’ cancer and not to research on the internet. She became an advocate for CLL patients as a founding member of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patient Advocacy Group (CLLPAG) which later became CLL Canada. She has been a Co Chair, Chair and Acting Chair of the Board since CLLPAG formalized in 2007 and is now a Honourary Board member Ex-Officio.
Deborah built the CLLPAG members database into a tool that is used for surveying International CLL Patients and their caregivers to prepare patient submissions for drugs. She initiated the E-Bulletin that is sent to CLLPAG members. She has been on the organizing committee of five International CLL Educational Conferences (CLL Live) presented for CLL Patients, their caregivers and Health Professionals in cooperation with Juravinski Cancer Centre, Hamilton, Ontario and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada and/or Lymphoma Foundation Canada (now Lymphoma Canada).
In 2018, Deborah’s advocacy journey took a new turn as she joined CLL Advocates Network (CLLAN). In her role as CLLAN Steering Committee member – besides wanting to ensure that Canadian CLL patients have access to international information and standards for CLL treatment – she always advocated for the best possible care and support for CLL patients worldwide.
As Deborah enters retirement, her impact on the CLL community remains immeasurable. She has shown that even in the face of adversity, one can make a difference and be a source of hope for others. Deborah’s retirement may mark the end of one chapter, but it also heralds the beginning of a new one, as her legacy continues to inspire and bring positive change to the CLL community.
We wish her a retirement filled with joy, peace, and all the happiness she deserves. Congratulations, Deborah, on a well-deserved retirement!