Published: November 2023

Tanya Di Raddo was 15 years old when she started having severe headaches — she was diagnosed with migraines. As time progressed, the headaches continued. Decades later, she turned to The Ottawa Hospital and was diagnosed with not one, but two illnesses — a brain tumour and multiple sclerosis (MS). 

By her late 20s and early 30s Tanya was married and had two children, and the headaches remained a constant part of her life. As her kids grew, she faced a difficult time when her son began suffering from mental health challenges. He was later diagnosed with first-episode psychosis, so she pushed her health issues to the side and persevered.  

As time progressed, the headaches worsened — there were times when Tanya couldn’t lift her head off the pillow because the pain was so debilitating. It was still considered a migraine, but she also started to notice something wrong with her right hand. “I don’t know if I’d describe it as tremors, but my right hand would form a claw,” remembers Tanya.  

Shocking discovery of a brain tumour plus an MS diagnosis

By the spring of 2021, Tanya started to experience pain in her left eye — soon her vision deteriorated significantly. You know when you see dark clouds in the sky? It was like that in front of my eye. I could kind of see peripherally, but at night, I couldn’t see car lights out of that eye at all, not even colour,” explains Tanya. 

Tanya and her cat, Zeus.

“I knew something big was wrong for a long time, so in some ways, the MS diagnosis made sense, but the discovery of a tumour as well was a shock.”

— Tanya Di Raddo

After an extensive examination by her eye doctor, she was referred to the University of Ottawa Eye Institute of The Ottawa Hospital. She met with a neuro-ophthalmologist and was diagnosed with optic neuritis, an inflammation that damages the optic nerve. However, Tanya also needed further testing to better understand the root of her headaches and vision loss. She never imagined what that test would reveal. 

Read our Q&A with Dr. Fahad Alkherayf

MRI results showed both MS lesions and a brain tumour. “I knew something big was wrong for a long time, so in some ways, the MS diagnosis made sense, but the discovery of a tumour as well was a shock,” explains Tanya. 

She was immediately referred to Dr. Fahad Alkherayf, a leading skull base neurosurgeon at our hospital. The MRI from mid-summer 2021 showed a large tumour at the back of her brain. “It was a three-and-a-half by five-centimeter mass — the size of a small orange. It was a meningioma, which is a benign tumour that is slow growing, but it was putting pressure on her brainstem and affecting her neurological function,” explains Dr. Alkherayf. 

Due to the size of the tumour and the impact it was having on Tanya’s life, Dr. Alkherayf believed surgery was needed within a few months.  

In the meantime, she turned to The Ottawa Hospital’s MS Clinic where she met Dr. Mark Freedman, a world leader in MS treatment and research. “She was referred to us after having her vision affected back in mid-2021. We proceeded to confirm a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS and then got her onto effective therapy as soon as possible,” explains Dr. Freedman. 

A plan for specialized brain surgery

As her MS treatment got underway, surgery to remove the tumour was scheduled for early November. According to Dr. Alkherayf, the surgery carried significant risk.  

The tumor was pressing at the back of the brain — which we call the cerebellum — as well as on the brainstem.” he says. “The brainstem is the main structure which controls a person’s ability to breathe, walk, and state of consciousness.” 

“It’s thanks to having a specialized team who work closely with our neuro-anesthesiologists to operate this equipment that we’re able to provide this technique.”

— Dr. Fahad Alkherayf

Neural monitoring, with what’s known as interoperative neuromonitoring, is an important part of this type of specialized surgery. It allows neurosurgeons to watch the patient’s brain and brainstem functions while attempting to remove the tumour. This is where The Ottawa Hospital excels.  

“We’re lucky in that we have good support from the hospital where we can do two or three surgeries at the same time with the ability to monitor the patient,” says Dr. Alkherayf. “It’s thanks to having a specialized team who work closely with our neuro-anesthesiologists to operate this equipment that we’re able to provide this technique.”

The Ottawa Hospital has invested to support this expertise, as it can be challenging to have the right people to operate specialized equipment and interpret the information. 

During Tanya’s operation, the surgical team sent a signal through the brain to stimulate her muscles to ensure they were responding during the operation. “Even though she was asleep, we’re still able to look at the function of the brain and brainstem, as if she’s awake,” says Dr. Alkherayf. 

Additionally, the system also helps the surgical team monitor the cranial nerve, which controls swallowing, for example. This prevents any possibility of damage during the surgery. If the nerves become irritated during the operation, the surgical team gets a signal.  

“When that happens, we stop immediately and change our course of action during the surgery,” says Dr. Alkherayf.

“If you don’t have that technology, then there is the risk of causing damage and you wouldn’t notice it until the patient wakes up.”

— Dr. Fahad Alkherayf
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During an almost eight-hour surgery, the large tumour pressing on Tanya’s brainstem was completely removed.

Not just saving a life, but also maintaining quality of life

For Dr. Alkherayf, it’s not only about saving a life, but also about maintaining quality of life. He acknowledges it puts more stress on the team knowing they are caring for a young person, who has many years ahead of them.  

“A good analogy is a bomb squad. They want to disable and remove the danger without causing any problems or damage,” he says. “That’s what we’re doing when we remove a tumour like this. We want to remove it without causing any other damage that could impact the patient’s life.” 

The good news for Tanya is the whole tumour was removed during the almost eight-hour surgery. This provided her relief from the excruciating headaches she suffered, and her vision has improved, but colour is not crisp yet. “It’s like an older TV. It’s not 20/20, but it’s better than it was,” explains Tanya. 

Looking forward

It’s been two years since that complex surgery with no signs of recurrence to date, and she’ll be closely monitored by Dr. Alkherayf for up to 10 years. 

Tanya also continues to be in the care of Dr. Freedman for her MS. She has some challenges with her mobility and regularly uses support to get around, and MS flare-ups continue to impact her day-to-day living.  

“I’m doing better today, but cognitively it impacts my life,” she says. “It’s the little things we take for granted that I notice, like leaning forward to make a meal or cutting something. The numbness in my fingers makes it difficult, and sometimes my leg will give out.” 

The reality of facing two serious illnesses at the same time is not a uniqueness Tanya was aspiring for or ever thought she’d face, but she’s grateful to have access to the best treatment options available, from complex surgery to ongoing, compassionate care.

Tanya Di Raddo with her husband and daughter.

David and Elizabeth Mann have a unique eye toward spotting something that works.

David’s career in telecommunications led the couple to six different countries before coming to Canada almost 30 years ago. Through his work as a business solutions expert, David found ways to fix significant telecommunications network issues and explored new technologies to help countries meet their specific needs. Whether it was travelling to Zambia to diagnose and resolve a total telephone network failure in 1972 or working in Sweden in the late 70s to build, install, and bring to life enhancements to the emerging Swedish mobile network, David and Elizabeth have long been part of seeing what has gone wrong, and finding a way to put it right.

Their problem-solving eye also gives them the ability to recognize success — to see something and know that it is resilient, that it is progressive, and that it is making a meaningful impact.

“In our early visits to The Ottawa Hospital, we quite soon realised that there was a powerful parallel in its mix of healing, research, academic, and clinical activities,” says David. “What seemed unique to us was that whilst there is a good set of all these activities, there were also many physicians who were able to embrace a combination of clinical, research, and academic skills.”

Claude Des Rosiers, Elizabeth Mann, Debra Lynkowski and David Mann
Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Elizabeth Mann and David Mann

It is this recognition of The Ottawa Hospital’s abilities — and their desire to see those abilities reach even further — that have made David and Elizabeth some of our strongest supporters. Their generous support since 1995 includes three endowment funds: the Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Canada Research and Education Legacy Fund, the Fraser Mann Legacy Endowment Fund for Vision Care, and the David and Elizabeth Mann Legacy Endowment Fund for Colorectal Care. On top of that, they have contributed significantly to The University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre located at our Civic Campus and in support of stem cell and gene therapy.

David and Elizabeth are also avid ballroom dancers, and when they are not competing on the dance floor, they dedicate much of their time to advocacy around fibromyalgia and pain management. They bring that same joie de vivre and talent they are widely known for throughout the dance community to their advocacy and their unwavering commitment to improving the well-being of others. They have been invited to speak on multiple occasions about the importance of having a healthy mindset, a positive attitude, and controlling those parts of life that you can control.

With their latest donation, they are hoping to awaken that same mindset — and desire to help the community — to inspire others to give.

And they are also honouring their beautiful daughter, Caroline.

Caroline, an oncologist working in England, passed away in January 2022 at age 51 from cancer. “She is fondly remembered by the many patients she looked after and also by the medical team, nurses, and radiographers in the hospitals that she worked in,” says Elizabeth.

David and Elizabeth are avid ballroom dancers.

“She would have loved the working environment that is being created here in Ottawa.”

— Elizabeth Mann

As an oncologist, Caroline treated patients with lung cancer, urological cancers, and lymphomas, and was leading many areas of clinical modernisation and treatment. “We would like to think that she would have loved the working environment that is being created here in Ottawa, with patient care and accommodation at new levels and the ability to refer locally to researchers and trials that might advance the science she was so very proud of,” says Elizabeth.

To commemorate Caroline — and to foster a culture of generosity and community support — David and Elizabeth have announced that from November 1st until December 31st, they will match all donations up to a total of $100,000.

“We sincerely hope that our gift will help to bring the world-class capability of The Ottawa Hospital into our new hospital facility,” David tells us. “We hope its impact will not only to give some financial help, but also to encourage others who can, to help in a similar way so their families and their family’s families can have their lives enriched through the work done in this star of our community.”

“We have a world-class facility here in this city of Ottawa. And it deserves all the support it can get.”

— David Mann

Much like a well-practiced ballroom dance, this gift from David and Elizabeth will help lead others with a graceful promenade toward future support for the health and well-being of our community.

“We have a world-class facility here in this city of Ottawa,” says David. “And it deserves all the support it can get.”

Ryma Nasrallah

Ryma Nasrallah has built her career around philanthropy. A Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Ryma specializes in advising registered charities and non-profit organizations, and she’s often helped charitable organizations and foundations get off the ground. She recently took it one step further and made it personal, making her largest ever donation to our Campaign to Create Tomorrow. With an ambitious $500-million fundraising goal, it is the largest campaign in our city’s history.

Now, on top of her roles as the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Section and serving on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Section, Ryma has joined The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Learn more about what motivated Ryma to give and get involved — and what you can gain by giving gifts of securities

Q: You recently made your largest gift ever when you gave to the Campaign to Create Tomorrow — what motivated this?

A: After joining the Board of Directors of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, I was inspired by all the donors who had generously contributed to the Campaign to Create Tomorrow. I wanted to push myself to make my most significant donation in hopes I would inspire others around me to do the same and help reshape the future of healthcare in Ottawa.

Q: What impact do you hope your gift will have and why should others give?   

A: I hope my gift will bring The Ottawa Hospital one step closer to delivering a new, state-of-the-art hospital. Building a new hospital is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I believe we all have a duty to do what we can to help. Every dollar counts. 

Q: Why did you decide to join the Foundation’s Board of Directors?

A: I joined to give back and strengthen my ties to The Ottawa Hospital, because healthcare is so important to me and my family. I am excited to support the largest fundraising campaign in Ottawa’s history and to help The Ottawa Hospital transform and revolutionize healthcare.

Q: Based on your experience with your own clients, what are the benefits of giving gifts of securities?

A: The benefits of gifting publicly listed securities are threefold. 

First, gifting publicly listed securities entitles the donor to an official donation receipt equal to the fair market value of the securities on the date they are donated to a registered charity. An official donation receipt will result in a charitable deduction for corporate donors or a non-refundable charitable tax credit for individual donors that will reduce income taxes. 

Second, the donor may be exempt from paying any capital gains tax on the appreciated value of the publicly listed securities. In order to receive this favourable tax treatment, the donor must gift the publicly listed securities directly to the registered charity. If the donor sells the securities in the open market and donates the cash proceeds, they will be subject to income tax on any resulting capital gain. By donating the publicly listed securities directly to a registered charity, the donor benefits by paying no capital gains tax on the disposition, and the charity benefits by receiving the full value of the securities.

Third, if the publicly listed securities are held by a corporation — including an individual’s holding company or business — the full amount of the capital gain is added to the corporation’s capital dividend account (CDA). Amounts in the CDA allow the corporation to pay tax-free dividends to its shareholders. Usually, only half of a capital gain is added to the capital dividend account. This extra amount in the CDA can be distributed to the shareholders of the corporation on a tax-free basis, which results in additional tax savings.

Q: What would you tell a donor who is nervous to try giving a gift of securities?

A: There is no reason to be nervous about gifting publicly listed securities. Although it may sound daunting, it is frequently done. Foundation staff are familiar with the process and are ready to help. They will work closely with the donor’s financial advisor to complete the donation. The benefits of gifting publicly listed securities significantly outweigh any additional steps.

Q: With proposed tax changes on the horizon next year, when is the best time for donors to give gifts of securities and what should donors know about these changes?

A: The 2023 Federal Budget introduced new rules for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) regime that will increase the tax cost for high-income individuals donating publicly listed securities to registered charities. The AMT is a parallel tax calculation that allows fewer deductions, exemptions, and tax credits than under the ordinary income tax rules, and that currently applies a flat 15% tax rate with a $40,000 basic exemption. The taxpayer pays the AMT or regular tax, whichever is the highest.

Budget 2023 proposed changes to the AMT calculation include increasing the AMT rate to 20.5% and the basic exemption to $173,000, which raises the amount of income an individual would need to trigger the AMT. Notable changes for high-income individuals donating publicly listed securities include adjusting the inclusion rate for capital gains resulting from the donation of publicly listed securities from 0% to 30% and limiting the charitable donation tax credit by half. These changes will reduce the financial incentive for these individuals to donate publicly listed securities.

The proposed changes will come into force for taxation years that begin after 2023. So, to take full advantage of the current tax benefits, the best time for individual donors to gift publicly listed securities is before December 31, 2023.

Published: October 2023

These days, when Amy Volume swings her leg over her motorcycle, it’s still a bit of a surprise. After a lifetime of pain, the announcer best known for entertaining listeners on CHEZ 106 radio had hip replacement surgery in May 2023 by the skilled orthopaedic team at The Ottawa Hospital.

Discomfort and pain plagued Amy her entire life. As a baby, she was always crying, well beyond just a colicky infant, so her parents sought out answers. “I was officially diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune disease — at the age of 18 months. My entire life I have grown differently,” explains Amy.

As a result, she spent much of her life in and out of the hospital. Her care started at SickKids in Toronto, but when CHEO opened its rheumatology clinic, Amy was able to be cared for in her hometown. By 16, she became a patient of The Ottawa Hospital and she’s been cared for here ever since.

“I have surgeons working at both the General and Civic Campuses. I have seen from an early age that the orthopaedic team is very invested in their patients' care.”

– Amy Volume

“I have surgeons working at both the General and Civic Campuses,” she says. “I have seen from an early age that the orthopaedic team is very invested in their patients’ care.”

Amy Volume in the CHEZ 106 studio.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes your immune system to attack healthy cells in your body and results in painful swelling, usually in joints. Long-term, this can damage the joint tissue causing chronic pain, lack of balance, and deformity. While it can develop at any age, it’s most common in adults in their sixties. “People do think that what I have happens to older people. This has been my life story,” explains Amy.

It’s certainly taken a toll on Amy’s body. As a result of the medications Amy takes, her body can’t fight infection. When she was a little girl, Amy got chickenpox and was hospitalized for three weeks. It also affected how her bones grew when she was young.

“It doesn’t just destroy your joints, which then leads to you having bone on bone contact, which creates terrible problems. It also attacks soft tissues, your organs, and your blood,” explains Amy. “You can tell when I’m having a rough day because I sound extra rough on the radio, but that’s my paycheck.”

Much of the pain Amy has experienced is because of her hips. They never formed properly when she was young, and she has hip dysplasia on both sides — a known risk factor for early hip arthritis.

“It’s all just bone on bone. And when that happens, as you can imagine, it’s just extreme pain, which interferes with your daily life. It makes normal activities near impossible, which also has an impact on your mental health.”

Radio host Amy Volume has been an orthopedics patient at The Ottawa Hospital since she was a teenager.

Hip replacement surgery by a specialized team

Amy was only 17 when she had her first bone surgery at the Civic Campus. She had her left toe joint removed because it didn’t grow properly, and it was replaced with a steel bar.  

“The prospect of not getting relief from this pain or losing my ability to walk — of having the hope of meaningful medical intervention and recovery slip away really spooked me.”

– Amy Volume

While the orthopaedic team at The Ottawa Hospital has been caring for her for twenty years now, most recently, her hips started to give her a great deal of pain — impacting her life, including keeping up with her two children, riding her motorcycle, and her overall mobility.

By 2022, the pain became unbearable. “The prospect of not getting relief from this pain or losing my ability to walk — of having the hope of meaningful medical intervention and recovery slip away really spooked me,” she recalls. ‘I can’t give up hope,’” Amy wrote in her blog.

The chronic pain that Amy has lived with is where Dr. Paul Beaulé, Professor of Surgery and an orthopaedic surgeon at The Ottawa Hospital, comes into the picture.

“Amy suffered from hip pain and a lack of function for over a decade. She had an underlying malformation of a joint that was probably present when she finished growing,” explains Dr. Beaulé. “At some point, the hip starts manifesting itself to the point where it’s not functioning properly because of the malformation.”

Amy’s right hip joint was too damaged to save, but because of research and technology advancements, there was a good plan to get her quality of life back, thanks to a specialized surgery,” explains Dr. Beaulé. “Using a total hip arthroplasty anterior approach, she could go home the same day. Because of this approach, her muscles aren’t damaged. That means when she’s done healing from the surgery, she can resume her activity more rapidly and have a good quality of life.”

Thanks to these advancements, Dr. Beaulé says Amy can expect a good 20 years of function with no major issues. “Amy truly is a poster child for the best possible outcome.”

An x-ray showing Amy’s new hip joint.

Research aims to improve hip surgery

Dr. Beaulé knows the impact that preserving and replacing hips can have on patients — especially young patients like Amy.

“Research helps us better understand what we’re doing in the operating room and asks the question, ‘Is this the best we can do?’”

– Dr. Paul Beaulé

One area of research that is of particular interest is surgery that can improve pain, stop damage, and prevent a hip replacement in people with pre-arthritic hip disease — that includes preventing and treating hip problems in young athletes.

Another key focus for Dr. Beaulé is studying the results of The Ottawa Hospital’s same-day joint replacement program, which focuses on getting patients home as safely and early as possible. “Research helps us better understand what we’re doing in the operating room and asks the question, ‘Is this the best we can do?’” says Dr. Beaulé.

Amy is a big proponent of research and the possibilities it could create for her and other patients — especially knowing she will face more orthopaedic surgeries in the future. That’s why she’s also open to participating in research studies so more can be learned about her illness.

“We’re always learning, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. I’m always raising my hand and saying yes to the next thing, because we are blazing a trail, and I might make it easier for the next kid that comes along with this weird disease because something worked for me — it might give hope to others.” 

She’s grateful for the work of the orthopaedic team at The Ottawa Hospital, including the Research Chair in Regenerative Orthopaedic Surgery, and what their research could mean for patients in the future as well.  

Read our Q&A with Dr. Beaulé

"You're a part of the scientific frontier that is going to improve the quality of life for all Ontarians, Canadians, and perhaps even globally. It’s the big picture.”

– Amy Volume

“I think that the more people that you can encourage to get on the research train the better. You’re a part of the scientific frontier that is going to improve the quality of life for all Ontarians, Canadians, and perhaps even globally. It’s the big picture.” 

Getting her life back

Following her surgery, Amy was amazed to be up and walking in no time with the assistance of crutches. While there was some initial post-op pain, she was back on the air within 11 days.

Now, several months later, she’s started to see the impact this specialized surgery will have on her long term. “I’m getting into the zone where I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. It’s because The Ottawa Hospital and the surgical teams put their best foot forward in making sure that I have a fulfilling life — that I can keep up with my kids. They’re very fast,” Amy laughs.

Amy Volume enjoying one of her passions, riding her motorcycle.

“I say thank you profusely to the surgeons, but I know to them it’s their 9 to 5 job, that’s what they’re doing constantly, day-in and day-out. They are rock stars – they are who I idolize.”

– Amy Volume

She’s also truly grateful and in awe of the work of her surgical team. “I say thank you profusely to the surgeons, but I know to them it’s their 9 to 5 job, that’s what they’re doing constantly, day in and day out. They are rock stars – they are who I idolize.”

For now, Amy enjoys being able to ride again and is grateful for the quality of life she’s been given. While she knows there will be more surgeries down the road on her other hip and right toe, she has complete confidence in what her care team has planned for her.

“I saw my surgeons in my follow-up care, and I know they’re invested in my continued success, which is really nice. And it makes me feel good about the future, because I know I will be seeing them again. It’s nice to know you have that team of experts on your side.”

Honouring strong ties to the community that embraced his family

Ten thousand dollars can buy you a decent used car. Maybe a trip to Europe and certainly a few months’ worth of groceries. However, for Kareem and Souhaila Saickley, $10,000 in 1954 provided them an opportunity to leave Lebanon for the opportunity to build a future for their family in Canada. 

Years later, the residents of Ottawa would reap the benefits of that decision, in terms of the Saikaley family’s deep commitment to community development and philanthropy here.

“I was born and raised in Ottawa,” says Charles Saikaley, Kareem and Souhaila’s son. “All my children and grandchildren were born in Ottawa, and we are very happy and proud of that.”

It is that love for family and that pride for community that resulted in a recent decision by Charles and his wife Majida to contribute $1 million to The Ottawa Hospital’s Campaign to Create Tomorrow.  

Majida and Charles Saikaley

“It is important that all residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hospital.”

— Charles Saikaley

Charles was a real estate lawyer and partner with Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall. He retired from law and now runs Saickley Enterprises Ltd., the family company that owns and manages several apartment buildings in the city. With four daughters and now three granddaughters, Charles says he recognizes the importance of building one of the most modern, patient-centred, and technologically advanced hospital in the country — right here in Ottawa.

“We have all been part of the Ottawa healthcare system,” he says. “It is important that all residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hospital, and I hope it will benefit my children and grandchildren long after I’m gone. I hope this gift will be a teaching moment for my children and others about the need to give back to the community.”

The family also hopes their gift will inspire others, especially those in the Lebanese community, to contribute to the campaign. It is the largest in Ottawa’s history and sets in motion a vision to completely reshape healthcare by building the most technologically advanced hospital in Canada and by taking groundbreaking research and innovation to unprecedented heights.

“I think it is important for the Lebanese community that major gifts like these are recognized and are symbolic of the philanthropy of those people of Lebanese origin living in Ottawa.”   

“I felt it was important if we are able to, we should give back to the city in some form or another.”

— Charles Saikaley

But most importantly, Charles says he wants this gift to be a legacy for their family, a way to honour the Saikaleys’ strong ties to the very community that embraced a young Kareem and Souhaila so many years ago.

Sadly, Souhaila passed away ten years ago, but to the end, she remained proud of the life she gave her children and proud of the community her family helped build.

Charles and Majida’s gift is the latest example of the impact their extended family has had on our community over the years and their dedication in continuing to see it thrive. “I felt it was important, if we are able to, that we should give back to the city in some form or another.”

Join the Saikaley family in helping create a better tomorrow through a donation today.

About the Campaign to Create Tomorrow

The Campaign to Create Tomorrow is the largest fundraising campaign in our region’s history. It will help fulfil the most ambitious vision ever for the future of The Ottawa Hospital, focused on four critical pillars.  


See how we’ll become the most technologically advanced hospital in the country, using the latest tools to provide the right care in the right space with the right provider.
Learn More


Through our unique collaborative model of clinicians and researchers working side-by-side, we will bring groundbreaking discoveries to patients in Ottawa — and around the world.
Learn More


From trauma care to cancer advancements to neuroscience, we will strengthen our critical services for patients across the region.
Learn More

September 22, 2023, OTTAWA, ON – Jennifer Van Noort, Vice-President of Philanthropy at The Ottawa Hospital Foundation was recognized for her leadership in our community at the annual gala hosted by Women’s Business Network. Van Noort won in the Accomplished Category for Enterprise Leaders. This recognizes women who work for for-profit, not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations, social enterprises, a charity, or a foundation.

Jennifer Van Noort, Vice-President of Philanthropy, was recognized for her leadership in our community at the annual gala hosted by Women’s Business Network.

In a true testament to Van Noort’s leadership, she was deeply moved by the recognition. “Receiving this award is both an honour and a reminder — that it takes passion, purpose, and a united community to drive real change. Every day, I have the privilege to work with donors who are passionate about supporting The Ottawa Hospital’s mission to provide world-class care, and I couldn’t do what I do without the entire team at the Foundation who works tirelessly to help make that mission a reality.”

Over the last two decades, Van Noort’s leadership has been an invaluable asset to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation where she is an integral part of the $500-million Campaign to Create Tomorrow. Tim Kluke, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, celebrated this incredible honour. “Jennifer is standing alongside an elite group of changemakers — and our team couldn’t be prouder. Her impact not only on our Foundation, but also in the community is immeasurable, and her passion and positivity continue to inspire us all.”

For Van Noort, the success she’s experienced is thanks to the generosity of donors and the relationships she’s built over her lengthy career in philanthropy. “I believe at the heart of fundraising is relationship building. Making connections, earning trust, and having the most genuine dialogue possible. It is what informs every aspect of what I do. I also believe that’s why we’ve seen the success we have to date with our historic campaign.”

Van Noort takes the recognition to heart as she and the Foundation team move forward with the campaign that currently stands at $294 million raised.

To join the Campaign to Create Tomorrow in support of The Ottawa Hospital, visit

About The Ottawa Hospital: 

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s top learning and research hospitals where we are guided by our vision to provide the world-class and compassionate care, we would all want for our loved ones. Our multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, is home to the Regional Trauma Centre and Cancer Centre, and to discoveries that are adopted globally.

Backed by generous support from the community, we are focused on reshaping the future of healthcare to improve the health of our diverse population of patients from eastern Ontario, western Quebec, and Nunavut.

For more information about The Ottawa Hospital, visit   


Published: September 2023

Before January 2008, Georges Gratton and Jeannine Constantin’s family hadn’t needed The Ottawa Hospital. Living in Boucherville, Quebec and then in the Outaouais region of western Quebec, they had always received care at their local hospitals and clinics. But when their grown daughter, Geneviève Gratton, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she needed specialized care and was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital within one day of her diagnosis. 

Geneviève with her parents, Georges and Jeannine, July 2023

Specialized care for patients from western Quebec and beyond 

This scenario is not unique to Geneviève’s case. In fact, The Ottawa Hospital regularly provides care that extends well beyond the city’s borders, and one quarter of our patients live in a rural area.  

Many patients from the Outaouais region choose to or need tocome to The Ottawa Hospital, particularly the Emergency Department for care, or like in Geneviève’s case, for specialized cancer care that they are unable to access closer to home. In addition to those who travel from western Quebec, patients also come from across eastern Ontario and as far away as Nunavut. At times, people from coast to coast come to our hospital for care they can’t get anywhere else. 

“Our hospital is uniquely positioned to provide care for patients coming to us from far and wide and with a wide range of needs.”

— Suzanne Madore

According to Suzanne Madore, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive, The Ottawa Hospital plays an important role in healthcare delivery in Ottawa and beyond. “Our hospital is uniquely positioned to provide care for patients coming to us from far and wide and with a wide range of needs,” she says. “We have also worked hard to develop multiple collaborative partnerships within the region that provide our patients with access to specialized services.” 

Diagnosis leads to stem cell transplant 

While this was the first time Geneviève needed our hospital, she was grateful to be receiving the specialized cancer care she needed. At the time, she was working as a notary in Quebec and was a busy mom of three young children — aged 9, 6, and 1 — when her spleen suddenly ruptured.  

A month later, she and her husband, Jean-François, noticed she wasn’t healing properly from the surgery to her spleen. She was incredibly weak and pale and was also experiencing a host of other symptoms including red spots all over her body (petechiae), constant nightmares, and fevers.  

Geneviève and her husband, Jean-François, and their children.

“My husband brought me to the Hull hospital on two occasions, and when they were taking my blood during one of those visits, my blood started gushing out like a fountain,” recalls Geneviève. “A hematologist took a biopsy and found out it was leukemia.” 

Within 24 hours, Geneviève was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital where her specialized care began right away.

Family rallies following leukemia diagnosis  

Geneviève with her sister, Julie, in February 2018.

Geneviève’s entire network of family and friends immediately came together to support not only her, but also her husband and her children throughout this ordeal.  

“It was like a net unfolding to protect and support me.”

— Geneviève Gratton

After her initial treatment, her medical team said that she needed an allogeneic stem cell transplant, meaning the stem cells needed to come from a donor, rather using Geneviève’s own stem cells. Fortunately, one of Geneviève’s two siblings, her sister Julie Gratton, was a perfect match, and she didn’t hesitate to donate her own stem cells to help save her little sister. 

“Although I feared the whole thing, I would do the same if Geneviève would need it again. I was reassured by The Ottawa Hospital on the process of what I would have to do to give my stem cells. It wasn’t painful, and I was well treated” says Julie. 

“I would do the same if Geneviève would need it again.”

— Julie Gratton

For Geneviève’s parents, it was a frightening time with a rollercoaster of emotions. They were worried for her and the seriousness of her diagnosis and also deeply grateful that Julie was a match and willing to donate her stem cells. As the transplant date approached, the entire family anxiously waited and hoped for the best.  

Geneviève’s eldest brother overcame his fear of hospitals to spend time with her. He even shaved her head in preparation for treatment.

Stem cell excellence at The Ottawa Hospital 

Thankfully, Geneviève was in the most capable hands. In fact, The Ottawa Hospital is a major centre for the growing area of stem cell transplantation and research and is home to the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program, the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and the Sinclair Centre for Regenerative Medicine..  

This expertise paid off. Geneviève’s initial care team included Dr. Mitchell Sabloff, Director of the Ottawa Hospital Leukemia Program, and Hematologist Dr. Jill Fulcher. Following her stem cell transplant on March 29th, 2018, she was cared for by Dr. Natasha Kekre, who was recently named the Research Chair in Advanced Stem Cell Therapy. Dr. Kekre and extended care teams at the General Campus supported Geneviève each step of the way.  

The stem cell transplant was a success, and Geneviève has been in remission ever since.   

In the weeks following the transplant, Geneviève was weak and fragile, so she stayed in with her parents, who had moved into an apartment in the Ottawa area to care for her. Being at home with her husband and children would have been dangerous for Geneviève, since her immune system was still recovering after the stem cell transplant.

Being apart was difficult, but she was fortunate to be in loving care of parents. With their help, she regained the strength she needed for this next step to healing. 

“We wanted to show how thankful we were for what they had done, their kindness and sensitivity in all the care they provided me … My heart was filled with gratitude.” 

— Geneviève Gratton

“On the 100th day after my stem cell transplant, since I had passed the darkest period of my life, my mother and I brought two huge cakes to The Ottawa Hospital — one for the team on Module L and one for the fifth-floor team,” says Geneviève. “We wanted to show how thankful we were for what they had done, their kindness and sensitivity in all the care they provided me since January 2018. My heart was filled with gratitude.”  

Following her stem cell transplant, Geneviève had to go to the hospital daily for blood tests and transfusions, if necessary. The care team became like a little family to her, always making sure she was as comfortable as possible.

“We are infinitely grateful” 

Geneviève post-treatment celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary.

“We want to support the research and care efforts of the hospital and believe that even a small regular donation expresses our support of the hospital.” 

— Georges Gratton

It was the lifesaving care Geneviève received at The Ottawa Hospital that inspired Georges and Jeannine to donate, and they’ve been giving ever since – each month. They want to ensure the hospital has the funds they need to continue providing expert care to patients like their daughter.  

“We want to support the research and care efforts of the hospital and believe that even a small regular donation expresses our support of the hospital,” says Georges. 

Their monthly donations are also a meaningful way to express their deep gratitude for seeing Geneviève beat her cancer and get back to watching her three children grow up. 

“We give to say thank you for the wonderful care Geneviève received,” says Jeannine. “The Ottawa Hospital saved her life, and we are infinitely grateful.” 

Geneviève is now back to work and spending time with her kids, doing the things she loves most, like reading, boating, and walks in Gatineau Park. She’s not only grateful for her health, but also making the best of each day she’s been given. 

In 2019, Geneviève and her husband, Jean-Francois, took their three children on their first family vacation post-leukemia.

Update: October 2023

Over the past few months, we’ve had the distinct privilege of working closely with Alison Hughes to share her story. Only 37 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to raise awareness, especially among other young woman like her.

We are heartbroken to learn that Alison passed away on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. We offer our deepest condolences to all those who knew and loved her, and we remain profoundly inspired by her.

Originally published: September 2023

This is Alison’s story told in her own words.

I wanted to share my story now, because I want more young women to have a story they can relate to. Sadly, breast cancer doesn’t just affect women over 50. By sharing my story, I hope I can help younger women better understand what this journey is all about, because I didn’t really have that when I was first diagnosed ten years ago. 

At that time in my life, I owned a consignment store specializing in women’s fashion. I love fashion, so it was a great fit for me. I also had two young children — life was busy.  

But then I got the shock of a lifetime. It started when I found a lump on my right breast, and I remember telling my husband at the time that it hurt. He told me not to freak out, but I just had this feeling something was wrong, so I called my doctor.  

Little did I know, that was the beginning of my breast cancer journey. I was sent for a mammogram, just to be safe. It was a Friday, and I remember walking into the office and looking around and seeing older women — I was young and hip — no one else looked like me. It wasn’t long after the mammogram that I knew something was wrong. The busy office went quiet, it was like I’d stepped into a movie. Other experts came in and examined my results. It turned out I had stage 3 breast cancer.  

My way of coping with a breast cancer diagnosis

I remember someone talking to me, but I honestly don’t remember what they said. Then a lovely nurse sat next to me, and that’s when I felt a tear drop out of my eye, and then I slowly started to cry.

“I can’t do this…I have no room in my life for this right now – this can’t be happening!’

— Alison Hughes

I drove back to my store and remember thinking ‘I can’t do this. I have a two-year-old and a three-and-a-half-year-old. I have no room in my life for this right now – this can’t be happening!’ 

But it was happening, and within two weeks, I had a PICC line inserted, and chemotherapy soon followed. The news of my diagnosis was particularly difficult for my parents because my dad’s mom died from breast cancer in her mid-thirties. So, I said ‘We have one day to cry and then after that, for the outside world, there’s nothing happening.’ We hid my diagnosis from almost everyone — that was my coping mechanism. Everyone has their own way of coping – this was mine. 

Soon, I met Dr. Mark Clemons. I refer to him as my first oncologist and now my forever oncologist. We clicked. He was well informed, supportive, and had time for all the questions we had for him. He gave me confidence to know that the choices he was making were not from just a singular perspective, he was looking at my total healthcare options.  

Alison Hughes with her two children, Rosie, and Raffi.
Alison is living with stage 4 breast cancer.

The specialized team ready to handle my care

But he wasn’t alone. There was an entire team at The Ottawa Hospital ready to help me have more time to watch my children grow.  

From September to December 2013, I underwent chemotherapy, but by the fifth and sixth treatment, I was hit hard. My beautiful hair fell out, my skin turned gray, and I was in bed all the time. Then in February of 2014, just as I gained back most of my strength, I had a mastectomy. During that operation, a bunch of lymph nodes from under my right arm were removed and sent for testing. We’d later learn that more than half of them were cancerous. That’s when radiation treatment started. 

The care was amazing, and so were the resources made available to me afterwards, because that is a difficult operation to undergo. I had access to psychosocial oncology, as well as a dietitian.  

By that summer, I started feeling better, and that’s when I started telling people what I had gone through. Sometimes they’d turn white as a sheet when they heard the news — I really believe it’s because there’s not a lot of women my age that relate to this kind of a diagnosis.  

Then after five years, I was doing well and released from the cancer program. I had successfully recovered from breast cancer — or so I thought.  

Devastation when cancer metastasized

In 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, I experienced a ton of pain in my back and my hips. I started physio and got relief for a few days but then it came back. One day at work, I tripped on a mat, fell, and couldn’t get back up at first. I kept getting this insane spasm. Later that night my parents found me on the floor, unable get up. They helped me into bed, and I stayed there for four days. 

Then one day my daughter noticed my leg looked like I’d been burned by a big rod. I looked at my kids and I said, ‘I think I should go to the hospital.’ Little did I know my world would be turned upside down, again. 

“I went from seeing a physiotherapist because of my back pain to stage 4 cancer with possibly only months to live. It was almost too late.”

– Alison Hughes
Soon, I discovered my breast cancer had metastasized. I had compression tumors on my spine and a lesion in my lung. I had a tumour on my liver, and there was cancer in my stomach and in my bones. I also had multiple moving blood clots, which caused that mark on my leg. It was kind of like the house was lit on fire and it was going up in flames. Suddenly, I went from seeing a physiotherapist because of my back pain to stage 4 cancer with possibly only months to live. It was almost too late.   

My body was riddled with cancer

The next thing I knew, I dove back into treatment. I had a radiation team, an oncology team, and a palliative team. I had a home nurse as well as psychological support. The resources are unbelievable.  

I moved back in with my parents, along with my kids who were then 10 and 12, because I was at a point where I couldn’t climb a set of stairs, and I couldn’t really function on my own. In addition to the blood clots, I had multiple broken bones from the cancer and crooked shoulders from all the broken bones in my back. I was either in a wheelchair or walked with a cane, and my stomach was really bloated because of the disease. There was just so much going on — my body was in emergency mode.  

While my extensive team at the hospital mobilized, my parents took care of me and the kids, and our incredible network of neighbours rallied alongside us. That meant I could be in treatment, and the kids could still have some normalcy — they could go outside and play.  

Alison with her parents and children.

Finally, there was some good news

From June 2021 through until February 2022, I had radiation led by Dr. Laval Grimard to help with the cancer in my bones, followed by chemotherapy. After a clinical trial was not successful, Dr. Clemons tried me on a new chemo option that finally brought some hope. In June 2022, I started to feel better.

By that summer, my spine started straightening, I could move better. And my health continuously improved. All my bones healed, the tumors shrunk, and I could walk unassisted most of the time. I was back working part time as a background actor in movies — maybe you’ve seen me in a Hallmark movie — I also do some modelling.

By the spring of 2023, I had a clear scan, and I went overseas to spend some time in Oxford and London — it was spectacular. But when I returned home in early June, I could feel my body grinding to a halt. I could barely walk. The next thing I knew, I was in a wheelchair — I couldn’t walk. It happened fast.

Alison on set.

Little did we know what would come next

Once again, I was thrust into emergency mode to determine what was happening. I had x-rays and scans, and I don’t think any one of us expected to see what we saw on those scans. I was pretty sure this was it for me.

There were new lesions on my lower spin and this time they also found a tumour on my brain. Immediately, my care team acted. My new plan included five radiation treatments on my back and one on my brain. Then I started a new type of chemo treatment in August. This chemo is at the forefront of treatment options, and I can’t thank Dr. Clemons enough. I call it the Cadillac of treatment — I feel really lucky. And the way I see it is, if I can be an early user of this drug and they can learn from me, that’s a good thing.

“My philosophy is, if you can test me or use my blood or do something with me that's going to make things better for someone else, sign me up.”

– Alison Hughes
In fact, when it comes to clinical trials, I’m in total favour of getting involved. I told them, ‘You can poke me, learn from me, use me as a case study. Let students practice on me.’ I’m already sick, so my philosophy is, if you can test me or use my blood or do something with me that’s going to make things better for someone else, sign me up. I just feel so fortunate to have this level of care and access to clinical trials — even if the one I tried didn’t work, it gave me time. And the medical team learned because of me.
Alison with her two children, Rosie, and Raffi.
Every day I’m so thankful to have this precious time. Dr. Clemons has even given me the nickname “Puss in Boots” because it’s like I have nine lives. He has such a unique and special way with patients. He asks, ‘What life are we on?’  

In fact, I often find myself thinking, ‘Who gets this many chances?’ And that’s why I’m sharing my story. I’m fortunate for the care, the support, and the learning because life doesn’t always gets perfectly tied with a bow — not everyone gets a bow.

I don’t know what the future holds.

I just want the chance to be here for my kids and my family. I do my best to make every day a good day with them and hope that science continues to improve. Today, Rosie is 13 and Raffi is 11. I’m learning to become a mom of teens. I like to think about their high school graduation and university life. I just hope I’ll be able to keep watching them grow, even when they don’t need me as much.  
Download episode #86 of Pulse Podcast to hear Alison’s story and why she wants to help other young women who face a breast cancer diagnosis.

Listen Now:

Published: July 2023

Next year, Jean Teron will proudly wear the 100-year-old nursing pin given to her mother in 1924 when she graduated — the same year the Civic Hospital opened its doors on Carling Avenue. “The Ottawa Hospital has been a lifelong part of my family,” says Jean. “My mother and sister were nurses trained there. My siblings and I and my children were born there.”  

It’s that personal connection to the hospital — and to her city — that helped inspire Jean’s $100,000 gift to The Campaign to Create Tomorrow.  

Bill and Jean receiving Honorary Doctorates from Carleton University June 2013.

“The Ottawa Hospital has been a lifelong part of my family.”

— Jean Teron

But this is not the first time the Teron family has made an indelible mark on our city. Jean’s late husband, Bill Teron, was known as the “father of Kanata” for creating a small town amidst farmer’s fields and rock outcroppings west of Ottawa. What started as a dream in the 1960s became a vibrant, thriving place to call home. The Terons know better than most the importance of community.   

Jean, Bill, and their family have long been supporters of The Ottawa Hospital — changing lives for decades. In 1977, Bill and Jean donated a kidney preserving machine that allowed surgeons to store and preserve kidneys for up to 40 hours while they matched kidneys with patients on a waitlist. In the years since, they helped build the Dr. Chris Carruthers Operating Room with Jean leading the way as Chair of the $1-million campaign. She was also part of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Gala committee for years, helping raise funds for research. Together, the Terons contributed to the Legacy Campaign, the Centre for Stem Cell and Gene Therapy, and to fundraising efforts for the hospital through Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.  

Opening of the Carruthers Operating Room. June 12, 2008. From left to right: Jean Teron, Susan Doyle, (the late) Donna Carruthers, and Chris Carruthers.

Jean’s daughter, Kim Teron, has also been actively involved with Partners Investing in Parkinson’s Research (PIPR) since 2011, when Kim’s husband Ross was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Jean and other family members have rallied behind Kim who has worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness for this cause.  

It’s clear the Teron family is determined to make a difference.  

Five of seven grandchildren ready for 5K run with PIPR in 2011

Now, Jean’s generous gift will play a vital role in propelling The Campaign to Create Tomorrow forward, helping forge a brighter future for the community she loves by advancing medical research, expanding state-of-the-art facilities, and transforming patient care.  

“As one citizen, it’s important to me that individuals and businesses in Ottawa give to this campaign to show how much the community supports the building of a great new hospital.”

— Jean Teron

Jean hopes her gift will help ignite a spark, inspiring others to follow her lead. “As one citizen, it’s important to me that individuals and businesses in Ottawa give to this campaign to show how much the community supports the building of a great new hospital,” she says. “I do hope that when people see lists of those who have donated, they too will be encouraged to participate.”  

Jean is happiest when in her kayak, on her bicycle, or cross-country skis.

Published: July 2023

Like any bride-to-be, Mechelle Kulker is dealing with the stress that comes with planning a wedding. But she is also facing a lot more than booking a venue, hiring a photographer, and finding “The Dress.” Mechelle has an aggressive form of breast cancer.

“I kind of had an idea in my head that it was probably cancer.” 

— Mechelle Kulker
Mechelle Kulker in hospital Feb of 2023

In February of 2020, Mechelle discovered a lump in her breast. She was 29 years old at the time, teaching Grades 3 and 4, and busy with work and with life. But, at the urging of her boyfriend, Kent Lampkie, she made an appointment to see her doctor. That quickly led to an ultrasound, a mammogram, and then a biopsy — all this as COVID-19 was unfolding with fury.  

“I kind of had an idea in my head that it was probably cancer,” says Mechelle, “and when my doctor called me and confirmed it, I kind of went a little bit blank. And I remember just crying.”  

The news was about to get worse. Mechelle was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), a rare and aggressive form of cancer that disproportionally affects young women in the prime of their lives, like Mechelle.   

“TNBC is the least common subtype of breast cancer with the worst prognosis,” explains Dr. Moira Rushton, Mechelle’s oncologist. “It is negative for the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 amplification, hence the description ‘triple negative breast cancer’, meaning there are no specific drug targets we can take advantage of.”  

The treatment for TNBC is also aggressive. Mechelle had preoperative chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy, then went on a chemotherapy pill after surgery for residual disease — but the side effects were very challenging.   

“I felt like it was everywhere.”  

A few months later, a CT scan picked up spots on her lungs and the lymph nodes around her heart. An MRI showed spots on her brain, and the cancer was also in her bones — including a 7cm metastasis on her femur. This required surgery to place a metal rod in her leg to prevent it from breaking. Mechelle’s cancer was now Stage 4.  

“I was counting down the days, waiting for it to end, and then it never ends.” 

— Mechelle Kulker

“I was counting down the days, waiting for it to end,” she says, breaking down in tears, “and then it never ends. I felt like it was everywhere.” 

Having responded poorly to most standard treatments, Mechelle says she was one of the first patients at The Ottawa Hospital to be put on a drug called sacituzumab govitecan (aka Trodelvy). Dr. Rushton explains that this drug was the first approved antibody drug conjugate for triple negative breast cancer — and it’s been improving survival for these patients.   

“In Mechelle’s case, it’s been an absolute game changer,” says Dr. Rushton. “Had she not started Trodelvy last February, I do not think she would be alive today.”  

“Her disease has almost completely disappeared on imaging, which is nothing short of a miracle.”

— Dr. Moira Rushton 
Dr. Moira Rushton Head Shot
Dr. Moira Rushton, Mechelle’s oncologist

“It started shrinking the tumours in my lungs and bones immediately,” adds Mechelle. “It took a while, but there’s actually no active disease in my bones as of right now. So Trodelvy is keeping everything stable, except my brain.”  

Mechelle has developed a number of small brain metastases requiring repeat treatments with the CyberKnife. This radiosurgery robot is one of only a handful in Canada and was funded entirely by donor support. It provides patients like Mechelle with radiation therapy that is more powerful and accurate than regular radiation.   

Despite the ongoing treatment, Dr. Rushton agrees that overall, Mechelle’s progress has been incredible. “The disease in her lungs is no longer visible on CT scans when previously it could only be described as “cannonball lesions.” In fact, the cancer has almost completely disappeared on imaging, which is nothing short of a miracle.”  

Mechelle Kulker - finding wedding dress in Carleton Place
Mechelle said yes to the dress in Carleton Place.

Giving back

During all this, Mechelle started thinking of ways to raise awareness of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.   

“It is very aggressive and requires more treatment options. This can only be made possible through research at leading Canadian hospitals like The Ottawa Hospital.” 

“I wanted to give back to The Ottawa Hospital because they've been so wonderful to me.” 

— Mechelle Kulker

She also wanted to focus on the exceptional care she’s been receiving so she started her own fundraiser in support of cancer research, successfully raising thousands of dollars so far.  

“I wanted to give back to the Ottawa Hospital because they’ve been so wonderful to me. The nurses are just incredible people. They ask me about my wedding plans.”  

It’s been a stressful three years for Mechelle and Kent, who is now her fiancé, but they remain positive and have been travelling as much as they can: swimming in Costa Rica and hiking in Maine.  

Mechelle and Kent hiking in Maine.
Mechelle Kulker - swimming in Costa Rica
Mechelle swimming in Costa Rica.

“For the most part, we kind of pretend like it’s not happening and live our lives the way we want,” says Mechelle. “When I was first diagnosed, I was told my prognosis was a year, and at this point, I’ve gone two years. I’m hoping these new drugs will help extend my life.” 

Also, she’s hoping research will change the trajectory for anyone else diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and through her fundraising efforts she’s doing her part to make that a reality.  

Despite all she’s been through, Mechelle did find “The Dress.” She and Kent will get married this August at her childhood home in Prince Edward County.   

Congratulations to Mechelle and Kent, and thank you Mechelle, for your fundraising efforts for cancer research.

Mechelle Kulker - family in Prince Edward County where she will marry
Mechelle and her family in Prince Edward County, where she and Kent will marry.