Don survived cancer with help from Hope Air supporters

Don survived cancer with help from Hope Air supporters

Sign up to receive Hope Air news, updates and patient journeys.

When Don nearly collapsed while carrying heavy furniture, he knew something was very wrong. It was just the beginning of a lengthy health journey that, at times, seemed impossible to face. But he would ultimately find the support he needed to make it through in Hope Air.

During Don’s first episode, his heart rate skyrocketed. This was highly unusual for an active man in his early forties. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition known as cardiac sarcoidosis. He underwent many surgeries and faced complications along the way, which led him back to the Emergency Room. Bloodwork soon showed that Don was also suffering from stage IV mantle cell lymphoma. The cancer had spread throughout his body and was even inside his bones.

An aggressive regimen of treatments including numerous types of chemotherapy followed Don’s diagnosis but they failed to get his cancer under control so, Don was admitted into a research trial where he would be injected with a “living drug” called CAR T cells to combat the disease. The experimental treatment offered hope but Don couldn’t access it in his hometown. This meant he had to make regular trips to Vancouver—a financial burden that was difficult to bear, especially after missing work for extended periods due to illness.

Before finding Hope Air, Don didn’t know how he would make it work. And if he didn’t find a way, it could have had devastating effects. After all, as the Canadian Cancer Society found, even a four-week delay in treatment can increase the risk of death by more than 10% for cancer patients.

Thanks to our generous donors, Don and other patients facing unimaginable health challenges don’t have to wonder if or how they can get to the care they need. In Don’s case, receiving Hope Air’s support to promptly access treatment helped to save his life.

Don was able to travel to Vancouver and stay in the city for monitoring during the critical months through which his immune system was at its weakest. The CAR T cells did an amazing job of targeting his cancer and he eventually returned home to continue recovering.

Today, Don is in remission and is feeling great. He’s often out at the lake with his fiancé, Chandra, and his daughter, Clara. With his difficult days battling cancer behind him, he now enjoys engaging in his two favourite hobbies—writing and photography. He is grateful for Hope Air supporters who made it possible for him to reach brighter, cancer-free days.
Roger and his wife Susie are from Northern Ontario, a nearly thirteen-hour drive from the hospital Roger would have to reach for his compartment syndrome surgery in Hamilton, Ontario. Roger lives near Kapuskasing, Ontario, with his wife Susie. His symptoms first began 15 years ago, with intense pressure and pain in his legs and arms that was accompanied by swelling.

After visiting several doctors near his home and in Thunder Bay, Roger was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a condition where his muscles expanded as if he had done strenuous exercise. Compartment syndrome is a rare condition where, untreated, causes nerve damage, amputation, loss of muscle function, and kidney failure, among other consequences. Doctors did not know what caused Roger’s condition, but knew that it needed urgent medical intervention.