Thank you all for your generous contributions to Laura’s cause to improve the stem cell transplantation program in Ontario. Thanks to Laura’s advocacy and the response and commitment of many physicians, hospital administrators, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario government, several capital expansion builds are now completed or underway. These expansion projects are for wards dedicated to the treatment of blood cancers and stem cell transplantation. A major project at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton was completed in the fall of 2020. The Ottawa Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital have completed similar projects. Sunnybrook Hospital created a new unit to administer chemotherapy treatment to leukemia patients. Many more transplant physicians have been hired in the province, and training and fellowship programs have been created to ensure staffing of these new units will be sufficient and sustainable going forward. Many more Ontarians are now able to receive their stem cell transplants in a timely manner!
London Health Sciences Centre, and SickKids are in the planning stages for projects. In addition, a brand-new blood cancer and stem cell transplant treatment centre will be created at the Sunnybrook Hospital site in Toronto. Many more lives will be saved in the future because of these projects. Although the Ontario government has generously approved and funded the building of these, additional funding is still required to furnish and equip these wards. Your help is greatly appreciated.
To learn more about Laura, watch the 5-minute documentary (first link below) and/or checkout the other links to a few relevant articles and a TV segment.
Laura's friend Sarah Gonyea and her film making classmates at Sheridan College created a documentary called "A Voice For Change: The Laura Hillier Story". This film won first place in the 2018 TVO Short Documentary contest and the People's Choice Award.
Although great strides in treatment and care have been made, childhood cancer is still the leading disease-related cause of death for Canadian children. We remember those children and teens who have touched our lives in so many ways and their legacies live on.
"Every person who works with Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation (CCCF, formerly Coast to Coast Against Cancer), is a passionate, devoted and caring individual who understands how hard it is for kids and their families to travel this cancer road. Since Laura’s passing in 2016, we have been gathering funds to help Laura's cause to end wait times for stem cell transplants in Ontario and CCCF has kindly provided us a facility for this specific fundraising effort. Our family is incredibly grateful.”
Frances, Greg and Heather Hillier
In Laura’s last year with us, she was determined to bring public attention to the problem of deadly wait times for stem cell transplants in Ontario and across Canada. In 2015, after relapsing with acute myeloid leukemia, Laura achieved remission for the second time and was blessed to have a perfect donor match; however, she found out that she would not be able to receive her life-saving transplant for months as there were many waiting ahead of her and not enough resources to handle the demand. Laura vowed to fix this problem, but sadly died while waiting for her transplant.