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Wednesday, May 3, 2017 in Foundations, Royal University Hospital

Story courtesy of Royal University Hospital Foundation

In the span of less than half a year, Joan Lalonde and her daughter Kim each had a battle with cancer. But mother and daughter persevered. And as a thank you for the superlative care they received at Royal University Hospital (RUH) and the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, the family is giving back.

Joan and her husband, Tony, through the Lalonde Family Foundation, made a $10,000 donation this fall to RUH Foundation's GREATE.R. Campaign, and decided to continue their support year-after-year as part of their legacy.

 Joan, Kim and Tony Lalonde

Both Joan and Tony are retired RUH Laboratory Medicine employees and they know that every donation — no matter the size — will make a difference and save lives at RUH.

"Kim and I received excellent care, and we also felt it was likely that regularly, somebody we knew was being diagnosed [with cancer]," Joan says. "If we can help out a little bit with faster diagnosis or better equipment for procedures, we'd like to be a part of it."

Every dollar counts, Joan says. She speaks with the weight of experience.

Back in January 2014, Kim was five months pregnant and was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma. The doctors wanted to keep the baby in utero for as long as possible, but by the end of January the cancer was spreading and Kim needed a C-section.

Joan and Tony were on vacation at the time. The fact that the two had retired after working in pathology at RUH was both a blessing and a curse. They reflect that "because we both had worked in the pathology department when we were younger, we knew what lymphoma involved. We knew that the prognosis might not turn out the way we wanted, but we couldn't say anything."

Kim's newborn son, Michael, was in Intensive Care for five weeks. She had a stem cell transplant from her own cells, and the procedure worked. Her plans to continue her teaching career part-time at Clavet Composite School are now real.

Meanwhile, Joan had her own dragons to slay. In summer 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has since undergone chemotherapy, radiation and a corpectomy. She feels good now and is back in Nicaragua, where she and Tony spend their winters.

The Lalonde family's donation to the RUH Foundation will make a difference and save lives. They want to emphasize that you, too, can have a positive impact on patient care at RUH: "Kim had excellent treatment, and the doctors and the nursing staff on the unit were fantastic. They were ready and able to answer any questions we had, and to help out. We had very good treatment. So by all means help out however you can, because it benefits everybody in the long run and you never know when you are going to need it."

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 |
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