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Volume 54 Number 15
April 13, 2021
Nijmegen: Worlds apart walking together JOY SMITH Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands; Nijmegen was also the encampment site of the 1st Canadian Army during the winter of 1944. Over five weeks in the spring of 1945 nearly eight thousand Canadian Troops gave their lives fighting in the area around Nijmegen to bravely liberate the Dutch people from the oppression of Nazi occupation. Since 1952 - Canada has been sending troops to Nijmegen to participate in the Vierdaagse and pay tribute to that sacrifice. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic marked the first time that Canada was unable to participate as a nation since first attending. The Vierdaagse or “Four Days Marches”, is the largest international walking event in the world. Each year upwards of fifty thousand participants, both civilian and military, from nearly 80 different countries descend on the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands to take part in this grueling event. Marchers walk varied routes throughout the countryside with military participants needing to complete four consecutive days of 40km loaded marches in order to finish. First started in 1909 as a means to strengthen the Dutch Military, the “Vierdaagse” has grown year after year with 2020 to have been the 104th running of the event. In their history the marches have been cancelled only a handful of times, namely during the World Wars, as well as 2020 for COVID-19. Again this year, Nijmegen will be a virtual event. This event is open to everyone, military, Defence team employees, family members and civilians. Anyone interested in participating can march any two days between May 1-9. You can
choose your marching distance, between 2 km-20 km with or without a weighted ruck sack. The entrance fee is $20, which will be donated to the Boomer’s Legacy, which is an organization that strives to empower all deployed Canadian Armed Forces soldiers, sailors, aviators and airwomen by raising and providing charitable funds, thus helping them to help others. You can sign up for the march by searching for an event “victory march” or by clicking and/or copy & paste this link into your browsers https://raceroster.com/ events/2021/38945/victory-marchla-marche-de-la-victoire. While the Nijmegen Victory March is a “walking” event, Tovah Fenske, 4 Wing’s PSP Fitness Coordinator has a few words of advice for anyone wanting to take part. “The ‘full distance’ of 20 km times two days is like doing two half marathons,” commented Fenske. “It does not matter if you are walking or running, your body needs to train for this. There are various distances for this reason, choose a distance that is suitable based on your current fitness level and training distance (consider the distance that you are currently doing on a regular basis and aim for something a little longer). You have a little less than a month before the event date and should start training now.” Fenske was the pre-march trainer for the 4 Wing team participating in the 2018 Nijmegen Victory March. While training for the event, the team, including Fenske, walked approximately 900 kilometres carrying ruck sacks weighing between 22 to 30 pounds. If you have any questions about the virtual march or require Jeff Gaye assistance, please contact the 4 4 Wing’s PSP Fitness Coordinator, Tovah Fenske (on the left), helped train Wing Fitness Coordinator Tovah members of 4 Wing prepare for the Nijmegen Victory March back in 2018. Fenske at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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GET CONNECTED GET CONNECTED with our website CAFconnection OR
Visit us at www.CAFconnection.ca or www.facebook.com/ 4WINGCONNECTION/ Accounting & Business Concept Services Inc. “Let the team of T.A.W. help you keep your money.”
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Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh OTTAWA – NATIONAL DEFENCE
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The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement April 9, 2021 on the passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh: “It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh, a man who embodied service before self throughout his long life. I have had the honour of meeting with Prince Philip a number of times while serving as an aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and while working for the Vancouver Police Department. I will always
remember his dedication to Canada and deep connection with the Canadian Armed Forces. “From his distinguished career with the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of public service, his extensive philanthropic work, and his thousands of inspiring engagements around the world, Prince Philip was bound by a sense of duty to others. “Here in Canada, this sense of duty was reflected in the unique bond Prince Philip developed with the Canadian Armed Forces, and over the years he became Colonel in Chief of six Canadian units. In 2011, he was named Honorary
CWO PETER STAUFFER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPS
Centennial Building(#67), PO Box 6190 Stn Forces, Cold Lake, AB T9M 2C5 Phone: (780) 594-5206 Email: email@example.com
MANAGER/ADMIN/SALES Janae Wandler - firstname.lastname@example.org REPORTER Joy Smith - email@example.com
CWO Peter Stauffer Memorial Scholarships were created by the Medley CFB Society in honour of Peter Stauffer, the Wing Chief Warrant Officer and an active member of the Society from July 2000 until July 2004, who passed away due to cancer September 19, 2004. In Peter Stauffer’s name, the Society presents three $2500.00 Scholarships each academic year.
Application process: Open to all graduating high school students who are dependents of personnel currently serving at 4 Wing in the CAF (Regular or Reserve) or as DND or NPF employees. The students must be planning on pursuing full-time post-secondary studies at a recognized educational institution (academic or technical), must have maintained a consistent academic standing and have contributed to the community in a demonstrable manner.
The deadline for this year’s submissions is June 4, 2021.
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General of the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as Honorary Admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Prince Philip was motivated to serve both Queen and country, and his steadfast support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was unwavering for more than seven decades. He will be forever remembered for his commitment to community engagement, and as a devoted husband, a father of four, a grandfather of eight and a greatgrandfather of 10. Our thoughts are with Her Majesty and her family on this saddest of days, and we extend our deepest condolences for this profound loss.”
The most important application requirement is the 500-word essay on either ‘Leadership’, ‘Quality of Life’ or ‘Community Spirit’. Students must provide a clear and well thought out presentation of what their selected quality means to them and illustrate that quality’s influence in their own lives.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Should there be any questions regarding the CWO Peter Stauffer Memorial Scholarships and the application process, please contact the 4 Wing CWO EA, Sgt Nicholas Broczkowski at telephone 780-840-8000 ext 8112 or email Nicholas.Broczkowski@forces.gc.ca.
Wednesday at 1500 hrs for the following Tuesday
The Courier is published weekly with the permission of the 4 Wing Cold Lake Wing Commander Col Moar. The opinions expressed are those of the contributor and do not reflect those of the Editor, Canadian Armed Forces, or DND. The Editor reserves the right to reject, edit, or condense any editorial or advertising material. Publié hebdomadairement avec la permission du Commandant de l’escadre, le col Moar. Les opinions personnelles exprimées dans ce journal sont celles des collaborateurs et ne représentent pas les opinions de la rédaction, des Forces armées canadiennes ou du Ministrère de la Défense nationale. La rédaction se réserve le droit de refuser, d’éditer ou de condenser tout article et matériel de réclame soumis.
ACTIVITIES AT A GLANCE
For all Personnel Support Programs and Military Family Resource Centre Society activities, be sure to check out our calendar at www.cafconnection.ca/cold-lake #GetConnected
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• PSP 780.840.8000 EXT 7823 • MESSES - JJ Gray 780.840.8000 EXT 8139 A division of CF Morale & Welfare Services Une division des Services de bien-être et moral des FC
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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Watch a great Canadian movie PSP COMMUNITY RECREATION
normal times, in every conceivable venue. This year on April 21, 2021, Now in its eighth year, National Canadians everywhere will be Canadian Film Day (NCFD) has watching a great Canadian film. taken root as our largest annual We hope all of you will join in! celebration of Canadian culture. Grab your popcorn and get It is about giving Canadians an ready to enjoy one, or all three opportunity to gather together of the fantastic Canadian films 4 (although virtually this year) Wing PSP Community Recreation and celebrate the incredible will have available. The Grizzlies is achievements of our nation’s a heartwarming true story about a filmmakers. Every year hundreds small Arctic town struggling with of screenings take place on every the highest suicide rate in North conceivable platform and, in America, and a group of Inuit
students’ lives are transformed when they are introduced to the sport of lacrosse. 1991 recounts lead character Ricardos’ adventures of his 21-year-old self, when he went to Italy following love. Meatballs is a comedy about the wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp. Follow our event on the 4 Wing Connection Facebook page for more details leading up to the event, and to be a part of the discussion following the screenings.
Michael “Mike” Joseph Jukosky (MWO Retd) The family of Michael “Mike” Joseph Jukosky of Cold Lake, Alberta is saddened to announce his passing on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at the age of 96 years. Mike will be lovingly remembered by his three children: Barbara (Leslie) Yule of St. Albert, AB, Beverly (Barry) Peel of Saskatoon, SK, Michael (Leah) Jukosky of Edmonton, AB; eight grandchildren: Elana Yule, Alyssa (Cameron) Melnyk, Kyla Peel (Foster Weisgerber), Bryan (Jamie) Peel, Sean (Lily) Jukosky, Rosemarie Jukosky, Sarah Jukosky, Michelle Jukosky; five great-grandchildren: Melina & Mark Jukosky, Violet Peel, Leo & Gabriel Melnyk; as well as numerous other relatives. Mike was predeceased by his loving wife: Jeannie (2012); four brothers: George, Bill, John, Harry; sister: Betty. A private family Funeral Service, by invitation only, Friday, April 16, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., Trinity United Church, Cold Lake, Alberta with Reverend Peter Kugba Nyande officiating. Final resting place, Lakeview Cemetery, Cold Lake, Alberta. A live-stream of Mike’s Funeral Service will be available on Memento Funeral Chapel Facebook page. If you do not already follow our page, please like/join our page prior to the service to be able to watch. If you do not have a Facebook account, please copy this link into your internet browser: https://www.facebook.com/MementoFuneralChapel Memorial tributes in memory of Mike may be sent to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #211, “Poppy Fund”, 10077 Avenue, Cold Lake, Alberta T9M 0C4 or the Alzheimer Society, 10531 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5H 4K1. Please visit our website at www.mementofuneralchapel.com to view online obituary and send condolences. ARRANGEMENTS WERE IN CARE OF MEMENTO FUNERAL CHAPEL, COLD LAKE, BONNYVILLE AND ST. PAUL (780) 639-3113. The Thackeray Family ~ A Tradition of Trust since 1975
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Business Hours are currently: Mon - Fri 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Food/Prescription sales by delivery only. Text (780-573-0927) or Email: email@example.com Drop-off appointments preferred, doors are locked and pets are handed to staff on arrival. Clients are not in the appointments. Please follow our Facebook Page for current changes.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Photo of the Week From Your 4 Wing Imagery Team
Cpl Justin Roy, 4 Wing Imaging
Corporal Meagan Ray from 417 Combat Support Squadron inspects a Royal Canadian Air Forces CH-146 Griffon during a run-up out on the tarmac, outside of Hangar 7, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on February 19, 2021.
Three steps to good conversations and close relationships
ou have two ears and only one mouth, and yet it is easier for you to speak than to listen? Check how to talk so that people would love to talk to
you. According to the principles of good dialogue, listening should be before speaking, understanding before judging, and sharing before discussing. It is only when we listen and try to understand that we are able to establish a real relationship. Listening is a fundamental skill for building relationships and closeness. It is thanks to it that we can get to know and share the wealth of experiences and thoughts of the other person. Everyone would like to be a good listener. Many of us are convinced that we are really good at it. Regardless of how you judge yourself in this regard, find out to what extent your behavior can sabotage open and honest conversations. Behaviors that are the opposite of listening include interrupting, guessing what someone wants to say, and ending sentences for someone else and the so-called “not – listening mode”. The first three can be boiled down to the belief that we know what our interlocutor is trying to say. It is precisely this assumption that we have read someone else’s thoughts like a telepath and know what he or she wants to say that often destroys the chances of mutual understanding, and consequently also hinders building closeness. Often times, when we are interrupted, or when we discover that we are not being listened to, we lose the urge to continue the conversation or withdraw into ourselves. Since we make communication mistakes so easily, what can we do to improve our listening skills? Fortunately, there are some proven and fairly simple ways we can use.
Padre Marcin Rosinski
Step 1: Be aware of yourself, your thoughts and emotions. Observe yourself, your reactions, thoughts and emotions during the conversation. Start noticing moments when you are interrupting or not listening. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect to become an excellent listener overnight either. It is important that you start noticing the moments when you find it hardest to get into listening mode or not interrupt the other person. Also observe what you think and feel then. I encourage you to observe yourself with curiosity; do not judge yourself. Just see how you act and react. Collect data to go further. Step 2: Analyze your observations. After you have made a few observations, consider if they have any common features. Maybe you don’t listen when you are tired or busy with something else? Perhaps the most difficult thing for you to focus on is the conversation when you come home from work? One of the people I worked with found it hard to listen when she felt anxious or stressed. Another saw that when he is absorbed in his hobby, his relatives can talk to him and their words do not reach him at all. Yet another realized that when she feels attacked, her ears seem to close and stop listening; withdraw. Do the same if interrupting someone during conversation is your weakness. Think, maybe you are interrupting a specific person or when a specific topic is being raised? Or maybe before you stop, a thought pops into your head that you already understand what’s going on? I am reminded of what one woman said. She tended to get in the way of others, especially when someone was complaining to her or telling her about something difficult. She noticed that during the conversation she was convinced that she was beginning to understand what the other person was talking
about, and compassion combined with something akin to excitement resulting from the feeling that she was beginning to understand. This connection caused her to interrupt her interlocutor before the other person finished her speech. Unfortunately, often the other person reacted with anger, withdrawal, or accused them of not feeling listened to. Step 3: Work on yourself. If you already know the circumstances under which you find it hardest to listen, or when you interrupt most often, start working on yourself. We don’t always have the strength to listen to the other person. Communicate clearly to others how you feel and what your needs are. By calmly saying that you are tired or have a hard time concentrating, you minimize the risk of being told you are not listening. Tell your relatives when it is most difficult for you to enter the “listening mode” and find a solution together. Think about what will help you concentrate on listening. Maybe it’s worth coming up with a “secret word” to help you get into “listening mode”? There are as many ways as there are people. Think, talk and test different solutions. Remember you don’t know everything. When you want to interrupt someone again, replace the statement with a question. Sometimes it is difficult to listen to someone else’s speech without interrupting them. At the same time, asking questions can help the other person see more clearly what they are talking about or what is bothering them. Try not to interrupt but to ask. Remember - hearing what your interlocutor is saying is about more than just listening. If you want to hear, you have to listen, try to understand and not judge. Good luck!
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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TGIW a hit at the mess THE COURIER Since August 7th, 2020 the 4 Wing Messes have been putting on pick-up or drive-thru style meals almost every Wednesday for lunch to provide a little bit of a morale boost to their members during COVID-19. With the messes still closed to activities due to a combination of Wing and Provincial restrictions, the messes have continued to look for ways to keep their members engaged and to give
back as much as possible. Since the start of the program, over 15,000 meals have been provided to members ranging from taco salad to donairs to shepherd’s pie. The weekly event has seen over 800 members consistently since October and is described by many as a bright spot during their week. Officers’ Mess PMC Major Gabe Gosselin describes the activity and what it means as “an important connection between our Mess Executive volunteers and 4 Wing membership during COVID where it
shows how our colleagues are making the effort to sustain that culture of camaraderie that is so needed during this period”. This popular program is looking to continue for as long as possible while restrictions remain in place so that the members can enjoy a little bit of the mess, even if they can’t be inside of it. The committees are always looking for other options too, so if you have any ideas, feel free to contact your mess committee at any time.
A member of the mess committee delivers one of many meals.
DR. ERIC HANSEN Hon. B.Sc. D.D.S DR. MAY CONLIN Hon. B.Sc., D.M.D. General Dentists
gentle hands, caring professionals
Rows of cars wait in line at the Officers’ Mess to pick up their drive-thru style lunch.
VICTORY MARCH PRESENTED BY MILITARY PERSONNEL COMMAND
Join us this May in celebrating the history of friendship between the Netherlands and Canada as we march together in support of Boomer’s Legacy! Each year, a contingent of the Canadian Armed Forces attends the Four Day Marches in Nijmegen, Netherlands to participate the largest multi-day march in the world. This year the Victory March, presented by Military Personnel Command (MILPERSCOM), invites Canadian Armed Forces members, Defence community and their families to lace up with all Canadians to honour our history while supporting our Canadian Armed Forces members in providing humanitarian support both at home and abroad.
DATES: MAY 1-9, 2021
5213 - 51 Ave Cold Lake www.lakecentredental.com
MARCHE DE LA VICTOIRE PRÉSENTÉE PAR LE COMMANDEMENT DU PERSONNEL MILITAIRE
En mai, joignez-vous à nous pour célébrer l’histoire de l’amitié entre les Pays-Bas et le Canada alors que nous marchons ensembleen appui à « Boomer’s Legacy »! Chaque année, un contingent des Forces armées canadiennes assiste aux marches de quatre jours à Nimègue, aux Pays-Bas, pour participer à la plus grande marche de plusieurs jours au monde. Cette année, la marche de la Victoire, présentée par le commandement du personnel militaire (COMPERSMIL), invite les membres des Forces armées canadiennes, la communauté de la Défense et leurs familles à se lier avec tous les Canadiens et les Canadiennes pour honorer notre histoire tout en aidant les membres des Forces armées canadiennes à fournir un soutien humanitaire à la fois au pays et à l'étranger.
*your choice of any two days of where and when you would like to march
DATES: DU 1ER AU 9 MAI 2021
*vous avez le choix de deux jours où et quand vous souhaitez marcher
EVENTS: 2x 2km 2x 5km 2x 10km 2x 20km 2x 20km
Boomer's Legacy Family March Friendship March Gift of the Tulips March Liberation March JTF Nijmegen Commander's Challenge (with 10kg weight)
REGISTRATION: Early Bird Pricing (until April 1) Individual $15 Family $40 Regular Pricing (after April 2nd) Individual $20 Family $50
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Respecting physical distancing protocols and other preventative health measures will remain a priority during this individual challenge, as well as COVID-19 restrictions implemented by all levels of government.
ÉVÉNEMENTS : 2x 2km
de marche « Boomer’s Legacy » en famille 2x 5km Marche de l'amitié 2x 10km Marche du don des tulipes 2x 20km Marche de la libération 2x 20km JTF Défi du commandant de Nimègue (en transportant un poids de 10kg)
INSCRIPTION : Tarifs des participants hâtifs (jusqu'au 1er avril) Individual $15 Family $40 Prix régulier (après le 2 avril) Individuel 20 $ Famille 50 $
CLIQUEZ ICI POUR VOUS INSCRIRE
The Courier News & Publishing
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Crossword ACROSS 1. Pituitary hormone (abbr.) 4. Ceramic jars 9. Monetary units 14. Alias 15. ‘Superman’ actor 16. Britonic tribe 17. Shorten 18. LA Dodgers manager 20. Hoarded 22. Theatrically portray 23. Noah’s grandson 24. Dependent 28. Peyton’s little brother 29. Cools the house 30. Principle part of 31. Type of wrap 33. Peels 37. Commercial 38. Make an attempt 39. Arrange in steps 41. U. Utah athlete 42. Old English 43. Trade 44. Nostrils 46. Ticket seller __Hub 49. Of I 50. Institute legal proceedings against 51. Takes apart 55. Doorway 58. Long int’l river 59. Trailblazing athlete Gibson 60. Former CBS News host
64. Sign language 65. Badgerlike mammal 66. Thin strips of wood 67. Brooklyn hoopster 68. Portents of good or evil 69. Footwear 70. When you think you’ll arrive DOWN 1. Batflower genus 2. Predatory seabirds 3. Fish farm 4. Arrangements 5. Go in advance of others 6. Bulgarian monetary unit 7. ‘__ Maria’ 8. W. African ethnoreligious group 9. Wild Asian oxen genus 10. Vinegary 11. To this 12. Explosive 13. Female sibling 19. Orlando museum (abbr.) 21. Type of hoop 24. About Holy Father 25. Academic environment 26. Extremely angry 27. Surrenders 31. Swiss mountain pass 32. Sharp mountain ridge 34. Erases 35. Spielberg’s alien
36. Absurd 40. Dorm worker 41. Used to make pesticides 45. The sister of your father or mother 47. A way to let know 48. Can’t produce much vegetation 52. Small streams 53. Folk singer DiFranco
54. Weights 56. Start over 57. Black Sea resort city 59. Wimbledon champ 60. Corporate executive (abbr.) 61. Unskilled actor who overacts 62. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! 63. Of or relating to ears
CAPRICORN - December 22 - January 19 Capricorn, as tedious as research can be, it is ultimately necessary if you are planning a big move or a change in your financial situation. Seek professional advice, if necessary. AQUARIUS - January 20 - February 18 Aquarius, some details are still up in the air about a potential trip or adventure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about the prospects. PISCES - February 19 - March 20 Pisces, if you are being too critical of yourself, change your way of thinking. Others do not view you in the same manner. ARIES - March 21 - April 19 Aries, if you feel like every day is the same thing, then figure out a way to add some spark to the week. Invite friends for an adventure or embrace a new hobby. TAURUS - April 20 - May 20 Taurus, find ways to entertain your family and yourself without breaking the bank. Recreational centers and parks are often free and have many possibilities. GEMINI - May 21 - June 21 Gemini, explore more creative pursuits in the days to come. You can find many great ideas and starter kits for arts and crafts projects at your local craft store. CANCER - June 22 - July 22 Don’t pressure yourself into taking on more than you can handle, Cancer. Even though you may feel up to the challenge, there’s no shame in accepting help. LEO - July 23 - August 22 Leo, this week you may find yourself looking inward, which is not necessarily the norm for you. Try connecting with others as it may do you some good. VIRGO - August 23 - September 22 A new relationship could start this week, Virgo. Don’t try to put on airs; just be yourself and you will likely find that everything will work out for the best. LIBRA - September 23 - October 22 Financial uncertainty has you rethinking things this week, Libra. Just be sure you are not being pennywise but dollar foolish. Make cuts across the board. SCORPIO - October 23 - November 21 Scorpio, when another person confides in you, it is up to you to keep his or her secret, unless you believe doing so would be harmful to that person. Maintain your trustworthy reputation. SAGITTARIUS - November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius, don’t rush ahead on a project, even if you think you are ready to move forward. Give it a few more days of careful consideration before diving right in.
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To solve a Sudoku puzzle, every number from 1 to 9 must appear in: - Each of the nine vertical columns - Each of the nine horizontal rows - Each of the nine 3x3 boxes Remember no number can occur more than once in any column, row, or box. Answers can be found at www.couriernews.ca.
For this week’s answers, check out our website at www.couriernews.ca
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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Fighting the good fight LCOL LAURA LAYCOCK It was Oct. 7, 2019, and not only was life good, it was amazing. My career in the Royal Canadian Air Force was going great. I loved my job and was getting promoted. Throughout my Canadian Armed Forces career of over 20 years, I had represented Canada around the world with NORAD, NATO and the UN. I had married the most incredible man. We relocated to Ottawa, started to travel the world together, and were ready to start a family. Then, on Oct. 8, 2019, everything changed. I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) after blood work for vertigo showed extremely elevated white blood cell counts. CML is a blood cancer where the bone marrow overproduces white blood cells, which eventually impairs completely the development of white and red blood cells and platelets. It’s usually caused by a spontaneous mutation in DNA, which contains our genetic code. Twenty years ago, researchers developed a new line of drugs that combat this overproduction of white blood cells. These targeted oral chemotherapy pills have been revolutionary in the fight against CML. Most people who take them do so for the rest of their lives and have good survival rates. A stem cell transplant remains the only actual cure, but it’s risky and is not needed for most people. It’s now been about 17 months since my diagnosis and my body has not tolerated this targeted chemotherapy. I fall into that small fraction of people who get debilitating or life-threatening side effects from this medication. My doctors are discussing other treatment options, one of which is a stem cell transplant, but my mixed ethnicity (European/Middle Eastern) has made it difficult to find a donor match. My journey since my diagnosis has been to slow down and educate myself so that I can heal and advocate for my care; to appreciate every little moment of joy; and to do my best to overcome each challenge that arises. I have found strength in the extraordinary support I’ve received from my family, my friends and my community, both old and new. With the help of family and friends, I recently began a social media campaign to increase stem cell donor education and registration in Canada and around the world. Many people are unaware of the potentially lifesaving role they can play by registering to become stem cell donors. Stem cell transplants are vital treatment options for people with a range of medical conditions including spinal cord injuries, heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. The process to donate is simple. First, you register online with Canadian Blood Services or Héma-Québec and do a mail-in cheek swab. Then you wait. It could be months or years before you are identified as a match. During this waiting period, you should update your contact information with the registry if it changes. When you are matched, you will be contacted to continue with the donation process. This process is similar to giving blood, but it has its differences. The cells are usually collected intravenously from peripheral blood in a non-surgical procedure but, in rare cases, they are collected directly from the bone marrow in a surgical procedure. In either case, the risks associated with donating are minor. In Canada, individuals aged 17 to 35 can register to become stem cell donors (ages 18 to 35 in Quebec). Both CBS and Héma-Québec are part of an international network of donor registries from over 50 countries. This network has a pool of over 38 million donors but, unfortunately, matches are rare. So your stem cells could potentially help others around the world. And throughout this process, donor privacy is assured at all times. Stem cell matching relies on Human Leukocyte Antigen typing, which is highly influenced by ethnicity. This means that a patient’s best chance of finding a matching donor is from those who share similar ethnic backgrounds. Research conducted by Gragert et al. (2014) has shown that the likelihood of finding a match for certain ethnic groups can be as low as 16 percent and as high as 75 percent for others. This disparity highlights the need for more ethnically diverse stem cell donors in our registries.
Today, I am calling on my DND and CAF families to register as stem cell donors to help people, like me, who are fighting for our lives. If you aren’t able to register, please share this call with those who can. You, or someone you know, could be the match that saves a life -- a simple swab is all it takes to be a hero. To register as a stem cell donor: Canadian Blood Services Héma-Québec: https://www.blood.ca/en/stemcells Swab the World: https://swabtheworld.com/en/become-a-donor You can follow Laura’s campaign on Facebook: @MyBattleWithLeukemia Twitter: @MBWLeukemia Instagram: @MyBattleWithLeukemia
LCol Laura Laycock puts out the call to anyone who is able to register as a stem cell donor to help save a life.
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LCol Laura Laycock hands out treats to the local children while serving a UN Deployment in South Sudan.
The Courier: April 13, 2021