A Discussion Panel with (from left to right) Dr Kekre, Phil Nguyen, Joy Rashid, Christine Sutherland, Jani Lamarche

Ottawa in-person ‘Blood Cancer Connect & Learn’

More than 70 people impacted by blood cancer attended an event in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024 at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Called “Blood Cancer Connect & Learn,” this was the first in-person community education event held by LLSC since the pandemic (and there are more coming). 

As the event’s name suggests, “Blood Cancer Connect & Learn” was also all about networking, over the meal we provided. Many new connections were made between those newly diagnosed, survivors, caregivers from the Ottawa region, as well as with the healthcare experts at the event. 

LLSC kiosk with Geoffrey Molle, Community Services Lead for the Ontario West Region and Ottawa.

Dr. Natasha Kekre, a hematologist in the transplant and cellular therapy program at The Ottawa Hospital, and a scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and lead of the pioneering CAR T clinical trial, CLIC-01, discussed navigating lymphoma and leukemia in the wake of CAR-T cells and finding Canadian solutions.

Jani Lamarche, Clinical Psychology doctoral candidate in the Psychosocial Oncology Laboratory at the University of Ottawa presented on mental health issues during and after blood cancer treatments.

Paula Hall spoke about her incredible experience as a survivor of an aggressive form of stage 4, large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma – diagnosed as a new mother.

A panel discussion was held on the topic, ‘how to manage your blood cancer,’ with Christine Sutherland, social worker, The Ottawa Hospital; Joy Rashid, hematology program lead and pharmacist, Extend Pharmacy; Phil Nguyen, nurse in the transplantation and cell therapy unit at The Ottawa Hospital; Jani Lamarche; and Dr. Kekre.

Discussion Panel with (from left to right) Dr Kekre, Phil Nguyen, Joy Rashid, Christine Sutherland, Jani Lamarche

The audience was very involved in the Q&A sessions. Many very interesting questions were asked, giving the opportunity to our speakers to talk more about the future of blood cancer treatments, fear of recurrence, and the best way to collaborate with your medical team. 

‘Answered several questions that I did not have a chance to ask at follow-up appointments with my cancer team.’

‘What a great forum in which to share knowledge and experiences.’ 

‘It’s nice to see there are other treatments coming up in the near future. Good work!’ 

We were also happy to host our friends and collaborators from Canadian Blood Services and Look Good, Feel Better who are doing an amazing job at supporting the blood cancer community. Both organizations had tables set up at our event to promote their services and programs.