Thanks to a group of visionary doctors and donors, Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) is celebrating another first: a Stem Cell Transplant Survivorship Program designed to support transplant patients and their families. A three-year pilot, the Survivorship Program is the only one of its kind in Canada.
Currently, there are approximately 1,500 bone marrow and stem cell transplant survivors living in BC, and the new program will be dedicated to supporting survivors who are at risk of developing long-term complications after they return home.
“Our team has worked closely with Dr. Flowers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle to design a long-term follow-up program here in BC that will have a positive impact on transplant survivors’ quality of life,” explains Dr. Raewyn Broady, who championed the program along with Dr. Thomas Nevill of the Division of Hematology.
The Survivorship Program is made possible through the generosity of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation donors, including the family of Don and Mary Millerd, who were inspired to contribute following their daughter’s stem cell transplant in 2011.
“This remarkable procedure put her cancer into remission and saved her life,” says Don Millerd. “For this, we are deeply grateful.”
The Millerds helped lead the fundraising charge so that survivors like their daughter would have lifelong support. Together, the Millerds and a small number of Foundation donors raised $476,000 to fund the pilot.
The Foundation congratulates Drs Broady and Nevill for launching another VGH first.