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Kendall C

 
Kendall C. sitting on a couch with a man

In 2012, Kendall C. and his girlfriend Brandy were twenty-something professionals, enjoying a budding relationship, busy careers and their passion for sailing, when they received a phone call that would change both their lives. Brandy, who had recently seen her doctor for a routine checkup, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood cells.

“There was literally no time for us to think or react to the news,” Kendall remembers. Brandy was admitted to the hospital 2 days after receiving the call, and started chemotherapy immediately. “It was only after she was admitted that we found out that she would be in the hospital for a month.”

Two more rounds of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant meant a solid year of misery for Brandy. “She would just get through one complication, and then another would crop up. It was a really tough road for her.”

It was also difficult for Kendall, made even more so because of the lack of support for caregivers. “There is a lot of information and resources for the patients, but not much for caregivers. It may seem selfish, but I did think ‘what about me?’ This experience might have been easier if there had been someone to help me understand what Brandy was going through and who could relate to what I was going through, too.”

Now married and looking forward to something “fun and different”, the couple works to improve the lives of current and future patients; Brandy is a spokesperson with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, while Kendall is a member of Cancer Care Ontario’s Patient and Family Advisor Council.

“We look at life differently now,” he says. “We don’t take anything for granted.”