Hello! My name is Chiquita Hessels and I am honoured to take the lead in helping the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Association (LFSA) get up and running in Canada. I live in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, our country’s furthest point on the west coast with my husband John, two sons Evan and Arden, and our rescued dog named Blossom.
I was diagnosed with LFS in 2014, three years after my diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, sadly only nine and ten months after both my Mom and Aunt died from their cancers. My two sons, niece and nephew were diagnosed with LFS in 2015/2017. I was the first in our family to actually be diagnosed with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, finally putting a name to the cause of why so many of our family were diagnosed and eventually passing of cancer, or from the many side effects of cancer treatment. Whew, there are few of us left, but we are mighty!
When I was diagnosed with LFS, there was not a lot of information regarding this condition available and so few of my doctors had experience or knowledge to share. I was fortunate in that one of my oncologists did have a patient he was working with and my other oncologist had heard of this syndrome ,but had not worked with it. These are truly exceptional doctors in that they have welcomed the education I’ve been able to share, as have my other team of doctors and care-givers. I’m so grateful for the knowledgeable genetic counsellors that were part of my team who were able to answer my questions and be there to offer emotional support and education, as needed. That being said, the largest pool of information I was able to garner came in the way of the internet, primarily the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Association. This team of incredible volunteers started this association to offer support to those affected by this syndrome across the globe. It’s truly a life line of factual information, expanding networks of medical professionals, researchers and families alike, to help support all who is affected by this bully called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome/LFS.
I hope as the LFSA moves forward with a presence in Canada that I will do justice to what is already in place. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-741-7535.
In good health & spirits;