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Canadian Teen Dies From Leukemia Despite Matching Marrow Donor Due To Hospital Waiting List

In a sad story out of Canada, a teenage student recently died from leukemia before she was able to graduate from high school. To honor her memory, hundreds of her classmates came together at her funeral and turned her coffin into a colorful “yearbook”.

After a brave battle for five years, 18-year-old Laura Hillier passed away last January, just one semester before she was to have earned her high school diploma.

Hillier’s death is especially tragic because it was preventable. It turns out that there were actually several matching bone marrow donors available to move forward with a transplant for the young woman.

However, it seems that Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital in Ontario, Canada didn’t have enough beds in high-air-pressure rooms to go ahead with the transplant procedure for Hillier.

According to hospital staff, the facility currently had about 30 patients with potential donors lined up and ready to go, but the hospital only had the necessary equipment to do five transplants a month.

Of note, Hillier was initially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the young age of 13.

Her family explained to the media that Hillier had been cancer-free for close to four years after her first battle with AML, but then suffered a relapse early last summer.

Dr. Ralph Meyer, vice-president of oncology and palliative care at Juravinski hospital, explained in an interview with Canadian media sources that many other patients are facing the same situation as Laura throughout Canada.

Hillier’s obituary hammered the Canadian health care system, noting Canada’s bed shortage for transplants was leading to “deadly wait times”:

"In Laura’s last year with us, she was determined to bring public attention to the problem of deadly wait times for bone marrow transplants in Ontario and across Canada.”

Following Hillier’s tragic death, the outpouring of support for Laura and her family was so huge that the family was forced to request that some people only attend the visitation instead of the funeral, given that they were actually running out of room at the cemetery gravesite.

It seems that Hillier was a big fan of musical theater, and her theater friends came out in droves to sign her casket with colorful markers, talking about her life and accomplishments and singing all of her favorite songs.

Hillier’s family is determined that Laura’s death will not be in vain. They have begun a public relations campaign designed to raise awareness about the long wait times for transplant procedures in Canada. The family’s goal is to convince politicians to make major changes to the current health care system that heartlessly condemns many people to death because of an impossibly long wait list.

“Though Laura’s casket was a beautiful sentiment from her friends and family, Laura’s fight, and now our fight, is to change the medical system to end the deadly wait times for patients requiring a bone marrow transplant,” a post on the Hope for Laura Hillier Facebook page said.

Source: Scubby
Photo: Imgur, Facebook

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