Stories of Care - Patients

Shannon and Brad Adams
Shannon and Brad Adams

Across the County in Support of Shannon

"Although I tested negative for COVID, my blood work indicated I had leukemia.”
Brad Adams with daughter Abby in Caledonia
Brad Adams with daughter Abby in Caledonia

Shannon Adams from Canfield was convinced she had COVID-19. After dealing with flu-like symptoms for a few days in December 2020, she visited Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe for a COVID test.

“I’m a nurse at the hospital myself, and when I walked into the building that day, my co-workers commented that I looked terrible,” Shannon recalls. “In addition to a COVID test, I had some blood work done. Although I tested negative for COVID, my blood work indicated I had leukemia.”

Treatment begins

Shannon was referred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where she underwent additional blood work and a bone-marrow biopsy. The testing confirmed that she had plasma cell leukemia, a very rare form of cancer.

Following chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant using her own cells, Shannon’s team planned to perform an allogeneic stem cell transplant to battle the cancer, which would require a matching stem cell donor.

“I started a Facebook page, where we could encourage people to donate stem cells and hopefully identify a matching donor,” explains her husband, Brad. “We called the Facebook page ‘Shannon’s Plasma Cell Mates’ to play off the fact that she’s a nurse and I’m a police officer.”

Inspiration and love

About a week later, Shannon’s doctors determined that her cancer was too aggressive for an allogeneic stem cell transplant. In the face of this disappointing news, Brad decided to do something that would inspire the community and keep spreading the word about the importance of donating stem cells.

Along with their daughter Abby, Brad decided to ride on horseback throughout Haldimand-Norfolk on a predetermined route from May 5 to 15, 2021. Word of the ride quickly spread through the media, and crowds gathered to show their support wherever Brad and Abby went.

“Whether we were in Dunnville, Cayuga, Jarvis, Simcoe, Port Dover or Caledonia, people lined the streets to cheer us on as we rode through town,” recalls Brad. “The amount of love and support we received was overwhelming.”

Caring colleagues and communities

Through their website, Shannon and Brad decided to fundraise in support of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation – a way of giving back to the health care workers who helped her.

“I’ve been blessed to have such great people on my team,” says Shannon. “Our fundraising is supporting care on the stem cell unit to help other patients in need.”

Shannon’s colleagues at Norfolk General Hospital were busy with their own fundraising activities. They sold T-shirts, coffee mugs and homemade cupcakes in support of Shannon’s Plasma Cell Mates.

On June 3, Brad took another trip on his horse – this time to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where he presented a cheque to the Foundation for $50,590.

“I can’t believe how much support we’ve had from the community,” says Shannon, who continues with her chemotherapy at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. “It’s unbelievable and I’m forever grateful to everyone.”

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