According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual report, an estimated 4,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. Young adults aged 15 to 29 will account for over 1000 of these cases. The disease, which affects blood and bone marrow cells, is the deadliest form of cancer for young Canadians.
When Laurier BBA student and cancer survivor Deanna DiClemente was told last year that her leukemia had returned, she knew that she was facing the fight of her life. However as her former roommate and friend Laura Patton explained, Deanna knew that “cancer picked a fight with the wrong girl.”
While in remission from her first bout of leukemia, DiClemente formed “Team D for Dynamite” along with friends and family to raise money for cancer research.
When she was diagnosed a second time with leukemia, DiClemente’s friends decided that they should continue to raise money to help Deanna and others suffering from leukemia beat the disease once and for all.
Fourth year student Kevin Duquette explained that when Deanna’s roommates told him about the team he was “willing to do whatever to help out with the cause.”
The 43 members of “Team D for Dynamite” have shown tremendous dedication in their fundraising efforts. Thus far they have raised $39,700 through personal donations and a recent event at Waterloo’s Cameo nightclub.
Patton explained that the Oct. 5 event “had a huge turnout with a lot of support from the Laurier community.”
Sixteen members of the team took part in the “Light the Night” event in Toronto on Oct. 7 which raised money for research and treatment through The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Participants completed a five km walk while holding illuminated balloons carried as a symbol of hope. Patton shared Duquette’s sentiment, and recalled that “everyone who was there felt it was so inspiring and life changing. There was so much spirit.”
While undergoing treatment in Seattle, Washington, DiClemente still has regular Skype dates with her friends. Despite the hardships that she has had to endure, her friends are still optimistic about her health. Patton put it simply, “Deanna is quite the fighter.”