Mr. Speaker, every April the Canadian Cancer Society honours and supports those affected by cancer with the Daffodil Campaign where people can buy daffodils and raise money for Cancer research. Daffodils survive long winters and bloom in early Spring and are a natural symbol of hope and strength for the cancer survivors they have come to represent. In previous years I have delivered daffodils across Rossmere, but this year I wish to honour two special Manitobans who epitomize this survival spirit.
Rossmere residents Karl and Andrea Jaek were Manitoba’s first couple to both have bone marrow transplants; Karls’s for Mantle cell lymphoma and Andrea’s for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
2021 marks 5 years since Karl’s 2016 transplant and ten years since Andrea’s younger brother ended her 10-year cancer battle with a life-saving bone-marrow donation. On top of this, I recently virtually attended their fortieth year wedding anniversary. This is a year Karl and Andrea have much to celebrate!
They credit excellent doctors, the fantastic care at CancerCare and the decade-long care of their church community who provided meals, childcare and housekeeping for 10 long years. Karl and Andrea now serve that same church community by supporting and training others who help those struggling with sickness or grief. They thank God for every day of their post-cancer life and are enjoying life and serving others.
Andrea recalls her desire to keep living – there were still things she wanted to do. She chose to focus on life-giving things including completing two 60 kilometer walks and raising money for Cancer care – even while undergoing treatment.
In the midst of her sickness, Andrea prayed that God would help her get through for the sake of their teenage children who were struggling. Today many people thank God for Karl, Andrea and scores of other cancer survivors whose courage, perseverance and faith inspire us to persevere and evaluate our priorities to make our lives count.