Gerdine's Story

In 2012, Gerdine Graham, then 33 years old, was diagnosed with and received ongoing treatment for Leukemia.  She received remarkable care and support from the Doctors and staff at the hospitals where she received treatment.  As her condition worsened, the encouragement received by her family was remarkable and appreciated. He family acknowledge the hospital staff did the very best they could with the limited resources they had.  Regrettably, on October 23, 2014, at the age of 35, Gerdine succumbed to her ailment. Her older brother Delroy was very devastated at her loss. He had migrated to Canada when she was young, and had lost the opportunity of seeing her grow up.  In acknowledging the fact that our black community has been experiencing the loss of loved ones to varying cancers, he decided to honor her memory.  With the support of his partner Marcia A. Tulloch The Gerdine Graham Foundation was birthed in honor of her memory.

The aim of the TGGF is to lend support to patients diagnosed with cancer related illnesses, increase awareness about the disease, and emphasize the need for blood donation, particularly from members of our black community. The most common form of cancer affecting our community is Leukemia which is cancer of the body’s blood forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.  It is notable that some form of Leukemia is more common in children and others in adults.  Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells, in which the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which do not function properly.  The information according to Leukemia statistics Canada is alarming.  In 2015, it was estimated that some 6200 Canadians would have been diagnosed with Leukemia, of which 2700 would die.  About 1 in 53 Canadian men was expected to develop Leukemia of which 1 in 96 would die from it and 1 in 72 Canadian women expected to develop Leukemia of which 1 in 132 would die from it.