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A Letter From Len

In what seemed like a sudden and cruel shift, I went from being a relatively healthy individual to someone rapidly losing ground to cancer and serious cardiac and kidney disorders.


After being diagnosed with kidney disease in 1999 and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, I began receiving ongoing drug therapy at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. While the cancer therapies were successful, in 2016, I was diagnosed with heart failure. I was then treated by the team at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and across University Health Network with a pacemaker, a defibrillator, and underwent a high-risk heart valve replacement surgery. It’s likely that the damage to my heart was caused by the cancer therapies I was receiving.


The reality is that this is one story among many and while the outcome for me has been successful, far too many other patients haven’t fared as well. An increasing number of people are burdened by multiple health issues, compounded by a complex, and at times conflicting, journey of care. A new model of care needs to be developed and research needs to be initiated, so medical teams better understand the complex interplay between chronic conditions and prescribe treatment that improves, rather than complicates, a patient’s prognosis.


I hope you’ll join the Hang Tough team – a group of patients, doctors, and supporters – who are united under a common vision and impassioned about transforming the lives of those who need it most.

– Len