Cancer survivor Anabell Marroquin shares her story

After being admitted to the emergency room in Medicine Hat, to determine why she’d been feeling so unwell,  Anabell Marroquin was given a scary diagnosis: she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now in complete remission, Marroquin is committed to sharing the story of her cancer journey, both to encourage patients to advocate for themselves and to encourage others to raise funds for improved cancer treatment and care.

“It was February 4th, 2016, when my life was changed forever. This was the day I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It was an aggressive type of cancer, and my oncologist explained that I would have two weeks to live if I did not treat it right away. I had to inform my family, friends and co-workers that I needed to be treated immediately”

Anabell began her cancer treatments at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary where she received a multi-stage intensive method of chemotherapy that uses a combination of medicines at different points in treatment. “I could not receive the type of treatment I needed in my hometown of Medicine Hat, so I was being transferred to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. The medical staff were so kind, genuine and compassionate. They knew that Calgary wasn’t home for me, but made sure I felt at home. The days I was feeling really sick, they listened. There was humour involved as well. It was nice to laugh during moments I wasn’t feeling well.”

After a year, an expansion of the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital added over 23,000 square metres and 40 new out-patient treatment spaces. The Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre moved into the new wing, providing expanded care and treatment for cancer patients. The newly expanded cancer centre, allowed Anabell to come back home and continue her treatment.

“I remember being so excited when I finally got the “YES” to move back home after one year in Calgary. It had been a difficult year because I was torn away from so many things. I didn’t know what to expect with the transition, but it was amazing. The staff at Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre are basically like family to me. There, I had the opportunity to work with the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Patient Navigator Program, which made sure I was receiving support. My patient navigator connected me to a social worker if I needed someone to talk to. She even supported my family in the new transition of me being back home. As I ended my treatment and transitioned into a new normal, she even made checks during the summer. My last day for treatment was May 9, 2018. I actually scheduled my appointment so that most of the staff I knew were working, to share that moment with them.”

Anabell Marroquin“I had the best of both worlds being supported by the Tom Baker and Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre. Each clinic played a vital role in my cancer journey. It is incredibly important to continue to support cancer centres in rural communities to make sure that more patients in Alberta do not need to leave their family, friends and community for treatment. I truly believe it is so important for patients to be near their support system, cognitively, physically and spiritually as it can help them during their cancer journey.”

“I am thrilled to announce that I am now a cancer survivor. I am in 100% remission. This battle is over. The kindness, compassion, support, unity, and prayers have allowed me to maintain my strength and most importantly my faith. As a result of the gracious support I received, my life has been rejuvenated. My family and I cannot even begin to express how thankful we are for everyone that has helped us along the way; you all have been our pillars. We love you all. With you all by our side, we have fought and WON this battle together. As of September 2018, I am working again, and that has been exciting.”

– Anabell Marroquin

Today, Anabell is in remission. She is a survivor, and she is thriving. That’s progress. And that’s made possible by donors like you!! Her moments? Being here for family milestones, like seeing her sister open her own restaurant.

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Your gifts to the Alberta Cancer Foundation allow us – together – to support cutting-edge research and programs helping patients navigate treatments and times of uncertainty. Your support means thousands of Albertans, like Anabell, are savouring more moments. But we know, each and every day 53, Albertans are newly diagnosed with cancer. Donate today, so we can make more moments for Albertans facing cancer!