Donor generosity has been critical to forward our HALO research program

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Andy Cotton has truly defied medical odds. Over the past four years, the 66-year-old has lived through prostate cancer, a heart attack and a stem cell transplant to treat his multiple myeloma. And then this past January, immediately following chemotherapy Andy was struck with sepsis, a life-threatening infection. His wife Tricia was told he would not live. Terrified, she tried to prepare herself for the worst.

Eight months later, Andy and Tricia are enjoying summer on their quaint rural Manitoba property. Their bond is obvious and equally apparent is their gratitude to you for yourcontinued support of life-saving research and clinical trials.

“We are so thankful to all the people who donate to help people like me,” says Andy.

Andy is one of the fortunate patients with cancer or a blood disorder. Many do not survive what he did. Cancer treatments have side effects and can be very hard on the body. Due primarily to chemotherapy, infection is the most common cause of death in people with cancer. Thanks to your commitment, a CancerCare Manitoba and internationally recognized hematologist and clinician-scientist is leading a global trial which he is optimistic will help improve survival for more people like Andy.

“Donor generosity has been critical to forward our HALO research program which is evaluating an inexpensive drug to treat severe infections,” says Dr Zarychanski.

The HALO trial (a.k.a. The Heparin anticoagulation to improve outcomes in septic shock trial) is targeting infections which are unfortunately a frequent result of cancer treatments. The trial is evaluating if an inexpensive and widely available blood thinning and anti-inflammatory drug can improve survival for people who suffer from these life-threatening infections. HALO is the only multi-country trial to be conducted by researchers in CancerCare Manitoba.

A trial the magnitude of HALO requires significant investment. Your past donations have offset trial expenses for patients treated at CancerCare Manitoba. They have also been successfully leveraged to secure national funding. This combined funding is expected to facilitate the enrollment of approximately 500 patients worldwide. Dr Zarychanski’s plans to continue to grow the study and eventually enroll nearly 3,000 patients would not have been possible without the initial investment from generous donors such as you.

When Andy and Tricia recall his harrowing experience, the emotions are right there at the surface. Andy was in intensive care for five days and doesn’t remember anything from his first two days in the hospital. And for Tricia, the memory of thinking she would lose him runs deep. They
have both been profoundly affected.

While Andy is very fortunate to have lived, 25 to 45 per cent of patients with sepsis don’t live. Dr Zarychanski wants to ensure patients like Andy have every opportunity to survive their infection. Thanks to your support, The HALO trial is one of several groundbreaking trials led by Dr Zarychanski and his team at CancerCare Manitoba aimed at improving outcomes for patients with cancer and blood disorders.