Chris Taylor

Chris TaylorIn 2000, Chris Taylor was happy and busy. He was enjoying being a husband, dad, friend, coach and community volunteer. A lover of sports and the outdoors, he engaged life. Then, just shy of his 50th birthday, he was making a regular blood donation, but was told after a blood sample was tested that he could not make a donation that day. His follow-up to this ‘warning’ included numerous bone marrow biopsies, x-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds. His diagnosis was stage IV with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer.

Chris is an incurable optimist, but this diagnosis caught him off guard. He was frightened, exhausted, apprehensive and filled with uncertainty.

After years of treatment and an uphill battle, Chris was referred to the Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant team at The Princess Margaret. In 2004, Chris’ son, Patrick, provided the life-changing second chance at life – a stem cell transplant.

Chris enjoyed four years of remission before relapsing in 2008. After radiation and chemotherapy, Chris is once again in a healthy state of remission.

One of the things that helps maintain this healthy state is an antibody treatment called rituximab. Rituximab recognizes the CD-20 molecule found on the surface of many lymphoma cells (mutated B-cells) and destroys the cell. In combination with Chris’s other treatment, rituximab is like extended insurance offering another layer of protection against the lymphoma.

Chris has become an active spokesperson for The Princess Margaret, and feels that he cannot do enough to thank the many people who have extended his life. He always finds inspiration in the words of Knute Rockne, famous football coach at Notre Dame, who said that “Life is 10 percent what you are given, and 90 percent how you respond”.

His cancer has certainly been life altering, but he points out that at the same time, it has been ‘life enriching’. “I have seen and benefited from the world class, breakthrough research and exemplary patient care carried out at PMH. It is this research and the clinical practices that allow so many people to live longer and have a higher quality of life while fighting the disease,” said Chris. “I am so grateful for the world class care I received from Dr. Hans Messner and the medical team at The Princess Margaret, and believe that their genuine interest in my well-being allowed me to maintain the confidence and strength I needed to fight the disease.”

Chris knows that he would not be alive today if not for extraordinary people working at The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. Their inquiring minds, breadth and depth of knowledge, tenacity, compassion and commitment, and desire to collaborate and work as a team are making a difference for cancer patients.