Skip to main content

Donor Story

John and Carolynn's Story

In memory of his late fiancée, Carolynn, John honours the care she received from Dr. Freedman and the Cancer Centre staff at Lakeridge Health.

“When Carolynn learned she had cancer, she was positive, even when things didn’t look good. She was a very loving person. She woke up each day with the mentality of ‘who can we support today?’ I feel so lucky to have known her.”

John met Carolynn in 2012. While he, a recent widower, was living in Toronto, she lived in Oshawa and they began to write to each other, sharing experiences and learning about one another. They began to travel together, including a trip up to Alaska, and met each other’s families, including Carolynn’s five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The happy couple moved in together last year, with John leaving Toronto to live happily in Oshawa by Carolynn’s side.

“Carolynn was the type of woman that everyone loved. She woke up each day with the mentality of ‘who can I support today?’” shares John. “She loved her family dearly, especially her grandchildren.”

Soon after they moved in together, John proposed to Carolynn and the two began making their wedding plans. Sadly, following a gallbladder attack in the spring of 2014, Carolynn’s doctors discovered she had ovarian cancer.

Under the care of the compassionate team at Lakeridge Health, Carolynn, with John at her side, did all she could to treat her cancer. For both John and Carolynn, having Dr. Orit Freedman from the R.S. McLaughlin Cancer Centre with them during Carolynn’s cancer journey was a blessing.

“Dr. Freedman, to us, was a real doctor that truly cared about everyone,” John reflects. “She was very understanding and always explained things to us. She was positive even though we knew it was a losing battle for Carolynn. It was a very sad time for all of us, but, [the team at Lakeridge Health] really helped make the best of a difficult situation.”

Just a month and a day shy of their wedding date, John watched his beloved fiancé, Carolynn, a kind, loving resident of Oshawa for over twenty years, pass away surrounded by her beloved family.
After her passing, John recalls seeing Dr. Freedman again and this time, she was there to support him.
“She came to speak with me and gave me contact information for resources I could access, to talk about what happened, to help cope with losing Carolynn. I thought that was so nice,”

Grateful for the dignity, and quality of care Carolynn received at Lakeridge Health, both at the cancer centre and during her stay with the palliative care team, John generously donated to the Lakeridge Health Foundation, through the Circle of Gratitude program, in honour of Dr. Freedman and the Lakeridge Health staff.
Through Circle of Gratitude, John was able to honour Carolynn’s memory, share his gratefulness for Dr. Freedman’s compassion, and support the future needs of those touched by cancer in the Durham Region community.

“[The Lakeridge Health team] gave so much to us, I can’t even express. It was like a family when they were doing chemotherapy. I had to do something to thank them for looking after Carolynn.”

Even after Carolynn’s passing, Lakeridge Health continues to serve the family she loved so much and who will always cherish her memory.

You too can honour a Lakeridge Health professional or team who cared for you, or a loved one, through the Lakeridge Health Foundation’s Circle of Gratitude program. Learn more today