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Mindy and her children

Mindy and her children

Patient Story

Mindy's Cancer Journey

“Everyone is going through something. Especially moms.”

At the age of just 23, Mindy heard the words no young person should ever hear.  She had cervical cancer. After a routine pap test, Mindy was told she had irregular results and needed to go to Lakeridge Health for a colposcopy where part of her cervix was removed. Due to this procedure, Mindy was told she might have difficulty having children.

Lucky for Mindy and her husband, they were blessed with their first child - a daughter named Charlotte, who is now 6 years old. As years went on Mindy had clear pap tests and considered doing something truly selfless for other people. She chose to become a surrogate. “I felt like a lot of women get told the news they can’t have children so I wanted to do that for someone.“ The child she helped bring into the world just turned 4 years old and Mindy feels privileged she was able to help bring a families dream to reality.

In the last two years, Mindy and her husband welcomed two more children to their family, Davidson and Lilian. Last year, only a few months after the birth of her youngest daughter, Mindy was told she had irregular pap test results once again an had to undergo another colposcopy. “I couldn’t process it properly. As a parent, you don’t have time to be sick. We were living in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and I had just had a baby a few months ago.” The second time around Mindy felt her circumstances were so different. “When it first happened I was engaged. It was just us. Whatever my body needed I could just do it. Now I’m a mom to three kids. I already felt so over extended.”

In early 2022, Mindy underwent six weeks of proactive radiation treatment and finished in February. Given this was her second occurrence, Mindy’s care team said this was the best option and she may have more colposcopies in her future. If she continues to have irregular pap results, a hysterectomy might be part of her treatment down the road.

Having one of the top Cancer Centre’s so close to her home meant Mindy could chose to do her appointments at 6:00 am to keep as much normalcy for her children as possible. Especially her six month old baby.

When cancer strikes, it’s hard to think of the positives but for Mindy, it meant the world to her that her treatment was only 15 minutes away.

“Having low energy was my biggest side effect but I felt like I’ve had a good support system of other women,” shares Mindy.  “There’s something so special about women supporting women. My mom, mother in law, sister in law and close friends all brought over meals or did activities with my older children.”

At home, Mindy’s husband was always there for her to lean on. “We are a really solid team. He was able to work from home and was always close by when things felt too heavy with the kids.”

Mindy has no history of cancer in her family and her cancer was a strain of HPV. “It’s important for women to continue getting regular pap tests,” says Mindy. “Without those tests I would have never known I had cancer. I didn’t feel any different. I had no symptoms to tell me something was going on in my body. As scary as it was, I’m grateful for finding out so I can make sure I’m here for my kids.”

“In my opinion, the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre is one of the best parts of the Hospital. The team always went the extra mile for me, especially during this pandemic,” shares Mindy. “The nursing team really shows up as your person. I have always felt that. You never feel alone.”

When Mindy learned of Our Cancer Campaign and its $20 Million goal to advance cancer care in Durham Region she wanted to make sure donors heard how positive her experience was. “There are so many stressors in life – for anyone, but especially as a Mom. Getting treatment at Lakeridge Health meant I didn’t need to worry about my care. I knew it was always going to be the best. When I left my home alone on those early mornings for treatments, I knew I was going to receive the best care.”

Lakeridge Health is home to a number of critical programs dedicated to women’s health including the Gynecology Oncology Clinic in Oshawa. Opened in 2018, the Centre is one of only three such centres in Ontario providing specialized radiation, chemotherapy and surgical treatments for women who have been diagnosed with gynecological cancers such as cervical, ovarian, vulvar, vaginal and uterine. The centre has one dedicated operating room at Lakeridge Health Oshawa with specialized, minimally invasive equipment for performing surgeries for women.

This Mother’s Day we celebrate all the important women in our lives and the importance of health care and expertise tailored just for them. “Everyone is going through something. Moms especially.” says Mindy.  “It can be hard to reach out for help but I’m really grateful for my community and my Hospital for being there when I really needed it.”

To learn more about Our Cancer Campaign, visit