Winnie Szeto

Winnie SzetoWe’re glad to hear that Winnie found a match and had her transplant in April 2013. We wish her all the very best on her road to recovery.

Winnie was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada with her family when she was 6 years old. Being from a working class family, Winnie had to work hard and grow up fast. From a very young age, she fulfilled her role as “Big Sis”, taking care of her brother and baby sister while both of her parents worked long hours. As a young adult, Winnie often worked multiple part-time jobs to put herself through university.

Winnie’s hard work and determination paid off. Winnie is now a tax lawyer at Couzin Taylor LLP, a law firm affiliated with Ernst & Young LLP. Prior to joining Couzin Taylor, she worked at a national law firm in Toronto and

clerked at the Tax Court of Canada. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (BA), Osgoode Hall Law School (L.L.B.) and Schulich School of Business (IMBA). Being the first in her family to ever go to university, she is the family’s pride and joy.

When she gets the chance, Winnie loves to vacation in warm and sunny places like Hawaii and the Caribbean. Winnie and her husband, Daniel, are newbie scuba diving enthusiasts as they just got their scuba diving certification in March of 2012! She can’t wait to go diving again…

Currently, Winnie lives in Thornhill with Daniel and their 3 beloved dogs, Huey, Zoey and Boey.

In April 2012, Winnie was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML, a cancer of the white blood cells. At the time of her initial diagnosis, she was in the “chronic” phase of the disease, which in most cases could be successfully managed by medication.

In October 2012, Winnie visited Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for a routine blood test to monitor her white blood count. The results of that test indicated that the cancer had progressed to the “blast crisis” phase. Only 6% of people with CML in the chronic phase ever progress to blast crisis. CML in blast crisis behaves like an acute leukemia, with rapid progression and short survival. It is treated aggressively like an acute leukemia.

The only way that Winnie can be cured of this horrible disease is to have a successful bone marrow transplant as soon as possible. Her brother and sister were tested but neither were a match. PMH has begun the process of finding an unrelated bone marrow donor for her. Although anyone could be the right match, those of Chinese heritage are most likely to be a match for Winnie.

For more information about Winnie’s story, please visit Winnie’s blog and Help Save Winnie Facebook page.