Thirty years ago, Margaret Lynch received an experimental bone marrow transplant, a first in Canada, at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Today, she is healthy and thriving, dedicated to giving back to the place that saved her life.

Margaret’s involvement with The Princess Margaret runs deep. She’s cycled more than 200km to raise funds for cancer research nine times. She also worked for the Foundation supporting its fundraising efforts. She has also left a Legacy Gift in her will.

“I know firsthand that supporting The Princess Margaret will further cancer research and get us closer to a world without cancer,” says Margaret, who was only 30 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of acute leukemia in January 1988.

After a combination of chemotherapy and other drugs proved unsuccessful, Margaret was left with few options.

The Princess Margaret was only performing transplants for patients in remission at the time but Dr. Hans Messner, who pioneered stem cell transplantation at The Princess Margaret, agreed to try the procedure. It was the first time this would ever be done at The Princess Margaret and in the country. With her sister as her donor, Margaret received her transplant later that year in May.

Eighteen days later, she walked out of the isolation room with no traces of cancer left in her body. She didn’t share her story until two decades later, when she took part in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2008. When she reached the finish line, Dr. Messner was there, waiting for her with a big smile on his face.

“It was just an incredible moment to think that 20 years earlier we were in my hospital room. There’s no way we could have imagined this.”

Dr. Messner passed away in July 2018 from bladder cancer and Margaret helped to honour him with a tribute at the 2019 Ride.

Margaret is now writing her memoir to share her story to a wider audience. “I have no idea why I’m still alive, but the least I can do is try to help other people in the same situation. I want to give back and share my story so other people can feel hope.”