Running against the odds for a brighter tomorrow

Running against the odds for a brighter tomorrow

It started with a nose bleed. Then the situation worsened quickly. During the summer of 2011, Boyd was excited about his upcoming family trip to Chicago, a trip that never came to pass.

“I started to feel run down, my legs were hurting and I had difficulty walking,” Boyd recalls. “I visited the local hospital in London, where they delivered some devastating news.”

“I was told that my chances of survival were quite small without a stem cell transplant.”

Boyd was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a dangerous form of cancer characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells. He underwent chemotherapy in London to fight the leukemia, but additional treatment was also required that was not available locally.

“I was told that my chances of survival were quite small without a stem cell transplant,” he says. “That’s why I went to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.”

Under the care of Dr. Michael Trus and his team, Boyd underwent chemotherapy and full-body radiation to prepare his body for the stem cell transplant. After no one in his immediate family proved to be a viable match, a donor was located and the transplant took place in May 2012.

The next month was spent in isolation as his immune system recovered. Each day brought greater strength in his legs and less pain, and he began to feel significantly better six months after the transplant.

During his journey, many friends ran marathons in his honour. Touched and inspired by their tributes, Boyd started running himself during the summer of 2013.

“I began running to see what I was capable of, and to run for those who can’t. It has been a great help in my journey of healing.”

“My stem cell transplant gave me brighter tomorrows, which allowed me to run the Boston Marathon. I continue pushing the envelope wherever life takes me.”

Boyd started with 5K runs and worked his way up to 10 kilometres. He ran his first half marathon in February 2014, ultimately completing seven half marathons that year.

“I completed my first full marathon in January 2015 and I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2016,” says Boyd. “I’m not a fast runner and I don’t run to win. I run because I can.”

Grateful for the “amazing” care he received at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, he is determined to live life to the fullest and appreciate every moment.

“My stem cell transplant gave me brighter tomorrows, which allowed me to run the Boston Marathon. I continue pushing the envelope wherever life takes me.”


Tomorrow Stems From You is a campaign to enable the expansion of a dedicated and specialized clinical space, and to purchase essential equipment, so that Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre can provide 50 per cent more cancer patients with potentially life-saving stem cell transplants. Donate today at hamiltonhealth.ca/stems.