Imagine visiting your local emergency room with unusual fatigue and an injured muscle after a workout only to hear the dreaded words, ‘You’ve got cancer.’ The hospital did not explore the root cause, nor did your family doctor so you weren’t any more concerned than they were until you started bruising. If that isn’t enough, you learn that you must start treatment immediately or face imminent death. As an unfortunate recipient of acute blood cancer, we do not often have the luxury of exploring treatment options or getting a second opinion. It is a race against time, and there’s no time but the present.
Canadian Cancer Society predicts that 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. When we get the news, the best way to ensure the most favorable outcome is to be informed, participate in your own health care, and hold accountable everyone else who has set out to do the same. Michelle Burleigh shares her experiences and important information about navigating the healthcare system through her blog and delivers impactful talks to inspire others to join the battle against cancer.
Michelle lives in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two beautiful daughters. As a financial services professional over the last 20 years and most recently working with financial advisors in pursuit of business process improvement, Michelle received an abrupt interruption to her career when she was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. She has since learned to appreciate every day to the fullest…and in the present! Her life purpose is to make a meaningful positive impact in the Canadian Healthcare ecosystem and to activate Canadians to self-advocate in their own healthcare journeys.
Michelle participates in various activities to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Here are some links to campaigns and media events that Michelle has been involved in to date.
Michelle had the great honour of speaking on behalf of the cancer and immunocompromised community at the annual Canadian Cancer Survivors Network All-Party Caucus meeting at Queen’s Park on Monday April 24th, 2023. The meeting kicked off with Jackie Manthorne, the President and CEO of CCSN, followed up by advocates Christine Carr, Michelle Burleigh and Shira Farbar. The meeting wrapped with a report on the importance of early screening for breast cancer by Dr. Martin Yaffe. Click here for the full report and the attending list of caucus members.
Michelle shares her thoughts with CBC News Windsor about the three-year ‘anniversary’ of Covid-19 and what it still means for immunocompromised people. Click here to read the article.
Michelle partners with Canadian Cancer Society for their Holiday Campaign by sharing her story with Global’s The Morning Show. Big thanks to The Morning Show for promoting “The Road to Courageous Living” in the piece. Click here to watch.
The Globe and Mail, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada team up to raise awareness of the challenges those facing blood cancer contend with for Blood Cancer Awareness month. Click here to read Michelle’s story of parenting through cancer.
Michelle sits down with Healthing.ca to share her ‘Just in Time’ story. “I was just so desperate to hold onto life”. Click here to read the story.
Michelle shares her thoughts with CBC News about the ongoing struggles of the immunocompromised community, and their increasing fear due to Covid-19 mandates, in some cases their only defence, being lifted across the country. Click here to read more.
Michelle joins The Morning Show on Global to discuss her devasting diagnosis and her focus on non-negotiable milestones that helped her cope through her treatment and beyond. Click here to watch the interview.
CBC’s Heather Kitching checks in with the immunocompromised community to see how they are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, including Michelle Burleigh and Sarah Bell, the co-admins of the Facebook group ‘Immunocompromised People Are Not Expendable’. Click here to listen to the interview.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada has published a story written by Michelle on what cancer taught her. Click here to read the article.
Michelle partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society and Global News to share her story and educate people about the importance of cancer research. Click here to view the story.
Soar Above Cancer is a podcast dedicated to all things cancer. Michelle had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Gabrielle Fecteau and Alex Mandarino to discuss her cancer journey and what she has learned along the way. Click <a href=”http://here for Part 1 of the interview. Click <a href=”http://here for Part 2 of the interview.
In June 2019, Michelle had the great honour of attending the annual Canadian CML Network Conference and award ceremony to present an award to Dr. Brian Leber.
Cure Canada is an oncology magazine both in Canada and the United States that focuses on cancer care, wellness, and survivor stories. In January 2019, they published an article written by Michelle called, ‘Finding Strength in Family.’ Click here to read the article.
A clip from the Our Sisters in Pink PJ Fundraiser benefitting the Canadian Assistance Services of Halton Hills and Princess Margaret Hospital. This was a special event for Michelle as CAShh provided significant support during her own IV treatment.
Coping with Cancer is an oncology magazine in the United States that publishes articles about cancer care, wellness, and survivor stories. In December 2018, they published a story written by Michelle called, ‘Am I Lucky?’. Click here to see the article.
A clip from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Awards of Excellence in Cancer Research held in Toronto. On the 25th anniversary of this ceremony, the Canadian Cancer Society invited a patient to speak for the first time.
For Daffodil month, CHCH news interviewed Michelle Burleigh, Dr. Brian Leber, and Dr. Mick Batia for a look at some of the research being done at McMaster University and how it is impacting patient outcomes. Click here to see the interview.