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Juravinski Cancer Centre sign outside the front entrance of the building
October 11, 2022

Illuminight fundraiser shines a light on cancer through patients at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation

Illuminight is an annual fundraising event that aims to shine a light on the nationally-leading, life-saving cancer care and research at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. This year for Illuminight, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is shining a light on cancer through the eyes of physicians, staff, and, most importantly, patients and families.

Since 2018, Illuminight has raised more than $500,000 to support the highest priority needs of the cancer program at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. Help us shine a light on cancer and donate today.

Five inspiring stories were released as part of the campaign:


Joahnna Navarro-Lalic

In 2007, Joahnna was diagnosed with ovarian cancer so advanced and aggressive that, even with treatment, her life expectancy was less than five years.

At the time of her diagnosis, her youngest daughter Micaela was just one year old. Big sister Rebecca was six and their brother Zachary was nine. Navarro-Lalic wasn’t expected to live long enough to see Micaela start kindergarten or the two older children finish grade school. Yet thanks to the life-changing cancer care she received at JHCC, she has lived to dance at Zachary’s wedding, celebrate Rebecca’s acceptance into university and see Micaela enter Grade 12 this year.

To read the full story, including a physician and nurse spotlight, and watch the video, please visit


Sharon Walker

In early 2021, Sharon started feeling exhausted, lost her appetite and developed unexplained bruising. Tests at her local hospital in Halton led to an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) diagnosis, a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. She was referred to JHCC for treatment that included chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

It’s one of just three centres in the province providing all forms of stem cell transplants to adult cancer patients. In 2020, the hematology department expanded with the opening of the Ron and Nancy Clark Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Unit for patients needing treatment for blood cancers.

Sharon spent eight weeks in the unit, receiving chemotherapy treatment aimed at knocking the cancer into remission in preparation for her stem cell transplant.

“I feel so blessed to have a facility like Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is so close by,” says Sharon. “Everyone who cared for me — from the doctors, to nurses, to the social workers, dietitians, pharmacists and the transplant team — were exceptional.”

To read the full story, including a physician and nurse spotlight, and watch the video, please visit


Trudie Nicholls

Trudie Nicholls was out shopping when she came across the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach. A quick check by the coach’s clerk showed that she was overdue for her mammogram, so she opted to have it done then and there, on the coach.

A couple of weeks later, Trudie received a phone call from the coach’s mammography technologist. The radiologist reviewing her breast images noticed an irregularity and wanted more tests done at the Breast Assessment Centre, located at HHS’ Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC). This, in turn, led to a breast cancer diagnosis and life-saving treatment including a double mastectomy.

“That shopping trip saved my life,” says Trudie.

For Trudie’s full story, including a physician and nurse spotlight, and watch the video, please visit


Donato Palumbo

In 2020, Donato Palumbo was diagnosed with lung cancer after seeing his family doctor for shortness of breath. An x-ray showed a spot on his right lung, and he was referred to Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) JHCC where further tests led to a lung cancer diagnosis.

Tests suggested Donato’s cancer hadn’t spread, so he was treated with combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery with the goal of curing the disease. Then, almost one year later, the cancer returned. He met with a medical oncologist and discussed clinic trails as an option.

Donato qualified for the KEYVIBE-003 trial and volunteered to take part. His first CT scan after joining the trial showed a 60 per cent shrinkage in the tumors. His most recent CT scan showed no signs of cancer.

“I feel great, even with the treatments,” says Palumbo, who is staying busy with household projects and his family, which now also includes four grandchildren.

To read the full story, including a physician and nurse spotlight, and watch the video, please visit