Working in lockstep with Ontario patients and the public – Paulette Lalancette’s story
Paulette Lalancette feels her life depends on Ontario being a great place to do clinical trials. And she is helping to make it so.
In 2006, at age 31, Paulette was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. She was a busy young mom – working at a Toronto hospital as a respiratory therapist and anesthesia assistant, and raising her four-year-old son.
She received treatment and surgery, but after three years, the situation became palliative. While she could see that there were immunotherapy trials going on in the U.S., she and her oncologist had exhausted the
possibilities for new treatment options here. “I was told there was nothing more I could try. My treatment was stopped and I was told to prepare for the worst,” she says. “They said I probably had about six months to live.”
Fortunately, she did get better. “I don’t know why or how, but here I am 12 years later,” says Paulette, who now lives in Sudbury. She’s had two recurrences since her first diagnosis, but feels hopeful about the future because new treatments are being tested here. “It gives me comfort that there are clinical trials in Ontario for new drugs for malignant melanoma,” she says. “My goal now is to one day become a grandmother!”
Paulette believes passionately that exceptional healthcare includes research, and good research policy includes the public. That’s why she is on CTO’s Patient and Public Advisory Group. “I give the patient perspective on why it’s important to improve the landscape for clinical trials. I’m helping to make materials understandable to the public, and helping to optimize the searchability of online resources. I do this because I believe in what CTO does.”