Life is unpredictable. You never know what will happen in the years, months, even days to come. When a tragedy happens, it’s important to surround yourself with people that love and support you and to use any resources necessary.
Cancer. One of the most impactful words to hear because it has the power to change lives forever. Many of us have been affected by cancer, either personally or by watching it happen to someone close to us.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Those who have survived cancer and those who stood by them the entire time are some of the most inspirational people you can talk to.
Jordan Korol, a 21 year-old UBC Okanagan student athlete from Coldstream, B.C., was only three years old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) — the most common form of cancer found in children. ALL affects the blood and bone marrow in the bones, but it can be curable through treatment.
After her mother noticed that her three year old daughter was extremely pale, she took her to the doctor in Vernon and Jordan was diagnosed with ALL. She was then flown to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on an emergency jet. During the whole ordeal, she was in constant danger of her organs shutting down until she received multiple blood transfusions to keep her alive.
“Now that I am older and able to appreciate my cancer experience, I am extremely grateful that someone took the time to donate the blood that saved my life,” said Jordan. “Without that act of kindness, I would not be here today.”
Jordan spent the next two years living in the Ronald McDonald House with her family while undergoing chemotherapy. In 2003, her treatment was completed and she was able to return to a normal life.
When she attended high school in Vernon at Vernon Secondary School, she fell in love with basketball and played Junior Heat Basketball under Bobby Mitchell, the current head coach of the UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team.
“Originally, I thought volleyball was going to be my sport, but I realized that I enjoyed the physicality and competitiveness of basketball a lot more,” explained Jordan. “Both of my parents were also student athletes at the university level so it felt natural to continue that tradition.”
She is the co-captain of the UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team and has recently become the first women’s Heat basketball player to average a double-double every game, as well as the first Heat athlete to win a major conference award. In academics, she has also achieved excellence. For two years she has been an Academic All-Canadian and she has been on the Dean’s List.
“Thanks to Canadian Blood Services, I have been able to realize my potential in basketball as well as in academics,” said Jordan. “Being a student athlete at UBCO has been an incredible experience so far, I’ve met lifelong friends here and I’ve learned many skills such as leadership, time management and more.”
Currently, Jordan plays forward for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball team and is studying Political Science, Philosophy and Economics. She will complete her Bachelor of Arts next year and is hoping to attend law school to pursue a career in health law.
“I want to mention that it was my boyfriend Brett who encouraged me to share my story,” said Jordan. “He started volunteering and donating blood at the Kelowna blood donor centre after I told him about my cancer experiences and continues to inspire me and all his friends at UBCO. Brett is proof that one person can have a huge impact in the community.”
The blood transfusions Jordan received gave her the opportunity to live life to the fullest, and she is doing just that. She beat cancer, achieved greatness in athletics and academics and has a bright future ahead of her.
“I consider myself incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to be a healthy, happy adult and live a normal life,” concluded Jordan.
For over 20 years, the Canadian Blood Services has been striving to help all Canadians receive the blood, plasma, stem cells, organs and tissues they need to stay alive and healthy. But it can’t be done without the help of all of us. For all the different ways you can donate, get involved and help save lives, like Jordan’s, click here.
Canadian Blood Services has been Canada's life line for the past 20 years, providing those in need with anything from blood and plasma, to stem cells, organs and tissues.
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