Donlea was diagosed with grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma in her right breast in April 2011. Breast cancer. She had a bilateral mastectomy on May 17, 2011 in Grande Prairie, completed 4 cycles of chemotherapy, and started on Tamoxifen for 5 years. She completed breast reconstruction during this cancer-free time.
In July of 2017, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Donlea completed 6 rounds of chemotherapy in the fall of 2017. Then in January 2018, she had surgery in Edmonton to remove as much of the cancer from the right chest/axilla. There were positive margins and cancer found in 7 lymph nodes. In March 2018 she started a long course of radiation therapy at the Cross Cancer Institute. She lived in Edmonton, away from her family for 6.5 weeks during radiation. Donlea started hormone therapy at this time and returned to work in the fall. She had surgery in October 2018 to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to further reduce the hormones in her body.
In January 2019, her routine CT scan showed that the cancer was no longer stable and had started growing. Referrals, waiting, tests and more waiting as well as another round of chemo.... Donlea then started experiencing some unusual symptoms with the right side of her body. Donlea had another CT scan and MRI and was found to have a tumour that metastisized to the left side ofher brain. She quickly went down to Edmonton to the Gamma Knife Centre at the University of Alberta Hospital. They performed the gamma knife surgery (radiation) that day and she returned home the following day. Donlea started the another chemotherapy drug soon after. In the summer of 2019 she had another brain MRI which showed that the tumour had shrunk from the gamma knife but that other tiny lesions were forming. Donlea started whole brain radiation in Edmonton, finishing up on September 20. These sessions were considered palliative radiation therapy.
Donlea is now starting another chemotherapy treatment in the hopes of slowing the growth of the tumors in her chest.
It’s a long and exhausting road that Donlea and her family have been down and it shows no sign of stopping.
Donlea is 42 years old. She has a wonderful, supportive husband of 15 years, Rick and 3 beautiful daughters, ages 14 (Jaci), 13 (Ava) and 13 (Jordana). Donlea is a positive, active community member who loves to volunteer and help others. She would go above and beyond for anyone or any animal. ♥️ One of the strongest women I’ve ever met.♥️ She teaches elementary school and loves art and athletics. She has been through the ringer but she is not giving up. This family could use all the support they can get as they are looking into alternative treatments which are not covered by Alberta Health. They would also love to take a memory-making vacation as a family while Donlea is still strong enough to go. I know as friends, family, and as a community we can do this! Thank you everyone for your support!