Tori's Transplant

My name is Tori Zimmerman. I am only 23 years old. On December 14, 2017, I went to the hospital with chest pain and a common cold. After X-rays and blood work, my doctor and nurse took me into a private room to discuss the results. My blood work showed that I was extremely anemic, but that something else was also desperately wrong. I was admitted to the University of Alberta hospital later that night, where I met with a hematologist to discuss why I was there. My doctors were fearing the worst possible diagnosis: Cancer. 

December 15, 2017: I had a bone marrow biopsy first thing in the morning, followed by numerous blood tests. So much blood had been taken that all my veins collapsed and I was so weak I couldn’t walk on my own.  I received my diagnosis later that morning… leukaemia. Acute myeloid leukaemia.

From that diagnosis, my doctors knew they had to move fast. I immediately had a central broviac line inserted into my chest, and began chemotherapy the following day. From there, my life was a roller coaster.

I had a full body rash. I had intense nausea. My throat and gums became so intensely inflamed that I couldn’t chew any food, I couldn’t swallow anything hot. I pulled almost all of my hair out. I lost over 20lbs. I had multiple blood and platelet transfusions.

I spend 29 days in the hospital before I was finally released. On day 29 I had a second bone marrow biopsy. I received my results 3 days later; I was in remission. Music to my ears, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Two days after receiving the news about remission, I was informed because of the subtype of leukaemia I have, I would need to have a bone marrow transplant. My brother was first to be tested to see if he was a donor match. With less than a 25% chance of him being a match to me, we beat the odds and he tested positive.

Since my brother, Matthew, is a match, my doctors want to do the transplant as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I have to travel from Edmonton to Calgary for my transplant. I will have to remain in Calgary for 3 months after transplant, only one of which I will be in the hospital for though. 

With transplant, I have to go through multiple tests before hand. Not all of which are covered under Alberta Health Care (dental exams and procedures, optometrist, etc.)  Also, after transplant, my list and cost of medications will dramatically increase. Many of these medications I will have to remain on for a lengthly amount of time, some of them for the rest of my life.

While going through all of this, I am of course not working and likely won’t be back to work for approximately a year. As anyone can imagine, things become a financial burden.

I’m asking for any help at all with the following:

  - to help cover the living costs in Calgary once I am out of the hospital
  - transportation 
  - uninsured medical procedures (dental, optometrist, etc.)
  - medication expenses
  - any additional unexpected medical expenses

If you’re unable to help financially, please consider donating blood, platelets, or stem cells. Register to become a bone marrow (stem cell) donor if you can, because you never know when someone you love will need it. Blood and platelet transfusions have been saving my life since all of this started, and without those donations, I might not be here today. It’s in you to give. 

“All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.” - Roy T. Bennet

Donations (72)

  • Catherine Caron pauzé
    • $200 
    • 6 yrs


Tori Zimmerman
Edmonton, AB

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