Our Beginnings

First Lady of Myeloma Vancouver Island
(August 1946-October 2013)

Lillian was a little lady with a big heart and a big vision. After her initial myeloma treatments she set about to help others in countless ways.

Lillian believed knowing and understanding is power and her ongoing mentoring, teaching and researching throughout her 30 year nursing career carried on to members of the myeloma community whether in a support group or not. She phoned people in remote areas without support groups who needed to have someone listen to their fears with compassion, wisdom and knowledge. She was always looking for ways to try to make things better and easier for people. She had a caring and giving spirit, sharing her hope by telling others "Everyday alive is one day closer to a cure" and "Hope is on the horizon".

Lillian formed the first Western Canadian Support Group in Victoria in 2000, along with her sister Donna Dickinson, and she was instrumental in developing the Vancouver Support Group (2004), the North Island Support Group (2008) and the Nanaimo Support Group (2010). By 2010 there were only nine support groups across Canada so Lillian's determination and enthusiasm had served BC well.

In 2007 Lillian organized the first BC Multiple Myeloma Conference held in Vancouver at the Morris J. Wosk Centre.

Lillian mentored many people and after her death one of them expressed very well what Lillian gave to many of us.

"Lillian was the reason why I went on this myeloma journey, went back to school, am on the board of Directors for Myeloma Canada, etc., etc.....she inspired me, and filled me with hope for future patients, and she made me really want to do something (extra!) for patients with myeloma. So with her death, it felt like the end of an era (at first) and I kind of thought, "Now what am I going to do"? And you know, it was like she was right there with me, and she said "You keep going kiddo!!, while beaming that magnificent smile of hers. So, of course I will continue on this myeloma journey, and it is not the end of an era, it's the beginning of a new one, one that she helped create!"

Lillian survived myeloma for seventeen years and used every one of them to educate and advocate for all of us.

Linda Latham
North Island Support Group Leader
Director Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma Society