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My Blood, My Health — A Simple Test Can Put You Ahead of the Game

Henderson and Fraser
Henderson and Fraser
Henderson celebrating the winning goal for Team Canada in the ’72 Summit Series. Taken by Frank Lennon, the photo has been called “one of the 10 images that changed Canada.”

As Canadians, we could say that hockey is in our blood. But hockey legends Paul Henderson and Kerry Fraser understand all too well that blood also holds clues to our health. A blood test in 2009 revealed that Henderson had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and in 2017 Fraser found out he had essential thrombocythemia, a rare blood cancer.

“Something didn’t feel right with my body and I had to make a call — thankfully I made the right one and called my doctor,” says Fraser, a broadcaster and former National Hockey League senior referee. 

Fraser and Canada’s Sports Hall of Famer Henderson have teamed up with Heal Canada, a collaborative patient advocacy and education organization, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. to raise awareness about the need for Canadians to speak up when something doesn’t feel right with their bodies.

Symptoms of blood cancers can be deceptive and can sometimes be mistaken for a bad cold or flu, or there may just be a general feeling of being unwell. The complete blood count (CBC) test can help detect an underlying condition. 

“A simple blood test could help you find out what’s going on with your body. It could be nothing, but if it isn’t, you need to form a solid game plan with your health team as soon as possible,” says Fraser.

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