‘I am strong’: King-Vaughan MP Schulte’s cancer won’t stop her from giving her best this election
Aug. 13, 2021
King-Vaughan MP and minister of seniors Deb Schulte wants to tell not only her constituents but everyone that she is “strong” and a “fighter” after learning that her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer is back.
“Unfortunately, I got some news recently that my cancer has returned, and doctors now recommending that I have to do more comprehensive treatment including a stem cell transplant,” Schulte told the Vaughan Citizen Aug. 12, a day after she appeared at Woodbridge Group, announcing $5 million in federal investment for the “first Canadian-made, zero-emission” vehicle.
The treatment is going to include about two months of chemo treatment and a stem cell transplant to follow.
“The new treatment is going to give me a great chance for a longer remission, so I just thought it was really important that the people heard it from me,” the mechanical and aerospace engineer-turned politician Schulte added. “There will be people that are circulating that information, and it's important that the story gets out.”
In spite of the announcement, the Liberal MP wanted people to know that she is resilient.
“I'm strong, and I'm otherwise in good health,” she said, alluding that this won’t stop her from campaigning and continuing her path, especially with the backing of her own family.
In 2019, the mother of two was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system.
At the time, Schulte underwent chemo treatment for six months from April to September.
“I went into remission and I did the campaign at the same time and I was successful,” she added. “I've had two great years of service and delivering to the community.”
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The 2019 federal election also paved the way for her first role as minister, pushing her political career upward since her early start as regional councillor in 2010, and then MP in 2015.
Whatever impacts these treatments are going to have, she said they are “surmountable.”
“I will still be able to do my roles, take on my responsibilities and keep delivering.”
For her, a “cancer diagnosis is not the end of the world,” adding how there are many examples of people including celebrities and leaders who “fought cancer and they have come out the other side.”
Some celebrities who were diagnosed with cancer but continued giving their best shot include “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon, who previously made an attempt to run for New York governor and Jane Fonda who was seen with bandages on her face as she went on promoting the fourth season of her Netflix series “Grace and Frankie”. The series now has reached its sixth season.
And it’s only cancer, but “people live with heart disease, people live with diabetes, people live with arthritis."
“They are just challenges that people face, but it doesn't mean you have to stop living, delivering and serving,” she said. “This is why I do think it's important that the message gets out that people can continue after these diagnoses and do great work.”
After her 2019 diagnosis and two years into the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Schulte said she is “proud” of her accomplishments.
She said these achievements include connecting 1,500 homes to broadband, getting $10 million for Vaughan infrastructure upgrades, a $21 million investment for a new community centre in King, and most importantly as minister, delivering an extra 10 per cent annually in Old Age Security payments to those over age 75 come 2022.
But there is much more for her to tackle, be it housing affordability, tax fairness or “the heart” of her political journey and that’s making the economy “stronger, greener, more fair” amid the pending climate change challenge.
On the same day of the interview, sources told Reuters Aug. 12 that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to launch a federal election campaign this Sunday, with the vote scheduled for Sept. 20, adding more pressure to hasten the electoral process.