Jocelyn McGlynn (left) who died Aug. 15 after a battle with acute myelomonocytic leukemia, will be greatly missed by childhood friends Anastasia Maslak (centre) and Olivia Pomajba. The trio, from Chatham, attended elementary and high school together and were roommates while attending Western University in London. Handout/Postmedia Network
While leukemia claimed the life of aspiring doctor Jocelyn McGlynn, she left a legacy that will help save others because she inspired more than 2,000 people to join Canadas stem-cell registry.
The 23-year-old Chatham woman died Aug. 15 after a lengthy battle with the disease.
Diagnosed with acute myelomoncytic leukemia on Nov. 30, 2018, the Western University student and her family took up the cause of the ongoing need for stem-cell donations, not only to help McGlynn but many others in need of the life-saving procedure.
The McGlynn family was joined by many friends and family in organizing blood donor clinics where people could also join the stem-cell registry.
Olivia Pomajba and Anastasia Maslak, two of McGlynns closest friends and her roommates at Western, were part of that effort.
That was a huge gift to be able to tangibly do something instead of just sitting at home and being very sad, said Pomajba, who helped at blood donor clinics and a swab clinic at Western University in early 2019 that attracted a record 767 people.
She said people came out of the woodwork during the months they searched for a viable stem-cell match for McGlynn.
Pomajba was amazed that many people McGlynn had met in passing were all just struck by how lovely and kind she was to them, even briefly, and wanted to help.
That was a huge blessing for me to meet all these people that shes touched who all signed up to be stem cell donors, she said.
Pomajba said McGlynn helped inspire more than 2,000 people to join the stem-cell registry. A number of the newly registered donors turned out to be stem-cell matches for other patients, she added.
McGlynns friends were amazed by the grace she showed throughout the high of finding a perfect stem-cell match and undergoing a successful transplant in February 2019 to the lows of suffering two relapses.
Her No. 1 concern was other people. I dont think she wanted us to worry about her, so she put on a really brave face and smiled the whole time, Pomajba said.
Having concern for others is something McGlynns friends knew was part of her makeup.
Maslak said McGlynn had a talent for being able to cheer people up.
I remember there were so many times, whether it be in high school or when we were living together in university, where I would be just having rough day and she would put on this performance and would have me laughing so hard I was in tears, Maslak said.
Her signature thing was, whenever we would go anywhere, she would always be holding the door open, literally, for everyone who would pass by.
She said McGlynn would smile and have conversations with people and offer her well wishes.
It would just take forever to move down the hallway in high school because she was just always so kind and friendly, Maslak said.
McGlynn is also remembered by her roommates for decorating their university home for every holiday and special occasion, including Christmas and Thanksgiving but including Halloween.
We were probably to the point we were annoying our other roommates because there were decorations from multiple holidays up all the time, Pomajba said.
Shes woven into the fabric of everything weve ever done, like every holiday, every birthday, every milestone.
McGlynn was in her final year of the four-year medical science program at Western when the leukemia first struck.
She wrote her Medical College Admission Test the previous summer and achieved a score that qualified her for acceptance at every medical school in Ontario.
She was so excited about medicine, Pomajba said. She would have had a great beside manner and been so kind to people.
McGlynn was so keen on becoming a doctor, specifically a pediatrician, that she embraced the opportunity to learn while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
During a telephone interview in early January 2019, after having already spent a month in a London hospital, McGlynn she told the Chatham Daily News: Ive learned a lot about how important wording is, how important phrasing is. I think that will definitely help me.
She added: Everyone Ive met has been awesome. Im going to use the tools theyve shown me and hopefully implement that when I reach my goal.
McGlynn is the daughter of Peter and Jacquelyn McGlynn and a sister to Maxx and Zach.
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Jocelyn McGlynn inspired people to help others – Chatham This Week