2023 ~ 2024 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SANDI McCONNACH - President
Sandi enjoyed a successful career as a Project Management Professional with Worksafe BC in the Information Technology department and retired in 2019. Sandi wanted to use her skills in a volunteer role and coordinating the Surrey / White Rock / Delta Lymphedema support group was a great place to start.
Sandi’s interest in Lymphedema stemmed from her cancer diagnosis in 2008. Having discovered a lump in her armpit, she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.The surgery to remove the cancer also resulted in the removal of many lymph nodes in her upper right chest and arm. While undergoing the chemotherapy treatments, she noticed swelling and heaviness in her right side and was diagnosed with Lymphedema. Living in Calgary at the time, the oncologist referred her to the Lymphedema clinic which was part of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
The appointments and treatments were covered by the province of Alberta as part of the cancer care. Sandi recovered from cancer, and with the support provided, has successfully managed her Lymphedema to keep within the mild to medium stage.
Her goal with the BC Lymphedema Association is to raise awareness for this condition and provide support for others suffering with Lymphedema.
Sandi resides in South Surrey with her husband David and son Matt. Sandi co-leads a weekly meditation group and enjoys reading, swimming and yoga.
CHRISTINE CHANDLER - Past President
Christine emigrated from England arriving in BC in in 1965 working as an education for 35 years
After retirement in Jun/97, she moved to Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast, which provides many opportunities for a physically active life.
Christine joined BCLA in 2013 & has devoted her energies to helping improve the lives of lymphedema patients. As past president she will continue working on the advocacy committee to achieve the goal of funding for compressing garments & improved lymphedema treatment facilities across the province.
In 1993, with no explainable cause, Christine developed primary lymphedema in her right arm. For the first 20 years she had very limited direction in how to manage the condition and suffered a number of cellulitis infections. In 2013, after pursuing further medical assistance, she finally met Dr. Weiss and Fatima Inglis at Holy Family Hospital through whom she learned how to manage the disease to reduce the risk of further infections. Her motivation in supporting the BC Lymphedema Association is to help others learn about resources and supports available to manage their health
Christine answers the information line calls for BCLA.
'LYN ANGLIN- Vice President
‘Lyn (short for Carolyn) recently retired from a career as a geologist and research scientist. Originally from Kingston, Ontario, she moved to the North Shore of Vancouver in 2001, where she lives with her husband and cat.
‘Lyn was diagnosed with stage III aggressive breast cancer in April 2021. She underwent dose-dense chemotherapy, followed by a double mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection and removal of a large number of lymph nodes, and then radiation treatment. She completed her treatments at the end
Recognizing that she was at significant risk for lymphedema, ‘Lyn reached out to the BCLA for information after her surgery, and got a return call from Christine Chandler, who provided a wealth of information and resources. She joined the BCLA, and she started going for monthly MLD massage as a preventative measure, and to help her keep watch on her arm. In July, 2022, she noticed swelling, and pitting of the skin, in her left forearm. Her MLD therapist confirmed that it was probably lymphedema. Recognizing the symptoms, and getting treatment quickly, have allowed her to minimize, so far, the progress of the disease.
Being a researcher at heart, ‘Lyn has been dismayed to learn how little is known about the disease, how there is no cure, and how limited, at least in Canada, the treatment options appear to be for lymphedema patients.
‘Lyn’s goal with the BC Lymphedema Association is to raise the profile of lymphedema within the public and the medical profession, to raise support for more research into treatments and potential cures, and to increase the availability of treatment options for lymphedema sufferers.
JENNIFER BYRNELL - Treasurer
Jennifer lives in the lower mainland with her husband and two teenage daughters. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a focus in Business Administration and Accounting and then continued onto become a Chartered Professional Accountant.
Jennifer was diagnosed with primary right leg lymphedema in 2020, 3.5 years after the swelling began. Many doctors and tests later, one doctor mentioned the word lymphedema. That’s when she was referred to Dr. Weiss and was officially diagnosed.
Jennifer loves to ski, play hockey, run and travel with her family and friends. After being diagnosed with lymphedema one of her biggest fears was not being able to do these things anymore because at the time of diagnosis it was a struggle to walk without an increase in swelling and heaviness. After finding an MLD therapist who taught her skills and techniques that helped to manage and reduce the swelling, as well as connecting with Amanda Sobey to start a fitness and nutrition journey, she slowly but surely claimed her mental and physical health back. She now knows that it’s possible to ski for days and run for miles.
The BCLA was an important resource upon initial diagnoses for Jennifer. She wants to continue learning about lymphedema and to connect with others with this condition so we can encourage, support and learn from each other.
JUTTA OWENS - Secretary
She emigrated with her family from Germany in 1957, settling in Winnipeg where she met and married her husband, Brian. They have one daughter and son-in-law and two grandsons.
Jutta attended Red River Community College and graduated with a degree in Computer Analyst Programmer. Her career was in the technology industry, the last 25 years with IBM. She moved to Victoria in 2008 to manage IBM’s delivery of services to the BC government and the Health Authorities.
Jutta retired in 2012 and since that time served as Treasurer for a 12 unit strata (until 2021) and now sits on the CFUW Victoria Scholarship and Bursary Society board as Treasurer.
In 2014, Jutta was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was successfully operated on.
In 2019 her left leg begun to swell. After a biopsy on a lymph node in the groin, it was determined that her cancer had reoccurred. Then Covid hit and the actual diagnosis of Lymphedema took until mid-2020. With the help of Carol Armstrong and Jenna LaFlesche, she is able to manage the symptoms.
In 2020 after the diagnosis, Jutta joined BCLA as a member. In 2022, with the encouragement of Christine, Jutta agreed to be nominated for a position on the board and is looking forward to contributing to this organization.
Members at large:
COLLEEN O'FARRELL - Membership
Colleen O’Farrell resides in Victoria BC with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1998. In 2001 She opened a flower shop called Foxgloves Flowers and has been running it ever since.
After going for a MLD massage for swelling legs, her well educated therapist suggested she investigate Lipedema as a cause. After being officially diagnosed with Lipedema in 2022, it has become her mission to educate and advocate for those suffering with lymphatic diseases and those supporting them, through this challenging journey.
In October of 2022 Colleen, had the first of 5 surgeries in Germany to treat her condition and in May of 2023 she is scheduled for the 2nd operation. It is a long and very painful journey but she hopes her experiences will help others with the steps and resources required to access treatment.
WILLA CONDY SEYMOUR - Communication
Willa Condy Seymour has lived in B.C. all of her life. She has Primary Tarda whole body Lymphedema which started up when she was 50 and started in the left side of her face and neck. After three years of searching for answers she was diagnosed with Lymphedema Tarda and started looking for answers. Her Lymphedema continued to cross quadrants until it covered her total body.
She lives in Trail B.C. with her husband. Photography and writing are her hobbies and she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Her favourite exercise is in the pool which she enjoys for the positive impact the aquatic exercise makes on her Lymphedema.
Don’t sweat the small stuff has become her mantra since dealing with her Lymphedema. That and spreading the word about Lymphedema and other lymphatic conditions.
Jenna LaFleche is a graduate of the Canadian College of Massage Therapy and is registered in good standing with the CMTBC. Currently living in Victoria, BC, she began her massage therapy education in 2009 while studying abroad in Munich, Germany at the Staatliche Berufsfachschule für Massage am Klinikum Großhadern. This unique experience has given her an immersive education in the science and art of therapeutic massage. In both Canada and in Europe she has had the oppourtunity to work with many different people from all walks of life to help her better understand the healing process and to further develop her skills in the nature of pain management, manual therapy, connective tissue therapy, and therapeutic exercise.
Jenna has expanded her knowledge and skillset in completing Level 3 of the Dr. Vodder Method of Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) and Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) in 2019. She offers custom compression garment fitting and local resources to better aid her patients who are managing Post-surgical swelling, Lymphedema, Lipedema and Venous Insufficiency.
Jenna hopes that by serving on the board that she can assist the BCLA in representing and lobbying for the interests of patients managing lymphedema, to provide a much needed greater access to care in British Columbia.
Janine was born and raised in Vancouver and received her Bachelor of Education from UBC in 1978. She has been a primary grade teacher in the Delta School District ever since, while raising her three daughters. She enjoys travelling, walking, hiking, cycling, swimming and spending time with her family. Janine has been a member of the BCLA since 2009. In the past, she has enjoyed “giving back” by volunteering at VGH by making one-to-one visits to patients on a weekly basis.
Janine developed lymphedema in her left leg due to vascular tumor removal surgery in 1998. She was not informed about this chronic condition as little was known about it in the medical community at that time. Luckily, she met her MLD therapist who has helped her deal with and educate her about lymphedema. Janine knows it is a challenge to live with, both physically and mentally, but she has learned that you can still enjoy life even with lymphedema. It just takes effort and support. Janine is always on the lookout for new treatments and therapies to help reduce her lymphedema. She is an advocate of a healthy lifestyle and a goal for her is to promote awareness and an understanding of lymphedema both in the general public and the medical community.