Senator David Wells Raises Awareness on the Hill

Posted May 22nd, 2015 by webadmin

Senator David WellsSenator David Wells of Newfoundland and Labrador gave the following speech in the Senate on May 12, 2015:

I am delighted to welcome to the gallery of the Senate of Canada the president of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, Pat Haney from British Columbia, together with a number of his colleagues from the Ottawa and Montreal Chapters. Later today I will be hosting the first-ever parliamentary reception for the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society.

Honourable senators, on February 19, I rose to pay tribute to Marie Warder, founder of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society. Marie founded the Society 35 years ago to bring awareness to Canada’s most common genetic disorder.

Hemochromatosis is an inherited disorder that results in the body being unable to get rid of excess iron. The resultant high levels can become toxic to the body.

Unlike the two thirds of Canadians who have hemochromatosis, I am very fortunate that I know I have it. I can treat it and can avoid suffering the consequences of deteriorating health. It is vitally important for Canadians, especially those in the higher-risk groups, to be aware of the warning signs and get tested.

The surprisingly simple treatment involves monitoring my iron levels through routine blood testing and then giving blood on a regular basis. This gets rid of the iron-rich blood, which is then replaced naturally with the iron-free blood from my bone marrow.

I would like to extend an additional welcome today to an ingenious team from two Canadian universities who have developed the Iron Tracker app for those with hemochromatosis, and it monitors their condition. The team is led by Dr. Gary Grewal from the University of Guelph and Professor Andrew Hamilton-Wright of Mount Allison University.

The app has been downloaded from the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society website thousands of times and is being used by sufferers around the world.

Even though hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder in Canada, too few people or doctors know about it.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of the 125,000 Canadians with hemochromatosis do not know they have the condition. Until recently, medical professionals were taught this was an extremely rare disorder, so some doctors may not be fully alert to the symptoms and risks.

Fellow senators, I ask you to write to our provincial colleagues to support the education of Canadians about the importance of screening for early detection to ensure early diagnosis and cost-effective treatment.

Honourable colleagues, I invite you to join us at our reception this evening at five o’clock in the Speaker’s Salon to bring awareness to this deadly disorder.

I ask you to recognize the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society for continuing the work of Marie Warder in supporting and increasing awareness of hemochromatosis on behalf of Canadians living with this disorder. I encourage you all to visit the society’s website at to become familiar with the importance of early detection. Colleagues, awareness is the cure.

Thank you.