New Self-Diagnostic Mobile App to Honour CHS Founder Marie Warder

Posted October 19th, 2015 by Canadian Hemochromatosis Society

Marie Warder Cropped

The Canadian Hemochromatosis Society (CHS) is launching a fundraising campaign to mark the passing one year ago of a remarkable Canadian woman who single-handedly launched a nation-wide battle to alert Canadians to the dangers of hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC). To honour the memory of Marie Warder and to continue her work, the Society which she founded 35 years ago is embarking on a campaign to raise $10,000 to fund the development of a simple self-diagnostic mobile app to help people of Celtic or Northern European descent determine if they may be among the estimated 80,000 Canadians who have the disorder but are unaware of it. Please consider making an online donation in her memory by clicking here

HHC impairs the body’s ability to eliminate excess iron and affects about 1 in 300 Canadians. If undiagnosed and untreated, this excess iron accumulates in the organs or joints and often results in debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases, including cancer, heart disease, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and arthritis. Tragically, three-quarters of the Canadians who have HHC have never been diagnosed and do not realize that their health is acutely at risk. And because too many doctors still consider hemochromatosis a relatively rare disorder, the diagnosis is often missed.

When Marie Warder’s husband Tom was diagnosed with HHC, his body had suffered irreversible damage, and he eventually died of hemochromatosis-related cancer in 1992. Marie made it her lifelong mission to ensure others would not needlessly suffer the same way. She founded the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, the Hemochromatosis Society of South Africa, and the International Association of Hemochromatosis Societies. She wrote a ground-breaking book on hereditary hemochromatosis, “The Bronze Killer,” more than 300 articles on the subject, and patient literature for individuals, hospitals and other medical facilities that has gone to more than 16 countries. She appeared on local and national TV and radio and persuaded the Canadian Red Cross to accept blood donations from people with HHC. She also convinced Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada to clarify language regarding iron content on food labels.

“It is incredible how Marie helped open people’s eyes to this common yet surprisingly little-known disorder, both among the general public and medical professionals,” says Dr. Sam Krickler, Medical Director of the Clinical Laboratory at Surrey Memorial Hospital in BC. “We urgently need to continue her work given the thousands of Canadians who still don’t know they have this potentially deadly, yet easily treated condition.”

Society President Ian Hilley is appealing to Canadians to acknowledge the anniversary of Marie Warder’s passing by making a donation in her memory so the Society can develop a self-diagnostic mobile application to help Canadians decide if they should visit their physician to determine if they may be at risk of having HHC. Donations in her memory can be made online by clicking here.