Salute to longstanding volunteer, Juliana Pavelka-Johnston

Posted February 22nd, 2017 by Canadian Hemochromatosis Society

Always with a smile in her voice and on her face, Juliana Pavelka-Johnston brings with her a keen sense of practicality and drive in her approach to raising awareness of hereditary hemochromatosis.

Juliana became involved with the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society in 2012 when her late father developed complications related to hemochromatosis. To her chagrin, the doctor had not provided much information on the disorder, setting Juliana on a course to find information on her own and shortly thereafter becoming the volunteer Montreal Chapter Leader for the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society.

With her go-go-go attitude and the help of fellow volunteers, Juliana was able to pull off three successful information sessions at the Royal Victoria Hospital when it was located on Mount Royal, hold three successful May Day blood drives in collaboration with Héma-Québec, consequently launch the CHS/Héma-Québec Blood Donor ID # M0HEM, field all the local calls and emails from people looking for an ear that would understand their iron overload concerns, and bring many ideas to the table. Juliana quarterbacked these and many more activities all in the name of raising awareness in her community, informing physicians and supporting those affected by hemochromatosis.

Juliana (3rd from left) with fellow volunteers at a Montreal Information Session at the Royal Victoria Hospital

Now, five years later, Juliana is switching up her pace. Happy with the groundwork she has laid, Juliana feels it is time to allow someone else to bring in their expertise and passion to help others. Juliana will remain an active volunteer by providing consultations and help when needed. Being Chapter Leader for as long as she has, Juliana has gained a lot of insight and local contacts that will help out new volunteers in their mission to raise awareness in Montreal.

Juliana notes there is still much work to do, and lists a few practical activities:

  • Hold wellness and fitness fairs for the community
  • Hold webinars to promote awareness and information on the HFE gene
  • March in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with a banner highlighting The Celtic Curse and the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society
  • Continue with the Héma-Québec blood drives and building upon that relationship

Juliana (centre) with Héma-Québec volunteers at a May Day Blood Drive

Juliana emphasizes, “We need volunteers to continue the work which has been done and to grow the chapter. Please contribute with your time, your story, participate during the Héma-Québec Blood Drive, help find another cost effective location for information presentations. Help us to help grow the endeavours of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society.”

“Tell your friends,” she adds with a smile.

The Canadian Hemochromatosis Society thanks Juliana for her years of service and looks forward to many more with her as the Society’s consultant. If you wish to volunteer to further Juliana’s work in Montreal, and would like to take on one or more of the activities that Juliana suggests or if you have an idea of your own, the Society would be happy to hear from you. Please contact the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society at to help further its mission to see an end to suffering and premature death related to hereditary hemochromatosis.