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City councillor returns to work during lengthy battle with leukemia

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Nearly four months to the day since publicly announcing he is battling an aggressive form of leukemia, Grande Prairie city councillor Clyde Blackburn has returned to his chair at city council. He was present for Tuesday’s meeting.

“I left Grande Prairie on the 28th of February, and it’s been since then I’ve been home and certainly since I’ve been able to attend a council meeting,” he notes.

Blackburn, who is undergoing treatment at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, says he will soon be returning to Edmonton, before heading off to Calgary for what he hopes will be the biggest of procedures in battling the disease: a bone marrow transplant.

“Right now, I don’t know yet if I’m going to be eligible for that transplant, so it’s a matter of building up strength and getting a chance to talk to the transplant doctor about the whole process.”

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He says, in all likelihood, he will be going through with the process but adds the road ahead will be a bumpy one.

“The time frame is 100 days in Calgary to go through the process, including the chemotherapy, the transplant, and the follow-up. Apparently, it’s also quite a recovery time after that. I don’t know for certain what’s next or when it’s going to happen, but I hope by the end of July when I have to return to Edmonton I’ll have a lot more answers.”

Blackburn says despite a tiring and taxing last few months, it was pleasant to be seated beside his fellow councillors, albeit for a short time, rather than watching on from afar.

“It’s nice to get to participate with them because they’re friends as well as colleagues and I’ve missed a lot of my friends over the last several months.”

Blackburn will likely be in attendance for one more meeting before having to return to Edmonton at the end of July. He is currently on an extended leave of absence from his duties on the council.

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