Despite the return of an aggressive form of leukemia, Grande Prairie city councillor Clyde Blackburn plans to spend whatever time he has left doing things that bring him joy, including remaining on city council. Blackburn publicly announced Tuesday that the disease he has been battling since 2019 has returned and is considered terminal.
Blackburn says he intends to carry on with not only his city council duties but his beloved Grande Prairie Street Performers Festival and Grande Prairie Public Library board position.
“I’ve been able to carry on as well as anybody else during COVID-19 to be involved in the things I’ve been involved in. Getting this news on the 25th of January was certainly a bit of a stunner for me and my family…but I understand what it’s all about and I’m ready to carry on,” he adds.
Blackburn took a leave from Grande Prairie city council in March 2019 after his initial diagnosis. He received a bone marrow transplant in October 2019 and stayed in Calgary until January 2020. He says the prognosis was good until late last month and, without the eligibility to undergo a second stem cell treatment, the disease is expected to “take its course in relatively short order.”
Since making the announcement on his social media page, Blackburn has received a tsunami of support from friends, colleagues, and everyone in between. He says it’s a wonderful feeling to know such a wide swath of people have his condition in mind.
“It’s heartwarming to know I have touched people in ways that I had no idea. It’s also a wonderful reminder of the way those people have touched me. I do appreciate everything that people have said, and I really know most of those people have touched my life in one way or another, and I’m grateful that I’m better for it.”