Liberal MP Jim Carr to receive stem cell transplant to treat blood cancer

Liberal MP and former cabinet minister Jim Carr is returning to hospital for a stem cell transplant, a treatment twice delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winnipeg South Centre politician was diagnosed with multiple myeloma during 2019 federal election

Liberal MP Jim Carr is starting stem cell treatment. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Liberal MP and former cabinet minister Jim Carr is returning to hospital for a stem cell transplant, a treatment twice delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Winnipeg MP shared the news on social media Tuesday morning, saying he and his family remain grateful for all the support they have received since his cancer was discovered last fall.

He expects to be recovering in hospital for the next few weeks.

"The past few months have been a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone, but I know that we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever," he wrote in a message posted to Twitter.

Carr was diagnosed with multiple myeloma after experiencing flu-like symptoms during the 2019 federal election campaign.

In his own social-media post Tuesday, Carr's son Ben said life has not been the same for the family since the diagnosis, but the fact his father had been campaigning with failing kidneys and cancer running through his blood spoke to his character.

"Anyone who was with us during the campaign can tell you just how tough he is," he wrote.

Carr had headed into that campaign as the Liberals' international trade diversification minister, and was one of only a handful of Liberals re-elected in the Prairie provinces in the October vote.

He stepped back from cabinet following his diagnosis, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed him as a special representative for the region.

"Less than a year ago, he was Canada's trade minister, travelling around the world to make the country a better place," Ben Carr wrote.

"Lately, he's been resigned to his living room. A pretty tough reality to confront, no question."

His son said the stem cell transplant was cancelled twice because of COVID-19, and the pandemic is also forcing the family apart during an exceptionally difficult time.

"For me personally, one of the worst parts of what's been happening is the loss of connection with my dad. Although we speak every day by video call, it isn't the same. No hugs, no shared meals, no sitting beside each other watching sports," he wrote.

He said normally he'd go visit his father during his recovery, but this time, he won't be allowed in the hospital.

"I love you, dad. See you on the other side."

Last fall, Carr's colleague Dominic Leblanc also underwent a stem cell transplant, this one to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The New Brunswick MP was diagnosed with that cancer in spring 2019.

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