About US

Dr. James A. Whitlock - Director

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Dr. James A. Whitlock is the Division Head and Women’s Auxiliary Millennium Chair in Haematology/Oncology and the Director of the Garron Family Cancer Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children, Senior Associate Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at SickKids Research Institute, and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. 


Dr. Whitlock’s research interests include the biology and treatment of childhood acute leukemias, the development of new drugs for the treatment of childhood cancers, and the biology and treatment of histiocytic disorders. He has served as the Vice-Chair for New Agents and Relapse studies for the Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, the lead investigator for an international phase I trial for relapsed T-cell ALL (NECTAR) through the Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia (TACL) consortium, and as the Chair of TACL’s Steering & Prioritization Committee. 


He is a Past President of the Histiocyte Society, an international scientific organization for histiocytic disorders, and the current Chair of C17, the Canadian Council for Childhood Cancers and Blood Disorders.

Aprile Duda - President & Director

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Histiocytosis has been a part of Aprile's life since 1992 when her first born was diagnosed with LCH at 18 months old. She fought a courageous battle with the great support of Sick Kids Hospital until the LCH won at the age of 3.  She vowed to make a difference in her memory. 


She has been involved with the Association on and off for the past 24 years. A lot has changed over the years – internet, technology, research advancement, cell phones, but one thing remains the same – finding a cure for all Histiocytic diseases. She looks forward to the next 24 years in the advancement of finding a cure. She is a self-proclaimed “lifer” in this pursuit!


Aprile has been married to her husband Dennis for 32 years and they have three beautiful grown children.


Marlene Clune - Director

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Marlene first got involved with HAC after her best friend's daughter was diagnosed in 1992 with LCH.


After witnessing the physical and emotional toil this diagnosis brought to her dear friend's family, she realized there was little information or support for parents and children of this rare disease in Canada. Marlene decided that joining the HAC board would be a beautiful way to honour her goddaughter. 


Having worked as a corporate law clerk for 25 years, Marlene assists the board with corporate secretarial duties and compliance matters. 

Claudio DiGirolamo - Director

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Claudio DiGirolamo has been in Executive Management for Healthcare Information Technology for over 30 years and joined the Board of Directors in January 2019. He lives in York Region with his wife and three daughters. 


In July of 2018, one of his daughters, who was 23 at the time, developed a high fever to go along with swollen lymph glands in her throat. She went to the ER in New York and after 2 days was admitted to ICU where 2 days later was diagnosed with HLH. The early diagnosis and immediate application of the HLH-94 protocol saved her life and she is back in the United States completing her post graduate studies.


Claudio wants to offer his experiences to parents of adult children suffering from HLH and help them navigate the complicated care program and offer support in their experience.

Stephanie Landon - Director, Communications

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Stephanie Landon is a senior healthcare PR specialist with a passion for patient support, education, advocacy, and communications. She has nearly a decade of experience helping build programs to assist patients and their families navigate health challenges.


In 2015, her professional and personal life collided when her son was unexpectedly diagnosed with primary Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) at only 9 weeks old. He was treated at Sick Kids in Toronto, where they were able to bring his HLH into remission. He has since undergone two stem cell transplants; the first in 2016 (which unfortunately resulted in graft failure), and the second in 2018. Thankfully, with luck and excellent care from their team at Sick Kids, her son is now thriving and well on the road of recovery. 


Stephanie joined HAC as a way to help other families touched by histiocytosis. She lives in the GTA with her husband and son, and she is due to welcome a daughter in spring 2019. 

Teresa Hunt - Past President

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On behalf of the Histiocytosis Association of Canada, we would like to thank Teresa for her dedication and volunteer time she spent as President. In that role, she ran several fundraisers and continued the march to find a cure. 


As an adult LCH survivor, she has fought to build awareness and support this very small community as well as supporting all other Histiocytosis diseases. We appreciate everything she has done and look forward to her continued involvement.