Who was Julia Wagg? It's impossible to capture the intricacies, connections and magnitude of who Julia was in strings of text. Julia was the ring leader of magic.
Julia packed a lot into her 36 almost 37 years of life. She left a legacy in every person she touched at such an age when most people are just starting to make their mark.
Cancer changed Julia for the better. The even more incredible person she became in the last 15 months of her life was because of leukemia. She became the graceful person she always aspired to be. We gained more from AML than we lost, despite the fact that we experienced the greatest loss of all with her death.
This space will document the magic rippling impact of Julia's life as she continues to reverberate through each of us.
"Do not wait until someone takes your time to make living your priority. I am so glad that I have known what it means to live with intention, presence, gratitude, and grace." - Julia Wagg
Julia Wagg, 36, of Ottawa, died April 14, 2017
Surrounded by the love of her family. Julia was the ringleader of magic, a leukemia rockstar, talent enabler, community builder, foodie, and a brilliant human being.
She was born to Tina and Denis Alarie and grew up in Timmins, Ontario along with her sister Andrea. Julia graduated in 2005 with a BA in Sociology from Carleton University, held a Management Certificate in Human Resources, a Masters Certificate in Energy Sector Leadership and was Certified Human Resources Leader.
She married Holly Wagg in 2005, and together they adopted Robin and Brandin in 2007 and birthed Addison in 2011.
Julia was a human resources leader known for getting things done by leveraging the talent around her. She was the Director of Organizational Development at Hydro Ottawa, where she worked for several years. And dedication to the company. Julia designed and implemented Hydro Ottawa's approach to strategic workforce planning and led partnership development with Algonquin College in the delivery of its Powerline Technician Diploma Program. She also instructed Human Resources Planning at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.
In 2004, Julia co-founded the Ten Oaks Project with her wife, a charity that engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ + communities. She was recognized as a Co-Community Builder by Marshal Capital Pride in 2014, a United Way Community Builder Award in 2007, and a Capital Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award. Ten Oaks is an unprecedented source of insight into the roots of Ten Oaks.
Julia lives on through her three children, wife, parents, sister, two nieces and every single person she had ever touched.
Wagg Family Legacy Fund
Julia showed us all how to live life with such passion. You couldn’t help but follow and share in her lust for life. She showed us that you can grow love everywhere you go, and that your legacy extends far beyond the people who had the luxury of sharing space with you.
Make a Donation
Should you choose to honour Julia's life with a gift to the Wagg Family Legacy Fund, this is where your money will go.
Ten Oaks Project
At the Ten Oaks Project, Jules requested that all funds will be used exclusively program operational costs. If you haven’t already made a gift to Ten Oaks, I’d encourage you to think about making a smaller monthly donation in perpetuity.
The sustainability that monthly donations give a small charity are vital. Knowing that there is a committed group of donors who will collectively give $5,000 or $10,000 annually makes it so the organization has the resources it needs so it can plan and grow.
100 kids are registered for Camp Ten Oaks this summer, and 65 are on the waiting list. While a one-time cash infusion will help solve this problem in 2017, it won’t be sustainable in future years. And, I should mention, there’s a really big gayby boom about to hit that will only make this waiting list grow.
Your monthly donation to the Ten Oaks Project will truly make Julia’s legacy a lasting one.
The Ottawa Hospital foundation
In her final days at the hospital, Julia consulted with various members of her care teams and got them to identify their priority needs.
We don’t want any of you or your families to have to go through leukemia. If you do, you should know there haven’t been any significant advances or changes to treatment protocols in over 20 years. Blood cancers are the 4th leading cancer cause of death of women in Canada.
Research - Dr. Natasha Kekre was a member of Jules’ transplant team, and you’ll love her. She’ll remind you of Jules. Brilliant, funny, dynamic, young and the type of person you want to follow. Dr. Kekre is also a researcher developing a virus-activated leukemia cell vaccine. This is next generation personalized medicine, even more advanced than CAR-T, which she’s also trying to bring to Canada. Dr. Chris Bredeson and his entire BMT team is betting on her research being the breakthrough that acute leukemias need. Julia and I are asking you to bet on this too.
Care and Compassion - Nearly 1/3 of new AML diagnoses have the FLT3 mutation – this lends really bad odds – a 10-20% survival rate. This is what Jules had. Currently in Canada, there are no approved FLT3 inhibitors on the market. The only option is off-label usage of a drug Sorafenib which will cost a patient $78,000/year out of pocket. We will work with Dr. Sabloff and the hospital to help increase access and advocacy to FLT3 inhibitors approved for use in treating AML in Canada.
Equipment and Care - And lastly, Jules would like to dedicate funds to help the outpatient Bone Marrow Transplant program start a new initiative where “take home” medication pumps for antibiotics will be available to transplant patients (this means you can stay outpatient longer and not be admitted every time they spike a fever) in honour of Dr. Mike Hodgins and the nursing team. And in honour of Dr. Paula Enright and the palliative care team, who followed Jules for both pain management and end of life care, we will look to improve spaces for families who need to be at the hospital as they guide their loved ones to their last breaths.
The doctors, nurses and care supports particularly on 5West, BMT, module L and palliative care gave Julia an extra 15 months to live. For that gift of time, we will be forever grateful.