Alumni Profile: Hailey S. Laxer '11
Hailey S. Laxer ’11 believes that resilience is built over time, primarily by battling through adversity. She would know, having lived with the often-debilitating symptoms of cystic fibrosis (CF) for her entire life. And this is what she considers to be one of her greatest achievements. “I am living with a chronic, life-threatening illness,” she says. “But maintaining a growth mindset has allowed me to continue doing all that I want to do.”
Admittedly, Hailey has tough days when just walking up the stairs can be challenging. And then there are days when she feels able to take on the world, which she does with steadfast determination. Through her involvement with Cystic Fibrosis Canada, she has raised over $360K for research, advocacy and patient care across the country. She also educates the public through speaking engagements and meets with politicians and companies to lobby for equitable, timely, and affordable access to medications for people with rare diseases like CF.
“It’s a bit of a thankless job,” Hailey says. “And it’s hard to get people to listen. But when they do, and when they tell me that I have changed the way they think about life, those are the moments that make me most proud.”
Hailey’s efforts to cast light on the struggles of those living with CF are in addition to her full-time position at TD Bank Group in Toronto. Fittingly, as a communications associate in global corporate citizenship, she helps the bank tell stories of impact and assists in determining how and where the bank’s funds can have the greatest positive social influence on the communities it serves. With this demanding role, she is thankful for her employer’s flexibility, allowing her to work regularly from home and save her energy.
Hailey recalls being granted this same kind of flexibility at LCC. Both the administration and her teachers were determined to facilitate Hailey’s progress, a task that proved particularly challenging when she had to undergo a liver transplant in grade 10 and was unable to be at school for seven months. The relationships she built at LCC also helped power her through the journey.
Hailey’s LCC experience further bolstered her well-developed sense of confidence. “At LCC, I was made to feel like I had a stake in the conversation,” she says. “We were taught to make our voices heard.”
This confidence served her well in her post-secondary studies. After attending Dawson College, Hailey was awarded a full scholarship to university through TD’s Scholarship for Community Leadership in recognition of the work she had done with CF Canada, among other initiatives.
She went on to the University of Ottawa where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration. During that time, she received the Killam Fellowship through Fulbright Canada for her leadership and academic excellence, allowing her to attend American University in Washington D.C. for one semester.
Recognizing that all of these experiences have shaped who she is, Hailey offers this advice: “Don’t just exist. Truly live,” she says. “Ask yourself every day what you would do if you weren’t afraid, and then go out and do that thing.”