'I'm not an anti-vaxxer': Ottawa measles patient urges everyone to get vaccinated

It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime.

“It was surreal to be treated so well,” says Jayda Kelsall from her Ottawa apartment, “everything Harry Potter that we could find in London. It was amazing.”

Kelsall, 36, says she was selected by a charity to have a wish granted and travel to London England for Harry Potter tour from March 17th to 23rd. The Ottawa woman was diagnosed with a rare abdominal cancer four years ago. She’s had a string of surgeries that have left her without a spleen, uterus and cervix.

“It’s an incurable cancer so we watch and we wait,” says Kelsall with a brave smile.

“Because I’m young the statistics are fairly encouraging that I’ll get a bit more time than people in my situation who are older.”

Kelsall, who is used to feeling tired after her cancer diagnosis, started to feel “different” about one week after returning from London.

“Like more than my usual fatigue.”

On April 2nd Kelsall’s fever was so high she went to the Ottawa Hospital where doctors admitted her for observation, “it had to be addressed because I am immunocompromised and things can get serious pretty quickly.”

By Wednesday Kelsall’s husband, Alex Da Silva, noticed something else.

“She got all these red bumps on her forehead,” Da Silva tells CTV.

“That’s when Infectious Disease was called in and they decided to isolate me,” Kelsall says.

Kelsall tested positive for the measles.

“Everyone was really baffled including myself,” she says, “I’m vaccinated.”

Doctors told Kelsall that the cancer and operations had left her with a weakened immune system, putting in her in the risk group for contracting measles.

Kelsall is now angry, urging everyone to get themselves and their children vaccinated.

“You shouldn’t have to get the measles if people were vaccinating properly that should be eliminating things like this.”

Now Kelsall wonders who else may have been exposed to the virus.

“It’s weird, almost a guilt tinged concern, I know it’s not my fault, I know I didn’t do anything wrong but I still feel responsible.”

After spending eight days in hospital, most of that time in isolation, Kelsall is now home with her husband again, no longer contagious.

“I can be touched,” she exclaims.

She says she wanted share her story in hopes of convincing others to get the shot.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m not somebody who did anything wrong. I’m an immunocompromised cancer patient and this is why we should be vaccinating.”

Kelsall’s diagnosis is the second measles case in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Health says the two are not connected and believe both patients contracted the virus overseas.