Dr. Carolyn Freeman receives the Order of Canada

Fred Langan 

Dr. Carolyn Freeman of West Bolton has been named a Member of the Order of Canada for her work in cancer research and care. “For her leadership in the field of pediatric radiation oncology and for her sustained efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in Quebec and across Canada,” reads the announcement from the Governor General’s office. Dr. Freeman not only practices medicine, she taught a generation of radiation oncologists as Chair of Radiation Oncology at McGill University from 1979 to 2011. 

“She is an inspiring person, teaching the importance of clinical trials to improve patient care and outcomes,” said Dr. Pierre Rousseau, a radiation oncologist at CHUM and a resident of Knowlton. He was a student of Dr. Freeman’s in the 1980s and graduated from the McGill Radiation Oncology program in 1990. “She was a mentor to many radiation oncologists both here and abroad.” 

In the 1990s Pauline Marois, then health minister of Quebec, named Dr. Freeman as chair of a Comité national en radio-oncologie in Quebec in which capacity Dr. Freeman was able to make a significant impact on the practice of radiotherapy throughout the province. As well, she has been a leader in numerous national and international professional organizations. She was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology in 1988 (serving as its President 1993 – 1995) and the International Society of Paediatric Radiation Oncology in 2004 (President 2011 – 2014). 

Today she is still active as a radiation oncologist at the McGill University Health Centre and still holds a number of leadership positions at the MUHC including medical lead of the Quality Improvement program of the Cancer Care Mission based at the Cedars Cancer Centre. When Dr. Freeman and her husband, Dr. Juan Carlos Negrete, are not attending to medical matters, they are hard at work at their farm in West Bolton where there are chickens, geese, and usually a couple of pigs. Dr. Freeman tends to a large garden, fenced in to keep the groundhogs and the deer at bay.