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Naomi FRIEDLANDER

Naomi Lynn Friedlander, aged 37, passed away on September 29, 2023, in Toronto, Ontario. She was born and raised in Montreal to her parents, William and Paula Friedlander, and had a sister named Lara. Naomi is also survived by her loving nephew and niece, Noah and Abigail Bornstein, as well as her cousins Mayda (Wilf), Robin, and David Mandel, all residing in Toronto.

Naomi, affectionately known as “Nao”, pursued her education at Marianopolis College, followed by McGill University, where she earned her B.Comm in Management Information Systems. She furthered her studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining her MSc in Computer Science. After completing her education, Naomi spent a number of years in Silicon Valley, undertaking an internship at FX Palo Alto and gaining employment at NEC and IBM. Her specialization in “human-computer interaction” allowed her to merge her passions for computer science, interpersonal communication, and psychology. Naomi even went above and beyond by taking a temporary assignment in client service at IBM to better comprehend the needs of individuals for whom she designed products.

Confronted with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2001, which was later discovered to be undiagnosed Lyme Disease leading to PTLDS, Naomi dedicated herself to tirelessly seeking medical help for this complex and under-researched illness. In recent years, her condition slightly improved, enabling her to engage in limited volunteer work, such as at the Toronto International Film Festival. She held hope of eventually reentering the workforce part-time. Tragically, her aspirations were dashed in 2020 when she received a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Undeterred, Naomi fought valiantly, enduring five months of chemotherapy, a glimmer of hope, and a final round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Prior to her illnesses, Naomi pursued various hobbies, including indoor and outdoor rock climbing, poker playing, and quilling, in which she even sold her creations. She developed a deep fondness for classic movies and actively participated in a meetup group dedicated to discussing them. Naomi was remembered for her warmth, friendliness, and outgoing nature, effortlessly making friends wherever life took her. As her life drew to a close, she was comforted by the hundreds of people who reached out to express the profound impact she had on their lives, both directly and indirectly through inspiring the establishment of self-help groups. Naomi took pride in always being there for her friends during their difficult times, and predictably, they reciprocated that support when she faced her own challenges.

Naomi’s family and friends would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the medical and palliative care professionals in Toronto who provided their utmost care over the past three years. A memorial service will be held at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. Following the service, the family will be available for visits at their residence on Eastbourne Avenue in Toronto. In memory of Naomi, donations may be made to Open Medicine Foundation Canada or any other Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research organization.

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