Ryerson School of Journalism alumni Ing Wong-Ward died from complications of colon cancer on the morning of July 6, 2019.

Ing was born with the neurodegenerative disorder spinal muscular atrophy and used a wheelchair to get around. When she was a student, Ryerson’s journalism building, 55 Gould Street, was inaccessible and her classes were moved to the basement of Jorgenson Hall. Despite this discouraging inaccessibility, Wong-Ward persisted, working at Ryerson’s independent student newspaper, The Eyeopener, outside of classes.  

At The Eyeopener, Ing met her future husband, Tim Wong-Ward, a photography student.

In a Facebook post, Tim remembered how a photo for The Eyeopener captured the moment they fell in love.

“As photo editor one day in February 1992, I needed to come up with an image to illustrate the lack of access on campus. I discussed it with Ing who was the news editor at the time, and we decided to create a photo of a person in a wheelchair trapped in a box, trying to get out. I was unable to find someone to model for the photo, so Ing grudgingly agreed to do it, on the condition that we do a silhouette so she would be less recognizable (good luck with that!).

Ing Wong Ward headshot

Photo of Ing Wong-Ward

We went to the studio in the old photo building and set up boxes and lights. She took her place under the boxes and I directed her hand and head position.

Suddenly we both got sweaty and tongue-tied. My heart was beating fast. I got distracted from the task at hand. We got the photo, but it was clear something unexpected had occurred.

We talked about it later and it was clear.

This is a photo of the moment we fell in love.“

Ing and Tim married in August, 1998. They had a daughter together, Zhenmei.

After graduating from Ryerson in 1993, Ing joined CBC. She spent 23 years there, working as an associate producer and co-host of The Disability Network, a researcher and producer for Newsworld, and producing stories for The National. She spent 15 of those years with CBC Radio, where she was a producer with Metro Morning, Here & Now and Fresh Air.

In CBC’s obituary for Ing, a former colleague remembered her as “a mighty force.” Matt Galloway paid tribute to her on Metro Morning.

In late 2015, Ing left the CBC to become associate director at The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto. She was a passionate advocate for disability issues, continuing that work through radio interviews, articles and social media even after she retired from professional life following her cancer diagnosis.

One of the causes Ing championed was end-of-life-care, including the need for a national standard of palliative care and increased hospice access. She spoke with CBC in May 2018 about living with dignity and why she would not choose a medically assisted death.

In February 2018, Ing participated in a panel at RSJ on Disability Coverage in the Media.

Obituary of Ing Wong-Ward

‘A mighty force has left us’: CBC journalist and disabilities advocate Ing Wong-Ward dead at 46

‘A compromised life is worth living’: Why Ing Wong-Ward won’t choose medically assisted death

Ing Wong-Ward talks to Matt Galloway about living and dying

Ing Wong-Ward on “Inspiration porn”

The Current: Meet Friday host disability advocate Ing Wong-Ward