Richard Motyka Brain Tumour Research Fellowship

The Inspiration for the Fellowship

Richard, brain tumour survivorRichard Motyka’s brain tumour journey is a symbol of inspiration and courage for those within his family. His strength of character, individual bravery, and generosity of spirit has drawn family and friends together to support his continuing battle.

The family’s journey began in August 2003 when the Motykas were on a family climb at Mount Assiniboine, BC. Richard suffered a seizure and was flown to Calgary by helicopter to eventually be treated at Foothills Hospital. They received the diagnosis of an aggressive Grade-three brain tumour. “Our reaction was horror,” says Richard, now 48.

While he was unable to return to his job as the vice-president of a Silicon Valley based high tech company, Richard began rebuilding his life with a series of wide ranging pursuits including supporting Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Along with Richard, the whole family participates by walking in Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s annual Brain Tumour Walk (formerly called Spring Sprint), including: his wife Karen, their twins Stephenie and Danny, his parents Ruth and Dan, his sister Alison and many friends. Richard has two other sisters, Alexis (and her partner Norm) and Tonya (and Tonya’s partner Gary) who provide further moral support.

For the Calgary Spring Sprint, Richard began an ambitious project of fundraising – a project that resulted in Karen helping to found Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Calgary Brain Tumour Support Group. “When Richard was diagnosed, there wasn’t a support group in Calgary. The group has a calming effect on newly diagnosed patients as they move along in their treatment, assisting to alleviate some of their anxiety and fear,” Karen explains.

While the Motyka family has always been close, his diagnosis has made them even more tightly knit. By participating in Spring Sprints, attending Brain Tumour Information Day Conferences, making donations and just being there for him, the experience has also proven to be educational for the family.

“When you have someone in the family who has been diagnosed with brain cancer,” Ruth describes, “all of a sudden you learn of others in similar situations. We do keep in touch with other brain tumour patients. It is important to talk about it, if they are willing.”

Richard’s sister Alison and her husband Darrell, along with former business partner
Howard Crone and his wife Michelle have played a vitally important role with the financial front in helping with the battle against brain tumours. Together, they have donated generously to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

This had lead to the creation of a research fellowship named in Richard’s Honour: Richard Motyka Brain Tumour Research Fellowship. The Fellowship is offered to help with the vision to find the cause of and cure for brain tumours while improving the quality of life for those affected. It supports the critical need for an increased focus on brain tumour research and enables young clinicians and scientists to enter the important field. These steps help to accelerates studies leading to a cure for brain tumours.

When Alison is asked to speak of her incredible generosity, she does so in modest tones.
“Richard did all the fundraising and we are celebrating his hard work,” she says. “Helping all families is key. Richard had two young children at the time he was diagnosed and a lot of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada programs have helped his family immensely; if we can assist others that would be great. We’re trying to help financially and we will be continuing with our donations.”

“The reason I support Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is not just because Alison was a co-worker and Richard is her brother,” Howard explains. “It’s also because we had another co-worker who was diagnosed and died from a brain tumour. I try to do what I can to offer my support, to try to keep people as upbeat as possible through difficult times.”

Buoyed by the support and generosity of family and friends, Richard’s brave journey continues. Karen says while it is something that is always in the forefront of their minds, there is always hope on the horizon. Richard’s mother Ruth agrees: “You just hope for the best. Hope that someday someone will find a cure and be able to help brain cancer survivors have a really good life. That’s our dream.”

Update: December 2016, we are saddened to share that Richard Motyka has passed away. With your help and support, the Richard Motyka Brain Tumour Research Fellowship will go on to help start careers in the important field of brain tumour research. Thank you.

Never stop fighting, be kind, live everyday, laugh often and love hard. Be a Richard.

For further information about how your gift can propel research, please contact:

Suzanne Fratschko Elliott
Fundraising and Engagement Manager
1-800-265-5106 or 519-642-7755, ext. 227

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