The Power of Family and Friends

The Power of Family and Friends

With a busy, active life, a baby on the way and a blossoming career with the Winnipeg Police Service, Connor greeted September 27, 2011 worrying about a trip to the dentist. “The date just sticks in my mind,” he remembers. While Connor relays simply getting out of bed to start his morning routine, his wife Glynis fills in the blanks about finding him having a seizure on their bathroom floor. Very quickly Connor was in an ambulance to the emergency room where he underwent a scan.

“They told me there was a mass on my brain but they weren’t sure if it was a lesion or a tumour and if it was tumour, what type of tumour it was.” Within a day, Connor was home waiting to see a neurosurgeon. When Connor and Glynis met with the doctor he said that based on the scan, he thought the tumour was likely non-malignant and Connor could decide whether to have surgery or not. “Deciding what to do was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he says.

After much consideration of all the benefits and risks, and thinking very much about the baby due in February, Connor and Glynis decided going ahead with the surgery would be the best thing for him and their family. The surgery was booked for early November and the resection of the tumour was very successful. “It all kind of worked out in a funny way,” Connor remembers. “My brother had a baby the same day as my surgery, making it really easy for my mom to see us all once she knew my surgery had gone well.”

Recovery from the brain surgery went remarkably well. “I couldn’t believe the body could heal so quickly. It really is amazing what the doctors can do.”

In early December, Connor met with an oncologist who told him the pathology of the tumour was that of an oligodendroglioma – a malignant brain tumour. This was news that Connor wasn’t entirely prepared for, “It was surprising, I felt a bit like I wasn’t really aware that could be an outcome.” But he stayed calm. The doctors said the surgery was very successful and to date have not advised radiation or chemotherapy. Instead, they are monitoring Connor with quarterly MRIs and to date, there has been no change. After his surgery Connor has taken his time transitioning back into full-time work – while enjoying his son Caleb who is now eight months old.

Upon his diagnosis, Connor received a copy of the Adult Brain Tumour Handbook and took comfort reading the stories of others on – so he decided he wanted to do something to give back.  Together with his wife, his sister-in-law and a good friend, he coordinated the first ‘Birdies for Brain Tumours’ golf tournament. “It really all came together because of our family and friends,” he says. And on July 8, 2012, ‘Birdies for Brain Tumours’ brought out 284 golfers. They were so successful, the group needed to be split into two tee times. After the tournament, everyone gathered for dinner and a ‘social’. Thanks to the incredible participation and support through raffle donations and more, the tournament raised an incredible $30,000 for brain tumour research and patient programs.

After travelling the journey with a brain tumour for a little over a year, and knowing there’s more to come with those quarterly scans, Connor offers some insight to those newly diagnosed with a brain tumour: “Try not to jump to conclusions; Follow your doctor’s orders; Take everything day by day because anything can happen; and Lean on your family and friends. I couldn’t have done it, or keep doing it, without them.”

Thank you to Connor for sharing his incredible story of strength.

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 Story posted: October 2012. Since then, Brain Tumour Awareness Month has moved to May.


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