Stories of the movement to end brain tumours

This collection of personal stories feature many inspiring people whose lives have been affected by a brain tumour. You will find stories about how patients and families find strength and hope, stories of perseverance and giving back to make an impact

We are honoured to be able to share these stories and say 'Thank You' to everyone who has shared and for everything you do to help the movement to end brain tumours.


John's Story: “I'm going to do as much as I can with each day”

When John Hatcher laces up his running shoes on Saturday, October 2, 2016, he joins over a dozen of his family members and friends for the Newfoundland & Labrador Brain Tumour Walk as team Astro-Blasters. "It's our first year," he explains, "and knowing first-hand how little is said or recognized about brain tumours, we want to help any way we can."


Jerfield's Story: “We felt loved and that helped us to stay strong.”

The world first heard of Baby Gordie this past spring, when his parents, Joshua and Jerfield, shared their family’s tragic story: Baby Gordie, just one month old, had a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer – one that sadly took his very short life on March 18, 2016.

Juanita’s Story: Love is how you stay alive

Juanita’s Story: Love is how you stay alive

Pineapple upside-down cakes. Choir practice. The crack of a baseball bat. Deviled egg sandwiches. Nature walks. Heartfelt talks. When everything else falls away - when we push the chaos and triviality into the background - it is the simplicity of life that emerges. It’s the little things. The affection of a favourite pet, the satisfaction from a hard day’s work, the joy of piling the kids into the car for a drive-in movie. This is especially true for brain tumour patient Juanita van Ton Martel.

Jen and Phil: BrainCycle Tour

Jen and Phil: BrainCycle Tour

With little to no cycling experience, two intrepid graduates from Queen's University are on the bike ride of a lifetime, from Gibraltar, through Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark to Bergen, Norway. A total of 5,000kms, raising money for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.


Justine's Story "Support programs are so important"

Justine LeRose, 22, is a childhood brain tumour survivor who laced up her runners on Sunday, May 24, 2015 in support of the 27 Canadians diagnosed every day with the same disease she battled. Justine joined approximately 200 participants at the annual Victoria Spring Sprint walk and fun-run, at University of Victoria.


John's Story: Leaving a Legacy of Hope

Paul Coppard was the Executor for his brother John's will after John died of his glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour, at the peak of his personal and professional life. "Leaving a legacy gift is a meaningful way to make a difference. Our family struggled to find hope and meaning after this painful loss. An insidious disease such as glioblastoma multiform makes one realize that there are many more questions than answers."


Jennifer's Hope: One day there will be no more brain tumours

The brain tumour journey is one an entire family makes when someone is diagnosed with the disease. For Vaughan, Ontario’s Capretta family, this meant watching their eldest daughter Jennifer change from the independent young woman they knew to someone completely different. The journey also united the family in a way they never expected.


Jennifer's Story of Strength

Jennifer shares her story in a series of four videos that tell her story as a brain tumour survivor from diagnosis to living the 'new normal'. Jennifer tells her story with grace and ease and she'll bring you into her world and the reality of a brain tumour diagnosis. This video series is part of the effort to increase knowledge about the impact of a brain tumour during October's Brain Tumour Awareness Month.


Julia's Story: "We're not alone in this"

Almost one year after the initial diagnosis, Julia’s operation was scheduled. The non-malignant brain tumour, a pituitary adenoma, was successfully resected. Regular scans since show no regrowth, and today, Julia, once reluctant to tell her story, says she shares her experience in hopes of helping other women facing similar circumstances. “My mom says I need to ‘own my story,’ so that’s what I’m doing."


Janice's Story: Every Little Bit Counts

For Janice Laberge, a long-time supporter of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, reflecting on her volunteer work is a chance to see just how much of an impact every minute of help can make. “Everything from manning registration tables, acquiring sponsorship and developing new ideas – it’s all so important and every little bit counts. Volunteering has given me the ability to make a difference.”


John's Story: A Tribute to Jeff

It was 12 years filled with ups and downs, new experiences, and best of all, a love for life that John Graham remembers most about his brother’s journey with a brain tumour. For more than a decade, Jeff weathered the highs and lows of brain tumour surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy, all with the understanding that he wanted to control the disease – not the other way around. “He was still Jeff through it all, he wouldn’t let the tumour be what defined him,” recalls his brother John.


Jennifer's Story: "I am alive, and I am going to live"

Almost two years ago, in May 2011, Cambridge, Ontario’s Jennifer Hazel was driving to work like any other weekday. A nagging headache had plagued her for two weeks but had recently begun increasing in pain. While on her daily commute, Jennifer took a detour and drove herself to a Mississauga hospital. “Something felt worse that morning,” she recalls. “I just knew I had to get checked out.”

Crystal and Jamie

Crystal and Jamie's Stories of Strength

Both Jamie and Crystal are brain tumour survivors and their story is very unique. They share their inspiring and warm stories of strength, hope and love in a seven minute video in support of Brain Tumour Awareness Month.


Jim's Story of Strength

It is now over 44 months since Jim was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour. He says, “My life pretty much runs in three month segments, as I have an MRI every three months to determine if there is any change in the tumor. Since January 2009, every three months I have heard the beautiful words “no new growth”.


Jim's Story: Victoria Man's Recovery from Astrocytoma

Seven years ago, Jim Gibson was given a prognosis that shook him and his family to their core: he was told he had less than one year to live. Since then, Jim has not only beaten the odds and survived, but he’s become a passionate fundraiser for patient care and brain tumour research. Now this brain tumour fighter, as he prefers to be called, is lacing up again to participate in Spring Sprint.

James and Emily

James and Emily's Story

From the day our twins were born, James and Emily were never apart. They did everything together. But when they were six ,this changed in a way I never could have imagined. James began having movement difficulties, becoming clumsy, uncoordinated, and falling, a lot! Then he began having trouble seeing. That was the last straw. He was scheduled for an MRI.

Journey of Hope & Healing

Journey of Hope & Healing

Pia Di Bacco has always considered herself to be blessed. Living in Montreal, she and husband, Tony, raised two children. She works at a school daycare, half days now, and loves working with young children. She has always given back to the community.

Jennifer Brewe

Jennifer Brewe

Volunteer Profile - In the fall of 2005, Jennifer Brewe’s life changed dramatically when she was diagnosed with an ependymoma tumour. Fortunately, the tumour was operable and, in November of 2005, it was removed by neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Megyesi, coincidentally the chair for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Board of Directors...

Janice & Sarah Laberge

Janice & Sarah Laberge

Volunteer Profile - Their dedication to volunteering and compassionate nature has inspired us all.


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Featured Story

Youth Education Award recipient update

This my update since completing University: Since being diagnosed with a brain tumour, life has not been easy for me; University was no exception. I had my fair share of struggles during my time in school. I failed some and struggled in most classes, but overall, I had a great experience. I found myself taking on a new set of challenges, and changing my original plan of majoring in psychology, to double majoring in psychology and gerontology with a minor in French.

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Make every brain tumour count

Stephanie, a 38-year-old mother of twins has been diagnosed with an extremely rare and inoperable brain tumour - a rosette-forming...

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Piper's Story: a dream more precious than Olympic gold

Hi, I am Piper Gilles. You may know me as a world-famous ice dancer. I competed in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. I am a 7...

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