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.

Tracey’s Story: Hope and Optimism

Tracey’s Story: Hope and Optimism

Headaches are like house guests. Some come and go. Others don’t want to leave; and become a real nuisance. Tracey’s headache lasted a full 6 months but it still wasn’t enough of a warning sign. What she had was a tumour in her brain, discovered when it caused hydrocephalus, put her in a coma for two days and she was just hours from death. Four brain surgeries later, Tracey is here to tell her story, and importantly, how she found ways to remain optimistic in the face of grave adversity.


Tommy's Story: Fellowship recipient

Dr. Tommy Alain, the very first research Fellow funded by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada through the William Donald Nash Brain Tumour Research Fellowship, believes that more effective treatments are needed for patients diagnosed with brain tumours. And who are we to argue?


Todd's story: There's a cookie in my head

Bike rides and hockey are what seven year old boys should be concerned with. Todd was seven years old when he had a bike accident while riding down a hill. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with concussion. That should be the worst thing that any child has to go through. A couple months later and Todd was waking up in the middle of the night vomiting and suffering terrible headaches.


Theresa's Story: When there’s a will, there’s a way

For Theresa Acchione Parkinson, it’s been 15 years since her father passed away from glioblastoma brain cancer. And while Theresa hadn’t heard of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada while her dad was alive, a few years after his passing, she discovered the charity soon after moving to Calgary. “It was almost odd – it felt like I started hearing about brain tumours everywhere,” recalls Theresa. “And despite my mourning for Dad, I knew I wanted to give back to other families facing this same battle.

Team Barbie Walk at Hamilton Spring Sprint

Team Barbie Walk at Hamilton Spring Sprint

To say the past decade has been a challenge for 66-year-old brain tumour survivor Barb (Barbie) Gilbert is an understatement. After several years of searching for an answer to the severely declining health she was experiencing, an MRI eventually uncovered the cause: a large brain tumour. Even more complicated was the rare location and size of the mass.


Taite's Story: You can help the best and brightest minds unlock the answers to curing brain tumours

In Dr. Singh’s lab at McMaster University, Taite Boomer’s legacy is leading to real progress in helping brain tumour patients through research. When Taite passed away from brain cancer, his family and friends created the Taite Boomer Brain Tumour Research Studentship in his memory.

The Keys’ Story: One family’s childhood brain tumour journey

The Keys’ Story: One family’s childhood brain tumour journey

Shortly after Dave and Shelly's daughter turned one, they noticed she would fall down unexpectedly. “We’d be holding Rachelle, and she’d just fall into us,” Dave recalls. A routine check-up for Rachelle was the beginning of an unexpected journey for the Keys family.

The Gareaus

The Gareaus' Story: “Stay Positive and Count Your Blessings”

Mike and Danka are childhood sweethearts who have faced life’s hardships time and time again. Throughout 30 years of marriage, two children and several health scares, the Deep River, ON couple has stayed strong, choosing to be positive about their circumstances, no matter what. And even when Mike and Danka heard those two heart-stopping words, “brain tumour,” they didn’t let it change their outlook on life.

Together, Heading for a Cure!

Together, Heading for a Cure!

For Gary Evjen and Karen Kowalenko-Evjen, Heading for a Cure Music Night is all about supporting brain tumour patients, survivors and their families – a community of loved ones the couple are proud to call friends. Over the past four years, the couple has partnered with friends they’ve made at the Saskatoon Brain Tumour Support Group to host the annual Heading for a Cure Music Night, a fun evening of country, folk, rock and jazz music.


Trevor's Story of Strength

Brain tumour survivor Trevor Wilkinson says the diagnosis of a brain tumour has changed him for the better. “This whole event in my life is opening up so much that I never dreamt of before. For anybody going through it, I want to let them know that there is hope.”

Two Runners Striding for a Cure

Two Runners Striding for a Cure

Research can bring hope to so many and for avid runners Paul Statchuk and Gilles Poulin, it's understanding the importance of finding a cure that motivates them to fundraise for a new Research Studentship. Deeply affected by the loss of a loved one to a brain tumour, Gilles and Paul are working together to fund leading research that will bring an end to the disease and the emotional burden on those impacted.

The Banff-Jasper Relay - A Tribute to a Runner

The Banff-Jasper Relay - A Tribute to a Runner's Journey

How does the famous Margaret Mead quote go? “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world…” When you look at the friends who gather each year and volunteer to manage the Banff-Jasper Relay, they embody this sentiment completely.


Taite's Story: One Family's Hope for the Future

Losing a child is something no parent should have to bear. For Lori Boomer and her husband, Ted, and their close-knit friends and family, this is all too sad a reality. Now this family and their community are rallying together to fund research into the disease that took a cherished young man's life.

The Floods

The Floods' Story: A Gift for Tomorrow

Wedding anniversaries are a time of celebration, of recognizing the year that has passed and all those to come. October 2012 marked Eleanor and Doug Flood’s 61st wedding anniversary, and for this Lambeth, ON couple, they’ve chosen to commemorate their nuptial landmarks by hosting a yearly fundraiser. Many of the years’ festivities have raised important dollars for the brain tumour community, a cause close to the Floods’ hearts and home.

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.


Tom's Story of Strength

For small business owner and pilot Tom, his brain tumour journey began with periodic seizures that caused blackouts, resulting in a frightening car accident. Though the experience was terrifying, the accident led Tom and his loved ones to the answers they were desperately looking for: Tom was diagnosed with a non-malignant meningioma. Surgery removed the kiwi-sized brain tumour and with no lasting effects from the disease, Tom says he is one of the lucky ones. Hear Tom tell his story in this fiv

Team Hope: Sarah's Story

One of the many teams coming together for the Chatham-Kent Spring Sprint is Team Hope, led by local survivor Sarah. In June 2011, after several months of headaches, vision problems and balance trouble, Sarah’s symptoms hit a critical point. After a morning of nausea and a severe headache, she decided to leave work early. During the drive home, she felt extremely unwell, pulled her car over and called for a ride.

Tom's Story: 'Brain Tumour Adventure and Helping Others

The past year and a half have been challenging for brain tumour survivor, Tom Moran, but that doesn’t slow him down on what he calls his, “BT [brain tumour] Adventure.” Now, Tom’s taking on the task of volunteering with the May 6 Kitchener-Waterloo Spring Sprint in support of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

The World Works in Mysterious Ways: Cheryl's Story

The most unforgettable day of Cheryl Vollrath’s life happened in July 2002, when she was told that a large, orange-sized mass was growing in her brain. When she reflects on her journey, she notes that sometimes, the world works in mysterious ways. An otherwise typical workday, she called her brother and left a message that she would not be able to drive herself home, would he be able to pick her up? She does not remember this.


Tanya's Story: Survivor Supports Spring Sprint

When Guelph resident Tanya Lea was diagnosed with multiple brain tumours at the age of 40, she was shocked. Falling sick had been the furthest thing from her mind. An active and independent woman, she was scared but also determined to live the best life possible.

The Many Volunteer Faces of Spring Sprint


Tom's Story: Putting the Power of Research to Work

Tom spent two years battling a brain tumour until researchers tried an onco-virus to attack his cancer. Today, Tom and his wife Rita are enjoying their two beautiful girls, Grace, five and Eva now four months.


Theresa Acchione

Theresa Acchione

Volunteer Profile - Congratulations, Theresa, on your award and thank you for your dedication and kindness to everyone you have met during your years as the Coordinator for the Calgary Spring Sprint and as the convenor of the Calgary Support Group.

Through the Years

Through the Years

An open letter by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada founder Steve Northey.


The Foundation was Kelly

The Foundation was Kelly's Legacy

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada founder Steve Northey marks 25 years of helping and healing. Monday February 12, 2007, The London Free Press


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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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