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.

Alicia

Alicia's Story: You gotta laugh every day

It’s hard to capture an infectious giggle in words, but that’s exactly what you get when you speak to Alicia. Alicia is now 20 years old. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just six months old, so having a brain tumour is her normal. Despite her diagnosis, three brain surgeries, loss of vision, and multiple medications, she laughs every day and is determined to inspire people.

Lawrence

Lawrence's Story: Be happy, live happy

Lawrence, a successful businessman, is not one to take a decline in memory lightly. Lawrence was in Winnipeg, at home on leave from his job in New York City when he had his first seizure. “I couldn’t remember names; my cat, my brother, my parents. It would last half an hour at a time.” He went to his doctor, who told him that as he’d just turned 50, he would likely experience memory decline.

Max

Max's Story: Beating Expectations

A simple task at work that he had once taught to his assistant, he couldn’t remember. A stumble. Nothing as serious as when he rolled over in bed and threw up, falling. Scary for Max. Twice as scary for his new wife, a recent immigrant to Canada for whom English was not her first language. Especially when he didn’t even understand why she was asking him to go to a doctor. He didn’t remember passing out, just dizziness and headaches.

Hazel

Hazel's Volunteer Profile

“I had always planned on doing some volunteer work after I retired. Following Michelle's (Hazel’s daughter) diagnosis, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada seemed like a natural fit for me. After she was stable and I was not needed as much to support her and my very young granddaughter, I felt as though I would like to give back to the organization that had offered such helpful support to our family."

Andy

Andy's Volunteer Profile

Andy is a doctor in Calgary who saw an opportunity through volunteering to support patients and his community. He was grateful to express what that meant to him. “Presently, I hold the volunteer position of co-lead coordinator in Calgary for the Brain Tumour Walk. This is my first year at this position and before that I was the volunteer coordinator. I just love Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, period. We are a strong set of determined individuals who serve one cause...

Diane

Diane's Volunteer Profile

“I first became aware of the Foundation in December 2015 when my youngest brother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. I discovered the information handbooks and then I took part in the Vancouver Brain Tumour Walk in June 2016, followed by my first Conference that fall. I was so touched and inspired by the wonderful people I met, learned from, and shared stories with at the Conference; staff, volunteers, medical professionals, and many brain tumour survivors. I felt so compelled ...

Mckenna

Mckenna's Volunteer Profile

At only 14 years old, Mckenna is one of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s youngest volunteers. When asked about her role with us this is what she shared. “I started volunteering because I am a brain tumour survivor and realized that by sharing my story, I could make a difference and contribute to one day finding a cure."

Kathy

Kathy's Volunteer Profile

“I am proud and happy to be part of the beautiful GOcervo family as a volunteer for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. I help to organize activities and attend events with children and their families. Having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, I wanted to get involved in a cause that touched me. I saw an ad mentioning that Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada was looking for volunteers for the new GOcervo program and I was immediately interested in joining the group."

Sara: Team Fight like a Girl

Sara: Team Fight like a Girl

Sara’s brain tumour diagnosis came during Thanksgiving weekend 2014 when doctors discovered a golf-ball-sized tumour on her right frontal lobe. Sara was immediately sent for an emergency re-section in Saint John, NB, which left her paralyzed. She spent over a year in intensive physical rehabilitation at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital and Stan Cassidy Centre to re-learn basic motor skills.

Kaiden and Tasha’s Story, for awareness.

Kaiden and Tasha’s Story, for awareness.

“I wasn’t always a brain cancer mom, but now that I am, I want everyone to know the signs and symptoms, as all the symptoms were there, I just didn’t know what they were. Raising awareness is now my main goal, in the hopes that no-one else has to go through this.”

Lynn’s story: Steering Through It.

Lynn’s story: Steering Through It.

Usually surrounded by friends and family, Lynn was alone when she heard the words: “I’m sorry to inform you… an abnormal lesion… aggressive”. A brain tumour. Lynn had been ignoring the initial symptoms that started two years prior to the diagnosis, attributing them to a new job, or getting older.

Margaret

Margaret's Story of Hope

Margaret shared her story of hope at the Brain Tumour National Conference on Saturday, October 20, 2018, and it is our pleasure to share this video story of her dad's diagnosis, treatment and recovery from a brain tumour, followed by her own diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Hayden’s Story: The eyes have it.

Hayden’s Story: The eyes have it.

Eyes might be the window to the soul, but in Hayden’s case, they were telling her Mom that something was seriously wrong with her baby. Hayden’s Mom, Candice, is forever grateful to the ER physician who spotted her brain tumour and the health care professional team who subsequently saved her eyesight. Candice is now advocating for every parent to look to the eyes.

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.

Andrew’s Story of being tough

Andrew’s Story of being tough

What do you see when you look in the mirror? When Andrew’s friend looked at him, he saw an immensely tough person and wanted to let Andrew know. Andrew wanted to see those words when he looked in the mirror, as his own private message. Andrew has since dedicated his time and energy into setting up a charity to help other cancer patients, incredible for someone battling brain cancer since 2011.

Debbie’s Story: A Family of Caregivers

Debbie’s Story: A Family of Caregivers

Within seconds of sitting down with Debbie, I had learnt that she had a brain tumour, her husband had kidney cancer, her eldest daughter was born with a physical disability affecting her mobility and then her youngest daughter, Debbie called her “the healthy one”, also had a brain tumour. At some point, each of them has learnt to care for each other.

Donna

Donna's Story - Skating through life with a brain tumour

Donna started skating as a child. Aged 15, she began to coach and continued to skate for 37 years. She had motor skills, she had balance. She also had a tumour growing in her brain. Donna’s brain tumour, a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, had probably been in her brain since she was eight years old. Due to a lack of symptoms, it wasn’t discovered until she was 44 years old. When it was discovered, it was almost fatal.

Lisa

Lisa's Story of Hope

Meet Lisa Clarke: a wife, a mother, a community volunteer, and a brain tumour survivor with an uncanny ability to find the bright side in any situation. On a morning like any other, Lisa opened her mouth to say goodbye as her husband left for work, and found that she was at a complete loss for words. “I couldn’t get any sound to come out… It was scary. When I finally did, it was completely garbled.”

Stephanie

Stephanie's Story: Youth Education Award Winner

For Stephanie, receiving the Youth Education Award in 2014 was about far more than the dollars and cents that went toward her educational expenses. Diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma at 3 years old, Stephanie has undergone two surgeries, both of which have had lasting repercussions.

Alexandre

Alexandre's Story: Research Studentship Recipient

Working with Dr. Pier Jr. Morin and the research team at Université de Moncton, Alexandre’s studentship project spanned two summers and sought to answer an important question for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients: is it possible to improve the current standard of care for GBM patients by identifying a genetic signature in treatment-resistant tumours?

Tommy

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?

Stephen

Stephen's Story: "I have faith that we will meet again"

Stephen and I chatted on what should have been his 32nd Wedding Anniversary. Stephen and Susan were married for 30 years and were best friends for years before that, having met at school. They adopted two daughters who made their family complete. After years of happy marriage, a weird sensation in Susan’s arm sent her to a physician who suspected carpal tunnel, but who also wondered if there could be something more. A CT scan revealed a potential issue, a MRI revealed a brain tumour.

Pablo

Pablo's Story: The real blessing in all of this

In 2010, Pablo found himself in the ER eight times within six weeks. Intense headaches, drastic weight loss, jaundice, dizziness, and lapses in time were repeatedly dismissed by doctors, but Pablo knew that something was very wrong. Choosing to advocate for his health when others might have given up, Pablo sought out the opinion of his family practitioner and his persistence may have, in fact, saved his life. An MRI revealed a grade IV atypical meningioma on Pablo’s brain.

Sandra

Sandra's Story: Feeling Fortunate

At the age of thirty, Sandra Lisi heard the words “You have a brain tumour” for the first time. Sandra was diagnosed with a Chordoma, a rare type of tumour that occurs at the base of the skull. “I was very fortunate and still feel very fortunate because the first operation was a success,” said Sandra.

Ashley

Ashley's Story for Advocacy

Ashley was newly married, working in a new job as an Accountant, and newly pregnant, when doctors became concerned that her morning sickness could be something more serious. Ashley shares her experience in this compelling video and explains why she is now determined to take her life back and to advocate for brain cancer.

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Featured Story

Janet and Adam's Story: Beating the odds to share another birthday together

Turning the same age, on the same day as my husband, never gets old. They call us, Astro-Twins. According to many different sources, the odds were low that it would have lasted. His Auntie May discouraged it from the start saying, “You are both Sagittarians and should NOT be together.” My daughter Isobel did a quick calculation. Fun fact. In a group of 100 people there is a 2.8% chance of two people having the same birthday.

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Spotlight

Lawrence's Story: Be happy, live happy

Lawrence, a successful businessman, is not one to take a decline in memory lightly. Lawrence was in Winnipeg, at home on leave from his...

Learn more

Alicia's Story: You gotta laugh every day

It’s hard to capture an infectious giggle in words, but that’s exactly what you get when you speak to Alicia. Alicia is now 20 years...

Learn more

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  • 07/Dec/2019: BrainWAVE BC 2019 Peter Pan: Vancouver, BC... Learn more >
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  • 10/Dec/2019: Groupe de soutien virtuel: Un groupe de soutien virtuel pour personnes touchées par une tumeur... Learn more >
  • 10/Dec/2019: Kitchener and Waterloo Support Group: Meets at Christ Lutheran Church, 445 Anndale Rd., Waterloo, ON... Learn more >
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