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Personal & Inspiring Stories

By clicking on 'View Summary' under each resource, you will find a summary, the ISBN and publisher’s name which will help you if you wish to purchase or reserve a copy at your local library.

The Last Lecture

Author: Randy Pausch
ISBN #: 978-1-4013-2325-7
Publisher:  Hyperion

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Summary:
“A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”—wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.”

Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life

Author: David Servan-Schreiber (M.D., Ph.D.)
ISBN #: 978-1-55468-221-8
Publisher: Collins

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Summary:
“Anticancer is the culmination of Servan-Schreiber’s experience in the field of cancer, as a doctor and as a patient. It is the personal story, the story of the cases he has encountered, and the medical and scientific story of the disease and its mechanisms”

Looking Good was Never my Problem

Steps for Living with Metastatic Cancers or Other Chronic Illnesses
Author:  Ellen M. Stahl
ISBN #: 1-4208-3445-2
Publisher:  Author House

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Summary:
“In this book, Ellen shares her personal insights on living with her cancer, which is now more like a chronic illness. She offers simple steps to owning your illness, healing yourself, and living your life. Her practical advice combined with spiritual insights may be just what you need to live with your chronic illness.” 

Living and Dying with Dignity

A Daughter’s Journey Through Long-Term Care
Author:  Jennifer A. Jilks
ISBN #: 978-1-897508-11-4
Publisher: GSPH

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Summary:
“Anyone who has aging parents will benefit from reading this account of the final stages of life. In the second half of the book, Jilks provides invaluable information on long-term care, networking with the medical community, the problems around caregiving, the signs of dementia, the dangers of polypharmacy, and much more”

Reflections from Bob

Author:  Robert (Bob) Aldersley
ISBN #: 978-1-897412-14-5
Publisher:  TriMatrix 

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Summary:
“I was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer in May 2004. These are reflections written by me over the last two years. I hope they will inspire you in reading them, as much as they did me in writing them.”

Death Can Wait: Stories from Survivors

Author:  Frank Hegyi, Roslyn Franken, Jacquelin Holzman, Max Keeping,
ISBN #: 978-1-897449-57-8
Publisher: Baico Publishing

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I Had Brain Surgery, What’s Your Excuse: An Illustrated Memoir

Author:  Suzy Becker
ISBN #: 0-7611-2478-0
Publisher:  Workman Publishing

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Summary:
“Suzy Becker’s I Had Brain Surgery, What’s Your Excuse? Is an irreverent, inspiring story of an artist overcoming a terrifying medical condition and reclaiming her funny bone. Illustrated with nearly 400 cartoons, charts, silly graphs, and an alter-ego super heroine named Augusta.”

Navigating Through A Strange Land

A Book for Brain Tumour Patients and Their Families; The Personal Stories of Patients, Families, and Health Care Providers, Resources for Treatment, Recovery and Support
Author:  Tricia Ann Roloff (Ed.)
ISBN #: 0-9641214-1-7
Publisher: Indigo Press

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Summary:
“Brian tumours are unique because, unlike other cancers, they can affect the centers that control your thoughts, your emotions, and every aspect of your life, so you and your loved ones can learn of options, resources, assistance, and possible outcomes.”

You Never Know: A Memoir

Author:  Romy Shiller, Ph.D.
ISBN #: 142513691-5
Publisher:  Trafford Publishing

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Summary:
“Romy Shiller, a medical mystery, not only tells the story of her brain surgery, lengthy coma and Akinetic Mutism but she muses about reality, death, time, popular culture, psychic phenomena and dreams. Romy Shiller applies her previous interest and scholarly work on the body to her new physical reality. Her positive attitude and unique philosophy are truly inspirational.”

The Ride of My Life

Author: Gerry Pencer
ISBN #: 1-55263-118-4
Publisher:  Key Porter Books

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Summary:
“In the Ride of My Life, he examines, with humour, insight and an unfailing honesty, his life as one of Canada’s most successful businessmen. He also talks candidly about his commitment to his family and his struggle with cancer.”

How Linda Died

Author: Frank Davey
ISBN #: 1-55022-497-2
Publisher:  ECW Press

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Summary:
“How Linda Died is Frank Davey’s powerful account of his wife’s decline and death from a brain tumour. What makes this book so special is the life-defining contrasts it records, often in a single breath. At once a shattering portrayal of one woman’s death and an obsessive record of one man’s self-interrogation amidst a welter of conflicting emotions.”

That’s Unacceptable

Surviving a Brain Tumour, My Personal Story
Author: Rebecca L. Libutti
ISBN #: N/A
Publisher: Krystal Publishing

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No Such Thing as a Bad Day: A Memoir

Author:  Hamilton Jordan
ISBN #: 1-56352-578-X
Publisher: Longstreet Press

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Summary:
“No Such Thing as a Bad Day weaves together Jordan’s reflections on his remarkable life rubbing elbows with history and his inspirational story of beating cancer. […]A startling first-hand account of recent American history and an inspirational guide for millions of cancer sufferers, this is an unforgettable read.”

Mainstay for the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill

A Moving Personal Account and A Companion Guide
Author:  Maggie Strong
ISBN #: 0-14-011978-7 
Publisher:  Penguin Books

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Summary:
“Mainstay isn’t a book about dying; it’s about living with a chronically ill spouse. In the ten years since her husband was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis, Maggie Strong has had to raise her family, manage her house and family finances, maintain her career, and safeguard her own emotional and physical needs”

The Faces of Brain Tumours

A Collection of Photographs and Stories by and about Brain Tumour Patients, Survivors, Families and Loved Ones

Year:
2005
Author: North American Brain Tumour Coalition
ISBN #: N/A
Publisher: North American Brain Tumour Coalition

Year: 2004
Author: North American Brain Tumour Coalition
ISBN #: N/A
Publisher: North American Brain Tumour Coalition

Year: 2003
Author: North American Brain Tumour Coalition
ISBN #: N/A
Publisher: North American Brain Tumour Coalition

 

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My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

Author: Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D
ISBN #: 978-0-670-02074-4
Publisher: Viking

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Summary:
I was, by anyone’s standard, no longer normal.  In my own unique way, I had become severely mentally ill.  And I must say, there was both freedom and challenge for me in recognizing that our perception of the external world, and or relationship to it, is a product of our neurological circuitry.  For all those years of my life.  I really had been a figment of my own imagination!

Reversal: When a Therapist becomes a Patient

Author:  Eric Anthony Galvez DPT CSCS and Friends
ISBN #: 978-1-4502-2428-4
Publisher: iUniverse

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Summary:
4 years of college.  31/2 years of grad school.  A 5-minute phone call from a doctor changed everything.  Eric was finally done with school and had everything going for him.  Young people aren’t supposed to get tumours, but he did:  A golf ball-sized brain tumour between the brain stem and the cerebellum.  Reversal:  When a Therapist Becomes a Patient is a complication of journal and personal blog entries by a single, young, active male physical therapist that was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  It chronicles his experiences when the tables were turned and he became a patient to the people he used to work with.  Follow his unique journey from the shocking diagnosis, the weeks before the surgery, the mysterious Radiation therapy, the lengthy rehab process, the struggles to find a new path in life, to his triumphant return to “normalcy”!  Essays are included from family and friends that describe their personal experiences with having a loved one face these monumental challenges

A Year of Living Generously

Author:  Lawrence Scanlan
ISBN #: 978-1-55365-416-2
Publisher:  Douglas & McIntyre

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Summary:
A Year of Living Generously follows Lawrence Scanlan as he volunteers with twelve different charities, one for every month of the year.  As he rolls up his sleeves both close to home (a soup kitchen, a hospice drop-in, a First Nations high school) and far afield (building houses in the parishes of New Orleans, teaching journalism at a women’s radio station in Senegal, working in an HIV/AIDS shelter in Costa Rica), he gathers stores and insights while striving to answer big questions:  How do we bridge the ever widening gap between rich and poor?  In the face of human suffering, what-if anything- is our obligation?  The result is a personal and powerful exploration of generosity by one of Canada’s finest journalists.

Three Quotes from a Plumber

Author: Sally White
ISBN #: 987-0-8557-2395-8
Publisher: Michelle Anderson Publishing

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Summary:
How a Second Opinion Changed the Life of a Woman with a Brain Tumour is the inspiring story of Sally White, wife and mother of two boys. The story explores the challenges with the medical profession and alternative therapies, and details the way she managed a lift threatening illness in the contest of family life with courage and the unwavering support of those around her.  After twelve months of repeated MRI scans and unenviable waiting, Sally decided it was time to make something happen

Life’s Mountains

Author:  Cheryl L. Broyles
ISBN #: 978-1-4363-3795-3
Publisher:  Xbrilis Corp

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Summary:
Life’s Mountains climbs with Cheryl Broyles to the summit of California’s Mount Shasta and through the trial of “terminal” brain cancer.  Told she had only a year to live, Cheryl did everything she could to stay alive.  Four years later, still breathing, she and her husband Matt planned to climb Mount Shasta to celebrate her survivorship. 

How to Ride a Dragon

Women with Breast Cancer Tell Their Stories
Author:  Michelle Tocher
ISBN #: 978-1-55263-397-7
Publisher: N/A

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Summary:
“How to Ride a Dragon is a beautifully crafted tapestry of mythology, fantasy, narative and first-hand human experience that tells the stories of 22 women, their families and friends, and their epic struggle coming to terms with cancer.”

Brain Surgeon

A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles
Author:  Keith Black, M.D.
ISBN #: 978-0-446-58109-7
Publisher: Arnold Mann

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Summary:
“World-renowned neruo-surgeon Keith Black, M.D., invites readers to shadow his breathtaking journeys into the brain as he battles some of the deadliest and most feared tumours known to medical science. Along the way, he shares his unique insights about the inner workings of the brain, his unwavering optimism for the future of medicine, and the extraordinary stories of his patients.”

Love, Medicine & Miracles

Lessons Learned About Self-Healing From a Surgeon's Experience With Exceptional Patients
Author: Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
ISBN #: 0-06-015496-9
Publisher: N/A

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Summary:
“Unconditional love is the most powerful stimulant of the immune system. The truth is: love heals. Miracles do happen to exceptional patients every day - patients who have the courage to love, those who have the courage to work with their doctors to participate in and influence their own recovery.”

Oh! Canada

Author: Nicole Schoueri Abouhalka
ISBN: 978-9782477-0-66
Publisher: N/A

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Summary:
"This collection and anecdotes, reflections and short fiction is the result of observations and experiences by a brain tumour survivor."

Day by Day

Author: Melissa Nichols
ISBN #: 978-0-9936891-0-9

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Summary:
“’I had a real taste of what it is like to be a patient. My experiences as a student of healthcare, working in long-term care homes, taking care of a couple of loved ones who were sick and volunteering for a hospice all gave me insight. But I had always been as healthy as healthy can be; I was not on any maintenance medications and never took painkillers for even a headache, which I seldom if ever got. I had no disorders, diseases, infections, allergies, or even sensitivities. As a result of living the city life, I walked virtually everywhere I went. Then, in the blink of an eye, I was lying in a hospital bed with a few hours until surgeons would remove a brain tumor. The tables have turned; I was now the patient for the first time.’"

Cranium Crisis: My Compelling Story of Mind Over Matter

Author: Angela Freriks
ISBN #: 978-1770697195

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Summary:
Leaving a small Saskatchewan community, Angela Freriks left her comfort zone of friends and family and moved to the city, embarking on a new endeavour with her new husband. Shortly after, her life took an unexpected twist when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumour, forcing her to face the most challenging battle of her life. Using humour to cope with the pain and uncertainty of her situation, Angela takes the reader on a journey along her winding road from diagnosis to recovery. Join her as she faces her Cranium Crisis. About the author: Angela Freriks is a first-time author. Born and raised in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, she now resides with her husband in Saskatoon, where she operates her own maid service.

Margie’s Gentle Journey: A Qualicare Story

Author: Andrea Nathanson
ISBN #: 978-0987776303

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Summary:
Margie's Gentle Journey chronicles an exceptional confrontation with mortality. Unfolding step by step, from diagnosis to final days, this uplifting book describes a woman's remarkable end of life story, aided by the nurse who became her confidant, advocate and friend. The story shows how a vibrant spirit can cope with the knowledge that death is hurtling closer. It also demonstrates how a courageous nurse helped orchestrate Margie's passage from this world, while also learning so much from her patient. Together, they were able to transform a traumatic process into a beautiful and freeing experience.

Crazy Sexy Cancer: An Inspirational Story About Transformation in the Face of Adversity (DVD)

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Summary:
“Diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer, 31 year-old actress/photographer Kris Carr exits her career and dives head-first into an epic journey, becoming a ‘full-time healing junkie.’ What follows is a four year adventure of mind, body and heart as Kris explores a colorful variety of treatments, both east and west. Along the way she meets four other survivors, her posse of soul-sisters, who refuse to be defined by the bic ‘C.’ Hip and humorous, intimate and empowering, this cutting-edge documentary shatters old stigmas with a force of spirit, redefining what it means to truly live – not just for those struggling with cancer, but for anyone who needs a personal revolution.”

Like a Hole in the Head

Author: Ivan Noble
ISBN #: 978-0340864289

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Summary:
In August 2002, Ivan Noble’s life was turned upside down. A science journalist working for BBC News website in London, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. Faced with a desperately hard battle against cancer, Ivan decided he would like to share his experiences with readers of the BBC News website. He hoped it could help demystify a disease that touches so many lives, and would allow people across the world to discuss the disease and share their experiences. From then, Ivan wrote a regular, deeply moving diary outlining his battle against the tumour. He endured two major brain operations, chemotherapy and various experimental treatments in his extraordinary fight for survival. He also married his German born girlfriend and they celebrated the birth of their second child. Throughout the two years, the diary received thousands of e-mails from people around the world. Many of them are published in this book. It is impossible to read them without being deeply moved - messages of support to Ivan, people's experiences, stories of hope. One of the most remarkable aspects of the regular diary has been this amazing coming together of so many people around the world.

Surviving & Thriving: A Brain Tumour Survivor’s Story

Author: Tim B. Ward
ISBN #: 978-1432753641

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Summary:
Tim B. Ward's book takes you through his story of being diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of twenty-six. Very real details of his story are presented of near death experiences through treatments and recovery. He must deal with the aftermath of gaining a new diagnosis of partial epilepsy. Tim struggles emotionally as well, questioning faith, and facing constant bitterness and anger. However, ultimately he discovers the gifts that come from an experience like this. He gains purpose and a want for an abundant life. This survival story will inspire anyone facing obstacles in their life.

My Sister’s Journey: From Headache to Heartache

Author: Barb Parker
ISBN #: 978-1554524952

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Summary:
Deb Morin was a loving mother and wife. At the age of forty-nine, her life was changed completely by a brain aneurysm and stroke. Deb's husband, parents and family felt helpless in their attempt to help bring back the real Deb. Deb was blessed with many miraculous healings from God during her illness. She was always proud to tell people about God's love. She never lost her faith. Her last days were spent singing hymns, praising God and talking about all the ways that God had healed her. "What a beautiful tribute to your precious sister. The journal kept my interest all the way through. I especially liked how you brought her to the reader by describing her home and her decorating skills, her love for nice things, clothes etc. I found this let me know Deb as a real person since I had not met her: a wonderful way for your family and others to remember who she was as a sister." -Betty Russell Author Barb Parker and her husband, Larry, live on Grand Manan Island, N.B. Barb felt compelled to write My Sister's Journey to fulfill her sister's dream. It was Deb's dream to write her story about her illness and journey from the daily journal that her sister kept for her. Deb was sure it would help someone. Deb's unpredictable comments and escapades add flavour to her story

From Surviving to Thriving – In Words and Images (e-book)

Author: Ingrid Exner
ISBN #: 978-0-9919519-0-1

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Summary:
Drawing from her experience as a brain tumour survivor, person living well with chronic illness, and her experience in social work and professional writing, Ingrid Exner weaves together a survival guide of helpful health and lifestyle tips to empower those with pre-existing health conditions as well as those interested in increasing their overall health and well being. Her beautiful photography accompanies each tip, enhancing both the meaning and the aesthetic value of this book. (Kindle edition: B00ILY96SY)

Day by Day

Author: Melissa Nichols
ISBN: 978-0-9936891-0-9

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Summary:
’I had a real taste of what it is like to be a patient. My experiences as a student of healthcare, working in long-term care homes, taking care of a couple of loved ones who were sick and volunteering for a hospice all gave me insight. But I had always been as healthy as healthy can be; I was not on any maintenance medications and never took painkillers for even a headache, which I seldom if ever got. I had no disorders, diseases, infections, allergies, or even sensitivities. As a result of living the city life, I walked virtually everywhere I went. Then, in the blink of an eye, I was lying in a hospital bed with a few hours until surgeons would remove a brain tumor. The tables have turned; I was now the patient for the first time.

Two Steps Forward: Embracing life with a brain tumor

Author: Claire Snyman 
ISBN-13: 978-0994759610
ISBN-10: 0994759614

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Summary:
Friday morning, 14 May 2010, Claire Snyman opens her eyes to find the room spinning around her, the light fixture dancing above. Then she develops her first migraine ever. What is this all about? She must be overdoing it at work.   But it’s not too much work: it’s a benign brain tumor. The diagnosis completely blindsides 34-year-old Claire and her family. Together they face the new reality of her condition while trying to navigate conflicting medical advice and cope with her new onset of symptoms.   In Two Steps Forward, Claire documents her personal awakening as she learns to be her body’s own advocate through the often-harrowing journey of life with a brain tumor, her misdiagnosis and the brain surgery and recovery that followed. This inspirational story of a woman, mother and wife is told with honesty, clarity and revelation.   Two Steps Forward is a compelling book for readers walking a similar path, but also for those facing a life-changing situation or for anyone looking for a positive and inspiring story.   Join Claire as she walks the path that changed her life and perspective forever.

A Brain Tumour's Travel Tale

Author: Claire Bullimore
Co-Author: Amanda Thomas
ISBN10: 9781291093452
ISBN13: 9781291093452

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Summary:
In 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour when I was 25.. I keep a diary that I have now turned into this book.  It is not always easy for a person from the outside to see what is really happening to someone affected by a traumatic experience as such as this. The book shows my true emotions and hardships of a brain tumour, surgery, recovery and then the scars inside and out.    There is love, friendship and courage - you will cry, laugh, find things you didn’t know before. This book can help families and friends or other outsiders to see what a brain tumour survivor really wants you to know.

Brain Tumours Living Low Grade

Author: Gideon Burrows
ISBN: 9780955369575

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Summary:
Gideon Burrows was diagnosed with an incurable inoperable low grade glioma brain tumour aged 35. He is a writer, small business owner and involved father. He lives close to the sea in Essex, owns five bicycles and grows 13 varieties of chillies.  

Two Mothers, One Prayer

Author: Laura Lane & Laurie Nersten
ISBN: 978-0987696724
 

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Do You Get It?

A Journey of a New Mom with Brain Cancer
Author: Lin-Pei De Souza
ISBN #: 978-1-4866-1412-7
Publisher:  Word Alive Press

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Summary:
Any expectant parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle can attest to the joy and excitement of first learning that a new arrival will soon be in their lives. But what happens when this excitement does a 180-degree turn a month before the baby’s due date? In Do You Get It?, a new mother and cancer survivor, Lin-Pei, shares her personal roller-coaster journey of healing and self-awareness. See how physical, spiritual, mental, social and psychological factors turn an unforeseen misfortune of dealing with a preterm baby and a terminal cancer diagnosis into a rewarding life worth living. This book offers a unique insight to those who have faced or know someone who is facing life-changing encounters, providing perspective and appreciation of the shock, struggle and pain of having multiple adverse events occur together. 

Letters to Brian

Author: Martha Brooks
ISBN: 978-0-88801-521-1
Publisher: Turnstone Press 

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Summary:
In daily love letters written to her husband and soul companion, Brian, over the year following his death from brain cancer, critically acclaimed author, playwright, and jazz singer Martha Brooks leads us on a journey through grief that is both deeply personal and undeniably universal. By turns funny, shattering, and uplifting, Brooks wrestles with the crucial question of how to continue a lifelong romance once your lover is gone. The answer seems to come from Brian himself, leaving timely clues and orchestrating surprising synchronicities of healing through family, friends, and complete strangers. Through her "Letters to Brian", Brooks learns not to overcome her grief but to live with loss. And she comes to realize that we are never truly alone.

Featured Story

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.

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Spotlight

Catarina's Story: Crush Cushing’s

Brain Tumour Walk events bring people together. People like Catarina and Danielle, both survivors of pituitary tumours that caused...

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Where our footsteps lead...

We remain inspired by the bravery and perseverance of the brain tumour community, including kids like 6-year-old Joshua, who completed...

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Upcoming Events

  • 26/Sep/2017: Groupe de soutien virtuel: Un groupe de soutien virtuel pour personnes touchées par une tumeur... Learn more >
  • 27/Sep/2017: Toronto Support Group: Meets at Wellspring Westerkirk House at Sunnybrook, Toronto, ON... Learn more >
  • 27/Sep/2017: Ottawa Support Group: Meets at the Maplesoft Centre at 1500 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON.... Learn more >
  • 28/Sep/2017: Virtual Support Group East: Virtual Support Group for Eastern Canada... Learn more >
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