Dedicated Volunteer is an Inspiring Survivor

Doug Bowden: the epitome of a dedicated volunteer, fundraiser and helping hand

The Kitchener-Waterloo brain tumour community has a gem in its midst with the dedication and inspiration regularly offered by Doug Bowden. Doug is a brain tumour survivor himself, overcoming the disease in February 2000.

Today Doug is an integral support outlet for many families and children affected by a brain tumour and he also gives his time raising funds for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This past October, Doug heartily embraced Brain Tumour Awareness Month by coordinating the set-up of displays in grocery stores across the Kitchener-Waterloo region every Saturday of October. Doug notes that many other volunteers supported this effort. At these displays he sold the ‘Totes for a Toonie’, awareness ribbons and shared information about brain tumours and the organization. This incredible effort raised $3,160 which will be directed to support, information, education and research.

“Seeing people of diverse circumstances come to support groups, and teaching people affected by the disease, is what I find rewarding and I now feel that my brain tumour was a blessing,” says Doug. “I’ve seen wonderful changes in people throughout my time at support groups, and I find happiness in seeing people overcome a brain tumour.”

Doug consistently engages with the cause by meeting people, teaching youth how to interact with strangers while they gain community service hours at his awareness table and by garnering local support for the Kitchener-Waterloo brain tumour community. He often visits newly diagnosed brain tumour patients in hospital, with brain tumour reading material in hand. He finds people need to know they are not alone, and takes great pride in offering a helping hand to those in need.

When asked about what keeps him involved after all of these years, he tells the story of a particular brain tumour survivor; a young police officer who has finished treatment and was planning to return to work in January 2011. Supporting brain tumour patients and their families like this young man never fails to evoke Doug’s commitment and passion.

Another way that Doug stays motivated is remembering the startlingly and eye-opening fact that brain tumours have surpassed Leukemia as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children. With ten years of dedication to the Kitchener-Waterloo brain tumour community, including the local support group, Doug has become an integral part of many lives.

Story posted March 2011. Since this story was posted, Brain Tumour Awareness Month has moved to May.
 


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I am Doug, I have brain cancer; I am told it is terminal, but the “good” kind of terminal. I can assure you that receiving that news was not as good as I think the people telling me thought it would be. But I choose never to define myself with negatives or problems so I will begin again; Hi, my name is Doug, a current defending two-time world rowing champion. That sounds better. Here is just a small summary of my adventure last year.

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