Blogging, Volunteering Motivates Brain Tumour Survivor

In the fall of 2008, Sarah Ramsden was busy adjusting to married life after a July wedding and the changes brought on by a new job and home after a move to Toronto from Alberta. Then the Christmas honeymoon trip to Paris, France was delayed when the subtle symptoms she had been experiencing were diagnosed as a Meningioma brain tumour. Today, Sarah is back at work as a Freelance Art Director and is a passionate volunteer raising awareness and funds for brain tumour research in Canada.

After visiting a walk-in clinic to have her symptoms checked out, Sarah quickly found herself scheduled for a brain scan and then brain surgery. Having never been admitted to a hospital before, she was scared about the prospect of such an invasive procedure – never expecting that the procedure was a bit ‘routine’ for the hospital staff. “It went really well and they got everything out. They wanted to let me out after a day and half!” she notes.

One way Sarah coped with the diagnosis was journaling on a blog so that family members and others with a meningioma and serious illnesses could follow her progress. In one entry she mused about how some readers described her relentless energy and enthusiasm for life as ‘hardcore’. Sarah wrote, “You don’t know what hardcore means. Hardcore is having a head full of staples, throwing on a hat and taking the dog out for a walk in the snow.”

Brain tumour research, information, education and support is supported by funds raised through the annual Spring Sprint walk-a-thon program  (now Brain Tumour Walk) run by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This April, in support of these efforts, Sarah will attend the Toronto Spring Sprint with hundreds of Torontonians affected by a brain tumour. Because of her success with her blog MeMyselfMeningioma, Sarah is also supporting this important effort by volunteering to promote the online element of the Spring Sprint campaign.

Today Sarah has returned to work, is back to her fitness regime, and volunteering her time in the community. One lasting effect from her surgery is a complete loss of her sense of smell. “I rely on my memory of food tastes – texture and colour are everything.”

For Sarah, the journey with a brain tumour has been one of education and hope. “I only have to go for a check-up every two years now. I go to spinning classes. I work out five times a week. I’m the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been.” Spring Sprint is working to help more of those affected by a brain tumour to have this outcome.


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 Story posted: April 2011

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