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The Hats Tribute is a collection of personal stories by those affected by a brain tumour

Laberge, Sarah

Laberge, Sarah

Laberge, Sarah

 

I was eight years old when I had my first seizure. It was December 31st, 2001; I had a headache and felt very tired. A few days later I had another seizure so my mom took me to the Emergency Room. I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was fortunate, the seizures where absence and only lasted a few seconds. Having epilepsy never stopped me from doing what I loved. I still played soccer, even if I would have a seizure on the field (which happened a few times), and I still played with friends-I tried to make my life as normal as possible even though the medications made me very tired, and I napped a lot on weekends. And as a kid, who wants to do that? Over the next two years the seizures were getting worse, lasting longer and becoming more frequent. To be honest, I never liked having seizures, and I didn’t like caesar salads because I thought they were called seizure salads! I had an MRI at the end of January 2003 which showed I had brain tumour in my left temporal lobe.  I was ten years old. When my parents told me I had a brain tumour I was actually excited, not that I knew what a brain tumour was, I was just excited that this could mean putting an end to having seizures. About a week later I had surgery which lasted 16 hours (my poor parents)! The neurosurgeon was able to remove the tumour, and I was out of the hospital six days later. The scar looks like a huge question mark! The tumour was a benign ganglioglioma, and I am very fortunate that I did not have to go through any chemotherapy or radiation. I was back at school two weeks later doing half days for a week. I think the worse part of the surgery was not being able to participate in gym class or do any physical sports, all the activities I love.  Since the tumour was located in the area of learning, writing, speaking, and reading school has not always been the easiest. I have spent many hours with tutors, a speech language therapist, and having neuropsychology testing at the hospital. My parents were always there for me during the hard times. I never cried or got upset with the surgery, however, now that I am older I have realized the effects having epilepsy or a brain tumour can have on one’s life.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
When I was in grade nine I wanted to give back to the Foundation, so my mom and I joined the BrainWave committee in London. We have been on the committee ever since and I thoroughly enjoy both planning and attending the events with the committee. It’s amazing to see the families interact and the children having fun! Apart from the committee I have been honoured to speak at Brain Tumour Info Days, golf tournaments and fundraisers. I think it’s important to give back to the people who have helped you through life.                                            
Currently I am heading into my second year at the University of Waterloo (Renison University College), with a major in Social Development Studies and minor in Families and Marriage Studies. I hope one day to be a counsellor for children and teens who have gone through a major surgery.  I chose to donate this hat on behalf of the company my dad works for, thank you SelectPath for supporting the London Spring Sprint every year! My outlook on life so far has been great; I have been a survivor for 8 ½ years, and seizure free! Life is sometimes seemingly unfair, but these challenges bring new friends, opportunities and make us stronger. Remember to be positive and never be afraid to ask for support!
 

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