The Many Volunteer Faces of Spring Sprint

Spring Sprint  (now Brain Tumour Walkcould not happen without the dedication and determination of hundreds of volunteers from across the country. Each of these individuals are determined to improve the lives of those affected by a brain tumour. Their support for the Spring Sprint programs helps to ensure that funds are raised for brain tumour research and patient support and information prorgams. Below are profiles of just four of the people who helped make the 2011 Spring Sprint campaign a success. Thank you to everyone who took part; Together, we can Imagine a Cure!

Yaron Butterfield, Vancouver, B.C

After a diagnosis with Glioblastoma Multiforme in 2004, Yaron Butterfield began attending Spring Sprint  (now Brain Tumour Walk) to promote brain tumour awareness and fundraise for research. After a few years as a participant in the annual fundraiser, Yaron was asked to coordinate the 2008 event and has done so ever since. As the Vancouver Spring Sprint Coordinator, Yaron has had the opportunity to “meet new people and help organize a successful event for a great cause.”

Being both a brain tumour survivor and a researcher at the BC Cancer Agency in the Genome Science Centre, Yaron has been able to offer his expertise and skills at Spring Sprint. “It means a lot to me to help put together an event where others affected in some way by the brain tumour experience can get together, meet each other, and have fun,” says Yaron. He especially enjoys the energy of the crowd during the warm up prior to the walk/run and seeing everyone come back through the finish line.

When he’s not volunteering for Spring Sprint or working towards disease prevention and genomics research, Yaron loves to spend as much time as possible with his wife and three-year-old daughter. The natural beauty of British Columbia is a picturesque landscape for Yaron’s acrylic painting and an ideal place for his passion for ice hockey during the winter and spring seasons.

Yaron is looking forward to many future Spring Sprint events in the Vancouver community. “Being involved in an event such as the Spring Sprint, seeing the personalities, human spirit, and the energy of everyone is very inspiring.”

Marian Scully, Montreal, QC

Marian Scully is a proud supporter of fundraising events for great causes. While browsing for potential volunteer opportunities, Marian discovered the Montreal Spring Sprint Coordinator position and instantly knew that the job was for her. “I really liked the idea that the event was run by a volunteer and next thing you know, that volunteer was me.”

Always up for a new challenge, Marian has enjoyed the many great opportunities and experiences that being a Spring Sprint Coordinator offers. “I have learned all about Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and met many great people along the way. I am always drawn to volunteering and this definitely keeps me busy.”

With a group of enthusiastic volunteers and support from the previous year’s coordinator, Marian successfully organized Montreal’s Spring Sprint 2011. She is eager to continue her volunteer leadership role with Brain Tumour Foundation in the years to come. “I feel I can be even more help now that I have been through a Spring Sprint event; knowing how things work, meeting all the wonderful volunteers and participants, and the excitement for next year is already building.”

When she is not dedicating her time to planning fundraising events, she is usually playing outdoor games, spending time with friends and family, taking trips, or enjoying delicious meals. Marian is thrilled that she has found a volunteer position that incorporates both her love for event-planning and dedication to the non-profit sector. “Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada really supports their volunteers and welcomes you like a family would.” Thank you Marian!

Andrew Matthews, Halifax, NS

When Andrew Matthews' sister, Shelley, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007, he experienced feelings he was not used to grappling with. A sergeant with the Halifax Regional Police, he is dedicated to helping others and knowing how to improve situations. But in this case, he did not know what to do. “I’m not a brain surgeon or an oncologist and I’m not used to not being able to fix things,” he remembers.

So when he was first asked to volunteer as a member of the Halifax Spring Sprint committee in 2010, Andrew whole-heartedly took on the task. As part of his role, Andrew is working to raise awareness about brain tumours and the need for donations to support research and patient programs. He says Shelley was the catalyst for his involvement with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and he is thankful for the broader understanding he's gained of the disease and the many families it affects both directly and indirectly.

One standout moment was during the Halifax Spring Sprint last year. Andrew, distracted over his notes about keeping the event running on time, was approached by a young girl wearing a blue survivor t-shirt. “She said, ‘Thank you’ and gave me a big hug,” Andrew recalls. “It meant a lot to me and helped me open my eyes to the fact that the disease can impact anyone, at any age.”

In 2011, Andrew increased his work for Spring Sprint by taking on the role of Spring Sprint Coordinator in Halifax. Thanks to Andrew’s leadership, the event raised more than $104,000.

When not on duty with the Halifax Regional Police Department or volunteering for Spring Sprint, Andrew can be found spending time at his family cottage in Isaac’s Harbour, Nova Scotia with family and friends.

Thank you Andrew, for your dedication to helping brain tumour patients in Halifax and across Canada.

Heidi Bigl, Kitchener/Waterloo, ON

For Heidi Bigl, volunteering as the Coordinator for the Kitchener/Waterloo Spring Sprint was an opportunity to give back to the community. “I was looking for a more rewarding and fulfilling way to spend my time when I saw the need for a Coordinator,” she says. An active person engaged in a variety of fitness activities, the role in support of the 2011 Spring Sprint was a natural fit for her.

Heidi is thrilled about the wide range of people and members of the community that she has been able to meet as part of this role including a wide range of members of the community. And of course, meeting those who have been affected by a brain tumour has been a highlight of the role. Heidi explains, “The experience has been eye-opening and I am happy to be able to help provide an outlet for people to turn to through Spring Sprint.”

On the day of the Kitchener/Waterloo Spring Sprint, a speaker shared her personal story with the crowd, bringing the purpose of the day into focus, “Right then and there, I felt how important the organization’s efforts are and how important the volunteer work is.”

When asked about the role of the Volunteer Spring Sprint Coordinator, Heidi says, “The organization is a great place to volunteer. Getting to know those who have experienced the disease on a deeper and more intimate level is really fulfilling – I absolutely recommend volunteering at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as a rewarding opportunity.”


 Posted: July 2011

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