Lori & Stephen Wilson

Lori & Stephen Wilson

Volunteer Profile

Calgary Survivor Focuses on Advocating Patient Health

Some experiences change people’s lives dramatically into unexpected directions. For Lori Wilson and her husband, Stephen, of Calgary, AB, their life-altering moment came when Lori was diagnosed with two brain tumours in June 2001. Since that time, they have learned more about the disease, and have become determined patient advocates – volunteering their time to support other patients, and help raise overall brain tumour awareness.

Lori and Stephen have a wide variety of interests, including reading, photography, golf and hockey. Busy does not begin to describe their schedules. Along with volunteering with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Lori works two jobs: one as a registered nurse in an oral surgeon’s office and one at the local grocery store. Stephen owns his own company that specializes in landscape consulting and golf course design.

Lori’s brain tumour journey began surprisingly early in her life when her father coincidentally became ill from a brain tumour and unfortunately passed away when she was 10-years-old. It was an experience that would affect her in many unexpected ways. In a strange twist of fate, Lori’s step-father would also be diagnosed six months after her own diagnosis; he told her she inspired him to fight his own battle with the disease.

Although Lori herself was officially diagnosed with two brain tumours on June 16, 2001, it was really the culmination of two years of misdiagnoses. Fairly common when trying to identify brain tumours, physicians perceived Lori’s condition as only a series of migraine headaches. But both Lori and Stephen were persistent with doctors and eventually received the correct diagnosis. Thankfully, her tumours were not malignant; however, they were causing enormous pressure on her brain. After a lengthy time to discover the tumour as the true cause of her ailments, Lori’s journey accelerated immediately.

While Lori and Stephen were very relieved to finally identify the cause of her condition, they were anxious to begin receiving the treatment needed in order to save her life. They did not have to wait long. The next day, on June 17, 2001, she had surgery to remove the larger of her two brain tumours. In Lori’s circumstance, she did not require any chemo therapy or radiation. The day following surgery, Lori said that she felt so much better that she was ready to go home. And so, on June 21, 2001, Lori was discharged from the hospital. Now eight years later, the tumour has recently started to grow back, but Lori and Stephen remain positive that she can beat it.

Lori has not let having a brain tumour slow her down. The experience motivated her to return to school to obtain her bachelor’s degree, and become a registered nurse where she graduated with great distinction. "Once you go through what we went through," Lori explains, "you re-evaluate what is important to you and how you want to live your life. Then you go for it."

The couple has also been involved with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for many years. They regularly attend support groups and have been involved with Information Days; Lori was a guest speaker in 2007. Lori and Stephen are part of the Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) Committee for their community and her current focus is working on a vanity license plate design as a fundraiser for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

As a patient, nurse and volunteer, Lori’s best advice to those affected by a brain tumour is to be an advocate for your own health: "You know your body better than anyone. If you feel that something is wrong, then you have to be persistent about your health."

Thank you, Lori and Stephen for sharing your story and for your continued support to assist families with a brain tumour.

If you are interested in donating your time and talent, please contact:

Jennifer McIntosh
Volunteer Services Specialist
1-800-265-5106, ext. 231

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