White Rock Volunteer Shares Information to Help Others

White Rock Volunteer Shares Information to Help Others

It was an old mailing left on a coffee shop table that caught the attention of Kathy Thornton. At the time, she was a six-year survivor and the words ‘brain tumour’ immediately jumped out from the page. It was a flyer for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Vancouver Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) and she eagerly called the office to learn more. Days later she acquired a copy of the Patient Resource Handbook — a comprehensive guide that Kathy wished she had years earlier. "If I had this resource when I was diagnosed, I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive," she explains. "It answers all of your questions and also gives you an idea of how severe it is because that’s something everyone wants to know."

After being diagnosed, Kathy admits she didn’t talk about her brain tumour often. It wasn’t until she discovered the information and services provided by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada that she had a realization: "If I can let people know this support exists by going public with my story, then that’s just what I’ll do." An article was published in Kathy’s local newspaper detailing her personal journey with a brain tumour. "Just knowing about the organization would have helped me so much. I want to use my experiences for a greater good," she adds warmly.

Kathy believes that it is important for individuals to receive the Patient Resource Handbook — in either Adult or Pediatric version — upon diagnosis. "It provides all of the advice you need during that difficult time. The content is written in layman’s terms and it teaches you how to talk to children, how to tell family and friends and most importantly, how you should react to the situation, so you don’t become overly upset or excited," she says, recounting the feelings of shock that overcame her when she first heard the news. "It’s so easy to understand and it simplifies any challenge you may be facing."

On top of being an advocate for the Patient Resource Handbook, Kathy has also been involved in the development of the BrainWAVE Lower Mainland program. Her work in promoting and planning the first event held in October 2009 was invaluable.

With a strong desire to reach out to others, particularly parents with children affected by a brain tumour, Kathy has used her positive outlook to enrich the lives of others in her community. "I feel so fortunate to have survived this and I enjoy every day as it comes. I help as much as I can and I do it from my heart."

Photo: Kathy Thornton Photo by: Brian Giebelhaus

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