Brian's Story: A Volunteer of Distinction

Brian's Story: A Volunteer of Distinction

A father of two, Brian was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1999. Brian and his family were enjoying the warm August long weekend at the cottage. He was running around outside with his kids when he felt a tingling in his calf. While Brian had experienced the sensation many times before he thought it was the consequence of a high school football injury. Within seconds, the pain shot up to his arm and then he fell to the ground.

At the hospital, an MRI scan determined that he had a grand mal seizure brought about by a golf ball-sized, meningioma tumour in his brain. When giving the diagnosis, his surgeon was brief and forthright with the news. “I didn’t know what the words meant, but I had to trust his judgment,” says Brian recalling the feelings of shock and confusion that overwhelmed his family that day. Within two weeks, Brian was in the operating room to have his tumour removed.

Since this first surgery, Brian has faced two recurrences of his tumour. These diagnoses have led to a second surgery and a round of stereotactic radiation every day for six weeks. The impact of the tumours and the treatment on Brian and his family has been tough. “The last few years have been challenging,” says Brian. He can frequently become tired and he finds himself hesitant to take on physically strenuous tasks because he knows it may trigger pain. “It’s frustrating, to not be able to do some of the things I used to do. “

Rather than dwell on his personal limitations, however, Brian instead chooses to focus his energy on something worthwhile. “You can’t control things that happen to you but you can control your reaction to them,” he says. Today, Brian’s unwavering optimism continues to triumph over his illness and his compassionate nature continues to shine on everyone he meets.

It has been six years since Brian made the decision to become involved with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as a volunteer. His diverse skill set has albrain tumour survivor and volunteer of distinction award winner brianlowed for him to become involved in many different facets of the organization.

As a key member of the Toronto Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk)Committee, his touch can be found in many facets ranging from sponsorship to logistics. He has been heavily involved in the promotion of the event and shared his personal journey as the 2008 media story. 

As a long-time member of the Mississauga support group, Brian understands the value of the support that it provides all of those in attendance. When the opportunity presented itself to become the group’s facilitator, he did not hesitate to volunteer for the role. He truly excels in this role and has had a significant impact on those who attend the meetings.

As if this wasn’t enough, Brian has become a wonderful community ambassador for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. He understands the importance of raising awareness about brain tumours and does not away from sharing his personal story, if it means that he can reach other people in a similar situation and provide them with support. This plays a key role in his continued involvement with the Trillium Health Network where he represents Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada with awareness displays.

Brian is passionate about connecting with other patients and raising awareness. It is for all of these reasons that Brian was awarded a 2012 Volunteer of Distinction Award from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Brian is an outstanding advocate for our cause and for his support group. He deeply cares about the brain tumour community, and does all that he can to support it, through facilitating the support group, raising awareness about the disease and resources available and raising funds to support these resources and research into brain tumours.

Thank you Brian for all that you do to help the brain tumour community.

Story posted: November 2012

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