Finding the Good in Each Day

Finding the Good in Each Day

Summer 2010 marked the start of an unexpected journey for the tight-knit MacDougall family. It was then the family came together to support their father, Bill, and their mother Marg, following Bill’s diagnosis with a brain tumour.

For several months leading up to that summer, Bill had been feeling increasingly tired. He was sleeping more than he had ever before – something that alarmed Marg and their four children, Scott, Brad, Keith and Mary. “He just seemed so different,” remembers Scott. “My dad was an entrepreneur and always on the go before. It was a big change to see him less engaged, sitting on the couch more.”

A doctor’s visit pursued by Marg brought the more serious nature of Bill’s symptoms to the forefront. They were going to find out what was wrong. It was a struggle at first to come to a diagnosis as several conditions were explored as the possible cause of Bill’s health changes. A CT scan was performed but it came back with inconclusive results. After that came an MRI that revealed a mass on Bill’s brain, and then there was a biopsy. Following these tests, the family finally received a definite diagnosis. Bill had central nervous system lymphoma, an invasive form of brain cancer.

After a journey that took Bill through whole-brain radiation and aggressive chemotherapy, in January 2013, almost three years since the diagnosis, Bill passed away.

Together, the MacDougalls support one another to find the good in each day. By leaning on each other, the family finds strength during this difficult time. The MacDougalls also find strength by contributing to the brain tumour community as volunteers and donors, with Marg and Bill having chosen to support the Kelly Society with long-term gifts. As daughter Mary explains, “It’s important to fund research as more is needed to find better treatment options.” “It’s a way to feel as though our dad’s struggle wasn’t in vain,” adds Brad.

Looking back at the challenges of having a parent battle a brain tumour, Scott sees things as positive as possible, having cherished each moment he and his family had with Bill. “I thought I had another 20 years with this man – I had to make a point to enjoy every minute I got to spend with him. That’s how we made it through each and every day since that summer.”


Thank you to the MacDougall family for sharing your story of the journey with a brain tumour - and special thank you for the gift made through the Kelly Society.

Kelly NortheyKelly Society members lead by example, making a significant contribution to support brain tumour patients and research through a multi-year pledge. Membership is exclusive to individuals who commit to a minimum $500 annual gift for three years. This unique group of donors is named for Kelly Northey, the little girl who inspired the creation of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in 1982.  

For more information on becoming a Kelly Society member, please contact: Suzanne Fratschko Elliott, at 1-800-265-5106 ext. 227 or

Story posted: March 2013

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