Emily and Andy: A Cause Bigger Than Himself

For one Winnipeg couple, the reality of an inoperable Oligodendroglioma brain tumour has been a part of their relationship since the day they met in July, 2011. Andy* was diagnosed when he was 25 years old, six months before meeting Emily, the love of his life.

She says, “He told me on our first date, so it was never a shock, and I went into the relationship knowing full well he may only have a few years to live. It drew us incredibly close, not through haste but through a sense of urgency – to live this life together and make the most of every second we’re given.”

Since that time, they have worked hard to enjoy every moment together. They’ll travel hours to see their favourite band or just to lie under the stars and marvel at the world. They brainstorm stories and write books together, they write love letters and craft matching bracelets to wear. “I’ve been blessed with a fairytale of a relationship,” Emily says.

But then reality kicks in and there are the challenges. The cancer is inoperable and Andy’s treatment is limited to medications. He struggles both to have them paid for and to pay other bills as well: all this while living with both the daily symptoms of his condition and side effects from the medication, which lately has resulted in him having to move out of their home together in order to pay for it.

But Emily explains all is not lost, Andy remains a positive light in her life and the lives of those around him: “And yet he is still optimistic, still making jokes, still loving, still playing games with the cats even if it does have to be in bed. He still contributes to the housework, despite the fact that sweeping the hallway is enough to knock the breath out of him. He is incredible.”

Throughout all of this, Emily decided there was more to do, more ways to help. And so she has created a team for the Winnipeg Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk). She wants to raise $1,500 for brain tumour research and patient programs. “As the partner of someone with a brain tumour, I wanted to do something for the cause as it seems, in the world of cancers and other causes, to go so under-recognized, and deserves as much research and funding as it can get to improve the lives of those living with this awful disease,” Emily explains.

Andy’s focus is not on himself; he believes he will be able to make ends meet, somehow. His hope is that efforts can go towards a cause bigger than him. Emily explains,

“This is why we're running - to help the medical community with funds and research that can help anyone living with a brain tumour... or loving someone with one. Awful things happen to good people. But by banding together, hopefully we can take a step to do something about it.”

“My love is an incredible person. He's achieved so much, given so much, and has such an inspiring spirit. He does anything he can for others, and is sincerely a gift to anyone who’s ever met him. He is a gift to this world.”

Thank you Emily and Andy for sharing your story of courage, hope and support for the Spring Sprint.


*Name has been changed to respect their desire for privacy

Story posted: May 2013


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