Deanna's Story of Strength

Deanna's Story of Strength

 “He said ‘I am going to live life to the fullest.’ Because he was like that, we were like that.”

Good natured, easy going, but most importantly, profoundly positive and uplifting. Howard Fink was all of these things and more. Growing up in a small town in Saskatchewan, Howard eventually moved to Calgary where he settled and raised a family. Neither he nor his loved ones ever expected a brain tumour would one day turn their lives upside down.

In 2005, while at work, Howard experienced a violent and frightening seizure. MRI and CT scans quickly followed. Soon, Howard and his family were told there was a large tumour behind his left eye that had likely been growing for many years.

“He was really optimistic, but the rest of us were pretty scared,” Howard’s daughter, Deanna, recalls about first hearing the diagnosis.

Following surgery, Howard spent the next six years trying different treatments to prevent the growth of his low-grade astrocytoma. Fortunately there were few complications or side effects. Then to the surprise of his family and his health care team, in February 2011 Howard started having seizures once again.

This time the news was different. Howard now had an aggressive brain tumour, a glioblastoma multiforme. That summer he had his second surgery, after which he started chemotherapy that continued until the following spring. Unfortunately, after an MRI in March 2012, Howard and his family were informed that the tumour had returned and once again prepared for another surgery.

All through the brain tumour journey, Howard maintained his positivity and grace. It was a marvel for the family to be part of and Howard’s poise was something that helped them help him. “Instead of saying ‘Why me, why me?’ he said ‘Okay, this is what life dealt me and I’m just going to live life to the fullest. Because he was like that, we were like that,” explains Deanna.

One piece of advice Deanna would give to anyone else diagnosed with a brain tumour is to never give up and to always hope and keep fighting for a cure. “You never know if there’s another option,” she says. “Never give up.”

The summer after his third surgery, Howard didn’t improve the way he had after his previous operations. He began experiencing other symptoms from the tumour. “They did the surgery and while he didn’t recover that fast, he was still optimistic that everything would be okay,” Deanna remembers. This optimism gave both Howard and his family strength. Sadly, Howard passed away in October of 2012.

Now, one year later, Deanna is sharing her father’s story in the hopes that other families will find comfort from the awareness that they are not alone.
 

 Thank you Deanna for sharing your story.

Donate now to support patients and families in honour of Brain Tumour Awareness MonthYou can donate to support the brain tumour community today. Your one-time, tribute or recurring gift brings hope to the 837 Canadians that will be diagnosed with a brain tumour each month. Thank you.
 

<back to Brain Tumour Awareness Month

<back to Stories

Story posted: October 2013. Since then, Brain Tumour Awareness Month has moved to May.


Share This

Featured Story

Hats for Hope

Today, 8 Canadians will learn they have brain cancer. That's 3,000 Canadians each year. That's why we have launched Hats for Hope a nation-wide brain cancer awareness campaign and are calling on all Canadians to pledge support for brain cancer research. Join us in International Brain Tumour Awareness Week, October 20 - 27, 2018, or on October 24, 2018 – the first Brain Cancer Awareness Day in Canada – by wearing a hat, taking a selfie or group photo, and sharing it on social using #HatsForHope

Learn more

Spotlight

Childhood Brain Tumour Signs & Symptoms

Earlier this year, you gave us your feedback in a survey on brain tumour signs and symptoms. One of the things we did with that survey...

Learn more

Anthony's Story is Our Story

I would like to take the opportunity to share "our" story. It’s actually my best friend Anthony's story, but I use the term "our"...

Learn more

Upcoming Events

  • 24/Oct/2018: Ottawa Support Group: Meets at the Maplesoft Centre at 1500 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON.... Learn more >
  • 25/Oct/2018: Virtual Support Group East: Virtual Support Group for Eastern Canada... Learn more >
  • 27/Oct/2018: National Conference - Montreal: Hôtel Ruby Foo's, Montreal, QC & diffusion en direct... Learn more >
  • 27/Oct/2018: SUPERKIDS - A Quest to End Brain Tumours: CitiPlaza, London, ON... Learn more >
View All Events >
Thank you to the donors whose contributions make this website and all programs, services and research possible.

Copyright © 2018 Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Charitable Registration #BN118816339RR0001