A hole-in-one for brain tumours – A tribute to Kathrine Turek

A hole-in-one for brain tumours – A tribute to Kathrine Turek

On July 18, 2014, the annual Kathrine Turek Memorial Golf Tournament took place at the Tamarack Ridge Golf Club just outside of London, Ontario. For Kathrine’s daughter, Vicki Turek-Rawski, and the tightknit Turek family, it was a perfect day to commemorate their mother and wife – who was known as Kathy to loved ones.

The annual golf tournament grows bigger each year and tickets have sold out the three times the event has taken place. “My mom would have been so happy to see that we get people together, even though she never golfed herself,” Vicki says, fondly remembering her mom as the glue that helped bring friends and family together. To date, the tournament has raised over $60,000 for the brain tumour community.

In November 2010, Kathy’s brain tumour journey began when she fainted and awoke with a horrible headache. After 24 hours of putting Kathy through every possible test at the local hospital, a CT scan revealed a tumour on her brain. Quickly scheduled for surgery a couple of days later, the Tureks received the devastating news that the surgeon couldn’t remove the tumour due to its location and potentially damaging side effects. Instead, Kathy was treated with chemotherapy and radiation for her gliobastoma multiforme – the most aggressive brain cancer. Sadly, Kathy passed away in 2011, just 10 months after her diagnosis.

Looking back, Vicki is thankful for friends and family that pitched in and showed tremendous support during this time. Kathy had difficulties near the end of her journey as her mobility worsened and she needed around-the-clock care. Wanting to ease the side effects from Kathy’s treatment, the family tried alternative care like naturopathy, acupuncture and massage therapy. After seeing the struggles her mom went though, championing improvements in patient care and quality of life is a cause near and dear to Vicki’s heart. “Our family’s hope is to find a cure for glioblastoma and to see western medicine work closer with non-traditional treatments for people diagnosed with a brain tumour. Both sides of patient care are important.”

The Tureks first connected with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada through an information kit they received at the hospital. Vicki says it was really helpful because they didn’t know much about the disease at that time. “Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has so much information and help available for the community. It’s important to connect with people and to learn how to navigate the health care system and a brain tumour diagnosis.” Since then, in addition to the golf tournament, Vicki has volunteered with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and has laced up for the annual Spring Sprint.

Reflecting on her family’s experiences, Vicki offers words of wisdom for those facing the difficulties of a brain tumour, “Be an advocate for your family’s health care. Use all the resources offered to you and don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family or ask for help.”

The 2014 Kathrine Turek Memorial Golf Tournament was a huge success with almost 170 people joining the fun and raising $21,000. The event will continue in the years to come, with the aim of advancing better health care and brain cancer research.

Thank you to the Turek family and their loved ones for their continued support of the Canadian brain tumour community.



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Story posted July 2014

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