Denis' Story: “I live as positively as I can in the face of uncertainty”

Denis' Story:  “I live as positively as I can in the face of uncertainty”

For 28-year-old Denis Raymond, the past two years have been eye-opening. The young teacher was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), at just 26 years of age. With a deep love for helping others, Denis says his brain tumour journey revitalized this passion and gave him new insights into how he can share personal experiences to support people facing similar circumstances. He’s also learned first-hand just how long it takes for novel treatments to reach those who need it most. That’s one of the reasons Denis has joined Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) – to shine the spotlight on how necessary research is to find the cure for this devastating disease.

Denis, who’s based in Ottawa, Ontario, is a patient at one of seven Canadian centres participating in a recent clinical trial for a medical device to treat glioblastoma. So far, he says, so good. “It’s such a dreadful disease – the statistics, they’re terrible,” expresses Denis, referring to the average 15-month survival rate for people diagnosed with GBM. “I am extraordinarily lucky, getting into this trial and now being stable since using the device. I had no idea about the length of time needed to get new treatments approved.” 
Since being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013, Denis has undergone intensive brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, on top of the clinical trial. Through it all he was able to continue teaching and also found support through a network of friends, family and specialized programs for brain tumour survivors and patients. In addition to his commitment to brain tumour research, Denis shares his story in hopes of reaching those who are missing a much-needed connection to someone who understands. “Now I speak to so many people who know of this disease – it seems like everyone’s affected in some way. If only they knew they could meet like-minded people and rally for those who live with a brain tumour or those lost to the disease,” adds Denis. 
Part of making those connections is joining Spring Sprint, where survivors and caregivers unite with one another and raise the all-important funds for ground-breaking brain tumour research. 
“My positive attitude is due in part to all the people I’ve met along the way. I want people to feel empowered to come out and donate,” Denis explains. “I don’t know if my luck or my choices save me in the long run, but I am still here today. So I live as positively as I can in the face of the uncertainty.”
 Thank you Denis. The movement to end brain tumours is stronger thanks to you.
Photo by Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

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Story posted: May 2015 

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