2022 Volunteer of Distinction Award – Elizabeth Gyuk
Belleville Walk Coordinator
1. How did you start volunteering with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada?
It was December 2011 when I discovered a Brain Tumour support group in Belleville. I was thrilled as I’d known about the foundation and groups, but the timing wasn’t right for me until then. I called, and Jennifer McIntosh answered. Within 15 minutes, perhaps less, she subtly discovered I was a Brain Tumour Survivor, a Nurse, and I had a current Police check. Belleville needed a Convener, what great timing! I went to my first meeting in January 2012. I met some great people, and as they say, the journey began. In April, I went to my first conference in Toronto. I met more great people and learned a lot. A few years later, I was also the Facilitator for our Support Group. Shortly after that, the great folks who had been Co-ordinating The Belleville Brain Tumour Walk dropped by my home, saying they had enjoyed doing this for ten years, but it was time for someone else to take over. At that point, even my Dog, a Westie named Arden, was rolling her eyes. Okay, we can handle this, I thought. My Way, though.
2. What is your fondest memory of volunteering with us?
Co-ordinating the Walk, I discovered something special the very first day. It was a brisk early morning at the Zwicks Park Hill Site, and I was gazing over Lake Ontario. My DJ Leo, who I’d worked with before on a few Military Events, was doing a sound check. Suddenly he said Ladies and Gentleman, Welcome to the Annual Brain Tumour Walk on this beautiful Saturday morning. It was a moment when I realized we might do something extraordinary that day. This wasn’t because of us. This was because we were privileged to be part of this. Another fact not to be missed is how my husband, three sons, their three lovely wives and three brilliant and gorgeous grandchildren show up at every Walk, even at the crack of dawn. Our Team for the Walk is called Tumour Trekkers, which was my sons’ idea. Over the years, so many family and friends have donated to our Team.
3. This year’s theme for volunteer week is how volunteering weaves us together and connects us. What does this theme mean to you? (You can see more HERE)
Whether survivors or volunteers, any connection to the brain tumour world gives us a common thread and connection. One that crosses boundaries and gives you the liberty to cut to the chase and make that special connection.
4. What’s the best advice you have given or someone has given you?
There are many. Keep Informed. Keep your sense of humour. If you don’t have one. Get one. And in the words of my very wise Mother in Law… things could be worse.