It has been over twenty years since Keith Anderson was first diagnosed with a stage 2 oligodendroglioma brain tumour.
“It is a significant anniversary for me and my family,” he says.
His diagnosis led to an awake resection, removing 90% of the tumour. Treatment options included chemotherapy, radiation, or both, clinical trial, and annual monitoring of the growth via MRI.
‘’Everything I read indicated that any or all those treatments would not increase my odds of surviving any longer than not taking them. Quality of life would also be severely affected. So, we chose no additional treatment at that time– only annual MRIs,” explains Keith.
Four years into his cancer journey, Keith discovered Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. His family, close relatives and many friends started participating in the Spring Sprints.
“I approached about 75 folks, asking for their support. The response was and has continued to be amazing 16 years later,” exclaims Keith. “Even in the first year with COVID-19 being a virtual event, my support was the best ever!”
Keith praises those who devotedly support him financially every year, and the family and friends who have volunteered their time to the walks. For over twelve years, he was a part of the planning committee for their local event. Year by year, he and his team steadily increased their donations; one year raising more money than any other city in Canada
“I met many people over those years, both event coordinators and planning committee members. Some had brain tumours, and many knew someone with a brain tumour,” he says.
In that period, several committee members or event participants succumbed to their disease; some much younger than Keith.
“It was very sad but kept me connected to the reality of how devastating brain tumours are,” Keith expresses.
In 2010, his MRI showed that his tumour had grown, moving from stage 2 to stage 3. Another operation removed 60% of the tumour.
Ten years after his initial diagnosis, research had brought new, more effective treatment options. Keith endured a total of 30 radiation sessions and was given oral chemotherapy.
“It attacks only glioma cells in the brain, and no other cells in the body,” he says.
“What a difference 10 years has made, coming up with a targeted form of chemo rather than intravenous chemo, in which only one of the three chemicals got through the blood-brain barrier! This made me realize firsthand the importance of the research component of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s activities,” he explains.
Keith has always been impressed with the different services the foundation provides to help people with tumours and their families. He also advocates how important funding is for research.
“I never take it for granted that I will be able to continue leading a healthy life. Every six months, it’s a matter of ‘wait and see’. But I am truly grateful for all the years of good quality life I’ve been able to enjoy with family and friends.”
On behalf of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, and the brain tumour community:
Thank You! Keith Anderson!
Learn more about the Brain Tumour Walk and register for the event at www.braintumourwalk.ca!