Volunteers make a difference in the lives of brain tumour patients and families, every day.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Myself and all the staff here at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada would like to applaud the immense contribution that our volunteers provide coast to coast to the brain tumour community! Without their dedication and generosity we wouldn’t be able to provide many of our essential services.

For our volunteers, we know you often take time away from your own busy schedules to provide invaluable support and resources to those in need and we cannot thank you enough. Your tireless commitment and enduring positive spirit is commendable.

Please follow along this week and join us as we profile three of our volunteers and recognize our 700+ volunteer base, to ensure they receive the applause, thanks and recognition they so richly deserve.

Cheers to our volunteers!

– Courtney McDonnell


Please follow along this week and join us as we profile three of our volunteers: Janet, Kathryn, and Stu.

Volunteers make a difference

Support Groups. Brain Tumour Walk events. Governance. National Material Distribution. Fundraising. Awareness-Raising. BrainWAVE. Brain Tumour National Conference. Research. All of these things happen because of more than 700 critical volunteers.

Whether you are interested in fundraising, support services, honouring Brain Tumour Awareness Month, or administration, there is a volunteer opportunity for you.

Thank you to each and every volunteer who contributes to the effort to find the cause of and a cure for brain tumours – and to improve the quality of life for those affected. Everything that you do makes a difference in the lives of patients and families, every day. 

Hazel's Story of Volunteering

Hazel has been volunteering with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for almost three years, helping with administrative duties. In her own words, she describes her volunteer story with us.



Volunteer Recognition

Volunteer AwardsThank you to every volunteer who gives their time and energy towards the mission of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Your contributions combine every day to advance our vision of the organization to find the cause of and cure for brain tumours while improving the quality of life for those affected. Extraordinary volunteers are celebrated through the following awards.

Volunteers of Distinction

Each fall, volunteers who have given the exceptional gifts of time, passion and expertise to help with our mission to reach every Canadian affected by a brain tumour through support, education, information and research are recognized as Volunteers of Distinction. See below for details of the recipients.

David Kelly Award for Community Service

The David Kelly Award for Community Service is awarded annually to one individual who exemplifies the spirit of community service in support of the brain tumour community in Canada. This award is named in honour of brain tumour advocate and fundraising leader David Kelly, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, who passed away in October 2014.

Volunteer of Distinction Award Recipients:

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Volunteer of Distinction Awards.

Danielle Barclay

Danielle - 2019 Volunteer of Distinction Award recipientDanielle Barclay began to volunteer with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in June of 2016 as the convenor of the Edmonton Support Group. A survivor herself, she recognized the importance of providing the brain tumour community with a place to go to share their stories and receive support.

Danielle quickly settled into her convenor role and often found herself in the dual role of convenor and facilitator. She has attended and supported brain tumour education sessions for patients with malignant brain tumours, attends the Edmonton Brain Tumour Walk and is always increasing awareness about the foundation through her job as an Occupational Therapist.

Recognizing the need to increase awareness in the medical community, she has made inroads with the medical students at the University of Alberta and has also connected us with the Alberta Pituitary Patient Society.

We are so pleased to thank Danielle and present her with the 2019 Volunteer of Distinction Award.

Arlette Boghonskhan

Arlette - 2019 Volunteer of DistinctionArlette Boghonskhan from Montreal, QC has been involved with the organization of the Montreal Brain Tumour Walk for over four years.

She has been an essential part of the success of our past events and has always been an amazing ambassador of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. In addition to attending all the Montreal Brain Tumour Walk meetings, she has spent countless hours reaching out to potential sponsors. Her efforts have helped to save thousands of dollars in food, activities and raffle/gifts which are offered to our participants every year.

Remembering what it was like to be the new person on the committee, Arlette always has a kind word and a gentle, guiding hand for those who are helping with the event the very first time. Her sense of humour and easy-going personality make it a joy for other volunteers to attend committee meetings.

While Arlette understands the importance of the Montreal Brain Tumour Walk, she also recognizes the need to increase awareness. She uses her knowledge of our programs and services to seek out sponsorships of other programs such as the foundation’s pediatric GoCervo program.

It is our sincerest pleasure to present Arlette with the 2019 Volunteer of Distinction Award.

Michele Bliss

Michele - 2019 Volunteer of DistinctionMichele Bliss started volunteering as the facilitator of the Burlington Support Group in June of 2017 during a time of transition in the group’s leadership. Ensuring that group members continued to have a place to go to receive support, she often found herself in the dual role of facilitator and convenor. She has recently welcomed a new convenor to the group and has been key in their success.

A brain tumour survivor herself, Michele’s unique perspective has been instrumental in helping her mother deal with her own brain tumour diagnosis this past spring.

Never one to take off her volunteer hat, Michele often joins her mother on her visits to her neurosurgeon and never passes up the opportunity to tell the medical team about Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the programs and services that we provide.

Michele’s passion for the brain tumour community knows no bounds and is so deserving of the 2019 Volunteer of Distinction award.

Hazel Neely

Hazel -2019 Volunteer of Distinction Award recipientPersonally affected by a brain tumour, Hazel started to volunteer in Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s London office in November of 2016. Having just recently retired, she wanted to give back.

If you have ever called the office for assistance, chances are you have heard Hazel’s warm and caring voice on the other end of the phone. On any given day Hazel can be found greeting guests as they come into the office, answering calls from patients and families, running through the office to ensure staff are at their desks so that callers aren’t put into a voicemail box and helping our wherever she is needed.

No task is too big or too small for Hazel. She has affixed safety pins to thousands of grey ribbons so our community can wear them proudly, joined the team at a retreat where we discussed the importance of providing quality service to the brain tumour community and even filled in full time during a staffing transition period.

The staff have come to rely on Hazel not only for her help but for her kind smile, caring ways and her passion for the brain tumour community. It gives us great pleasure to award Hazel with the 2019 Volunteer of Distinction Award.

Previous recipients:

Pablo Coffey, Greg Taylor and Christina Hagberg, Kelley Weatherby, and Michèle Tirlemont


Rachel Brown, Claire Snyman, Diane McFarlane, and Rick Bradt.


Chris Wynder, Janet Hempler, Karen Metcalfe, and Natalie Edwards.


Diana Schurer, Denis Raymond, and one further nominee who has chosen to remain anonymous.


David Kelly, Diane McAuley, and Siobhan Taylor.


Keith Anderson, Janice Laberge, Dr. Arjun Sahgal, and Karen Vickers.


Brian Montag, Claudette Brown, and Heather McKeigan.


Kathy Thornton and Jacqueline Huff, Jenn Quinn, Agnes Chick, Christa Kingsley, and Joline LeBlanc.


Ingrid Exner, Danielle Griffiths, Mike Kennedy, Lori and Stephen Wilson.


Robin Bateman, Claudine LePage, Melissa Martin, and Crystal Tellett.


Theresa Acchione, Dave D’Entremont, Margaret Dodgson, and Marianna Hope.

Thank you for all your incredible contributions!