Every year on January 30, we here at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada pause, reflect, and remember our roots.
Thirty-nine years ago this day, the world lost a brave little girl to a brain tumour at a time when research, support and information was badly lacking. Little did Kelly Northey know that her legacy would give life and hope to thousands of Canadians for decades to come.
Her passing, though tragic, led to the creation of the Brain Research Fund, later changed to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Kelly’s father, Steve, teamed up with Dr. Rolando Del Maestro and his wife Pam, and together they sought to increase research and bring support to families affected by brain tumours in Canada.
It is bittersweet, however, that even as we are able to provide support to so many people affected by brain tumours, survival rates for some brain tumours have seen little improvement even after four decades.
But compassion, education, and commitment to our values and our community have allowed Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada to grow into one that:
Provides funding for researchers and scientists,
Advocates for patient rights,
Gives people resources to guide them through their diagnosis, treatment and recovery,
Provides safe and open support groups for patients, families, and caregivers, and
Supports important initiatives like the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank and Brain Tumour Registry of Canada.
Like most not-for-profits, we’ve done a lot with a little, and always with the best interests of our community at heart.
Even more than the New Year, January 30 gives us pause and a chance to reflect on our accomplishments, our challenges, and our direction for years to come.
In the past year, we’ve seen one of our very first studentship recipients, Branavan Manoranjan, make a breakthrough discovery in treating childhood medulloblastoma.
He calls it “serendipity in a petri dish.”
We call it proof that creating early opportunities for researchers can leave the world a better place for patients and their families.
The need to increase brain tumour research led to this organization’s creation, and we can say we’ve built bridges over the years – most recently with the Brain Tumour Registry of Canada, which is dedicated to sharing knowledge with researchers across the country and beyond.
We have to think – If Kelly were with us, would she be proud?
As we enter into our 40th year, we think so. But we also know that finding the cure for brain tumours is a ongoing task and there is still so much to accomplish.
The best, so they say, is yet to come.