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Wrestling with the Brain Eater – Gaetan’s Story

  October 26, 2020

There is facing a brain tumour head-on, and then there is taking it to the mat in for an intense leg wrestling match!

Gaetan Benoit of Saskatchewan was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, and decided to take it to the ring for Brain Tumour Awareness Week, Oct 24 – Nov 1, 2020. (story below video)


I have recently been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
It comes as a complete choc and I’m still dealing with the diagnosis but I’m also overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support I’ve received. I’m surrounded by loved ones, like my girlfriend Katrine, my family, and friends and the love and positivity is giving me much strength. I’ve already started my radiation/chemo treatments, and so far I’m feeling good, I’m staying positive, and I’m optimistic and hopeful as I look to the years ahead.


Surreal new world
It’s devastating news, and unfortunately too many people are affected by this terrible disease. In these masked COVID times, I have locked eyes with other brain cancer patients, and exchanged silent hidden smiles and head nods, as we wait to head into the radiation room over the past few weeks.
Like many, I have been catapulted into a surreal nightmare, and given an expiration date. I’m sure my process of grieving will take me through despair, anguish, and anger, but for now, in a strange way, my diagnosis has distilled, deepened, and amplified my human experience in many positive ways.
The theoretical discussions about living with intention, in the moment, and with urgency have become very real when faced with such a diagnosis and I have embraced these feelings. I’m healthy now, and, as I mentioned, I’m excited, and hopeful about the months and years ahead.


Not the same old story
Like everyone who faces this disease, I have had to tell my story to many. First, to my loved ones, my girlfriend, my immediate family and closest friends. But I have stayed off social media, not sure how to share the news with a wider audience of people that I have connected with over the years. I knew that, at some point, I was going to have to address the elephant in the room head on, if I wanted to continue living my life, without everything I shared or posted being overshadowed by my  cancer.


Getting creative
And so the wheels in my television producer mind started turning, and the idea of a silly leg wrestling bout between myself and and big bad mean tumour came to mind. As a French Canadian from Saskatchewan, a Fransaskois, leg wrestling or “Jambette” as we call it had been a little bit of a family tradition. A bout in which I humiliate the hated tumour seemed like a fun and fitting way to turn the tables on this disease that had taken over my life, and the lives of countless others.
With the generous help and contributions of friends who work in the film industry, we were able to bring this silly idea to life.

Hope and humour
At first, I felt uncomfortable putting myself in the forefront, and sharing my story out in such a lighthearted way. But as a creative person, I’ve often used humour throughout my life to process my experiences and so, in the end, it seemed like an authentic and natural way to share my story, my way.


We also did this in the hope that the video may bring some comic relief in difficult times to other people who are going through a similar experience, whether it be brain cancer or any other cancer for that matter.