Another day, another story.
Here at Cure Brain Cancer, we hear stories every day. Most of the time, they are stories that you couldn’t even imagine, heartache that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy and very, very rarely are they stories with a happy ending. Families losing a child, children losing a parent, best friends losing their soulmate – the list goes on and each individual story is never an easy one to hear. Working in marketing, it’s part of my job, and the job of our team to tell these stories, to try and make brain cancer famous for the insidious disease it is, and hope that it inspires people to put their hands in their pockets to be a part of the solution.
Already in my short time here I’ve heard and retold the story of Sophie, a girl who shares my age and love of MIMCO handbags, and is currently in hospital recovering from having part of a Stage 3 Astrocytoma tumour removed from her brain. It took Sophie almost 10 days to wake up from that operation, and I thought about her each and every one of those days knowing that could have been me. I’ve heard the story of Jaden, who at just two years old left behind mum, dad and his loving siblings following a short and nasty battle with brain cancer. At two years old! I’ve heard the story of miracle survivor Pip, who after surviving brain cancer now runs marathons and ultra-marathons to raise money for us, but who continually lives in the fear of this thing returning, knowing that if it does her options are limited. I’ve heard the story of two mums from my hometown of Newcastle who both lost their husbands to brain cancer, one six weeks before the birth of their first daughter, and the other six weeks after the birth of their first daughter. That’s not even all of the stories I’ve heard, and it’s only been seven months since I walked through the doors of this office. And I don’t even work in the community engagement team.
Today I received a phone call that another one of these beautiful stories that I had been privileged to hear, looks as though it is coming to an end with a young mum now in palliative care after being diagnosed with GBM, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, just over a year ago. Like I said earlier, these stories never get easier to hear, but particularly this one was a stark reminder that life is fragile and brain cancer doesn’t discriminate. Just weeks ago I had been on the phone to this beautiful young mum, she had been lively, of sound mind and even said she felt strong. And in a matter of weeks that had all been taken away from her.
Usually I wouldn’t put an ask out there in a personal blog like this. Usually I tell a story and at the end my encouragement is to take some time for yourself to reflect on life, try something new, be bold and brave, do something that will benefit you. But today is different. Today I am being bold for people like this woman, who in the face of something horrendous had the determination to tell me that she felt strong. I’m being bold for the families that have been touched by brain cancer, just like ours was when my Pa was taken just months after his diagnosis. I’m being bold for my own sake, so that these stories don’t just become sad marks on my day, but powerful reminders of why it is that we do what we do here at Cure Brain Cancer.
We’ve recently launched a new campaign – all about bringing real impact for people with brain cancer. Real treatments, for real people, this year. We are doing what we can to accelerate treatments to Australian brain cancer patients, because current treatment options are limited and invasive.
I look forward to the day that I’m out of a job here, and that these stories become part of history. I want that day to be sooner rather than later and with your help it can be. Please consider donating to this campaign. $5, $50, $500 – it all contributes to real brain cancer research that is changing the course of history.
And of course, today hug your loved ones extra tight. Remind them that you love them more than you could ever imagine. Take time to smell the roses, pat the cute dog that’s always sitting out the front of the coffee shop, look at the sky, and the stars, and be reminded of how lucky you are to be taking in the day.
For more information on exactly what we do, visit www.curebraincancer.org.au/yes – and once our cute little flowchart has helped you make your decision, click on it to make your contribution.
*Update: I'm so saddened to report that Jess, the mum I referred to above, lost her battle with brain cancer late last month. Every family who loses somebody, or is battling this disease, has the love and support of everyone here at Cure Brain Cancer. We won't stop until there is a cure for this insidious disease.