Your Support Helps children affected by brain tumours not only survive, but thrive.
On behalf of the estimated 3,000 Canadian children living with a brain tumour, we want to do what we can to impact the future of those children, and the hundreds who will be diagnosed with a brain tumour this year.
The contributions made by Canadian medical scientists to the growing knowledge base of international pediatric brain tumour research is significant, but there is so much more to be done to move research forward. For many children, cancer treatment protocols have not changed in 20 years, leaving suvivors with many lifelong challenges.
Since 2006, London Rigatoni for Research events have raised $200,000 for pediatric brain tumour research and Youth Education Awards.
The cause is yet to be understood and the treatments can be improved by raising awareness and funds. The London Rigatoni for Research fundraising event provides us with the opportunity to raise money to support pediatric brain tumour research.
As well, proceeds from the event go to fund a "Youth Education Award" which supports a young adult survivor attend a post-secondary educational institution and make their dream a reality.
Nicole was a very active three year old who enjoyed skiing, skating, dance, gymnastics and swimming. She was learning her alphabet and loved to write. But in April 2000, things changed for Nicole and our whole family. We noticed that one side of Nicole's face was paralyzed and that her smile was not symmetrical. Every morning she was nauseous. At first, we thought it was just the flu, but Nicole's dizzy spells got worse and she began to stumble and fall.
At the hosptial, CT and MRI scans revealed a cancerous brain tumour called medulloblastoma. As any parent can imagine, the emotional ride was terrifying. One week later, Nicole endured nearly 16 hours of surgery. Her surgeon was able to remove all of the tumour and her cerebrospinal fluid was clear.
I remembered when we named our baby "Nicole Victoria", which means "Victorious Warrior".....I thought if there's anything in a name, I'll take it.
Nicole's little body was traumatized by the surgery. She developed cerebellar mutism and stayed in hospital for four months. We soon realized that she had two huge mountains to overcome: cancer and learning how to talk and walk all over again. Nicole began radiation treatments and chemotherapy which continued for another year. Due to cranial nerve damage and facial paralysis, Nicole also underwent corrective eye and facial surgeries to maintain her vision and bring back her smile.
Although Nicole required growth hormone therapy and regular orthotic and mobility assessments, she moved forward in her own true form, scoring recovery victories every day. She's steadily gaining confidence with independent walking and uses her walker for everything from soccer to dancing.
Nicole's struggles are far from over, but every day, she lives up to her name. We are so proud of our little "Victorious Warrior".
Update: Sept. 2011: Nicole is now in high school and doing very well. She continues to be an inspiration to everyone she meets...and of course, our family. Please keep our hope alive by attending the 2011 London Rigatoni for Research Event. You Make A Difference!
Update: July 2015: Nicole has continued to live up to her name and persevere to reach her goals. She has just graduated from Medway High School and will be continuing her studies at Fanshawe College in September! She is enrolled in the Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) program which is an introduction to college courses designed to promote independent skills and support a variety of co-op placements. The past four years have bbeen full of some exciting highlights. Her sledge hockey team, London Blizzard, won the Ontario championship in 2015. She recently received the McTavish Award for outstanding individuals in Thames Valley Secondary Schools who have faced obstacles in their path and who have overcome these challenges. She has also developed a love of canoe-portage trips through Algonquin Park, this summer marking her third trip. Her favourite things to do are hang out and laugh with her friends, walk her dog, and cheer for the London Knights Hockey Team!
Update: Spring 2019: Nicole is now attending Fanshawe College with her dream to be an Early Childhood Educator. She is living independently and enjoying life! So much to be thankful for. Please help us have more Nicoles....children thriving!
Nicole's Mom - Lorraine Lewis
I was only four years old when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. My sister, Natalie, had just been born and I started being sick to my stomach in the mornings. The doctor told my Mom that I was probably acting sick to get attention..... just normal kid stuff.
But, I kept being sick. I was sick at the mall, in the car, and even just sitting watching TV. That summer, we went on a family picnic. I struggled while climbing the ladder to go down the slide and had trouble running and playing with my cousins. My parents cut the picnic short and took me to a walk-in clinic on the way home.
The doctor at the clinic shone a bright light in my eyes and sent us straight to Children's Hospital Emergency where I had a CT scan. I went to sleep, my parents waited, and my baby sister cried...I think she wanted to go home.
My Mom told me that very late that night the doctor told them that I had a brain tumour....a medullablastoma. I had surgery to remove the tumour and started radiation treatments to my head and spine. A few weeks later, I started chemotherapy, which lasted more than a year. I lost my hair, so pictures of me then seem pretty silly now. My Mom gave me daily injections of growth hormone for 5 years because I wasn't growing properly and for years I had lots of tests and visits to the doctor.
Today, I'm 23 years old, graduated from College and working. Most people don't know that I had a brain tumour and I don't tell them. It seems like so long ago. I wish other kids were as lucky as I am.
Update....Unfortunately I have been diagnosed with another brain tumour after only 2 weeks of symptoms. On June 17, 2009 I was diagnosed with an anaplastic oliodendroglioma grade 3. I have now had surgery and am undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Research is even more important now to me and my family. Please support the London Rigatoni for Research so we can have hope that a cure will be found for this devastating disease. THANK YOU.
Update: Spring 2019: Almost 9 years since Brent left us and 29 years since he was first diagnosed. I wish there was a cure and no families had to suffer like mine...yet that is not true! We need to keep fighting for Brent and for all the children affected by this devastating disease. Please help.
Update: Spring 2015: Hard to believe it has been almost 5 years since Brent passed away on May 1, 2010...his 24th birthday. I miss him terribly every day. I pray that with advancements in research, other children will live long and happy lives...just like we wished for Brent. Please help us and attend our 2015 London Rigatoni for Research. You Make A Difference!
Brent's Mom...Susan Marshall
THANK YOU On behalf of Mothers who children have been affected by brain tumours.