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Young Hockey Player Inspires Community to Support Brain Tumour Research

May 9, 2011

(HALIFAX, NS; May 9, 2011) By all accounts, Cole Harbour resident Michael Rumsby is a typical thirteen year-old boy who loves playing soccer and hockey. So, in the fall of 2010, Michael and his family were shocked by his diagnosis of a malignant Non-Germinoma germ cell tumour of the pineal gland. While the brain tumour has temporarily slowed Michael down, it hasn’t stopped him. His love of sports and the support of his community have helped him on his journey and together, the family are supporting Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s 2011 Spring Sprint event this weekend.

Michael’s diagnosis came after a short time filled with headaches, sinus and vision issues, and even migraines. These seemingly unconnected symptoms were explained by a variety of things including: playing sports in the heat, puberty, and stress about flying on an upcoming trip to Ottawa. After a discussion of possibilities, the family doctor ordered a CT scan. Michael’s mom, Michelle, remembers the day the results were in, “Michael went off to school and a few hours later my doctor called to say they found a mass on Michael’s brain. I was caught off guard and the room just started spinning.”

That same day, Michael was admitted to hospital for blood work, an MRI and then on September 10, 2010, an Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV) surgery to relieve the cerebral fluid pressure on his brain. The following week he began 18 weeks of chemotherapy, taking place every three weeks for three-to-five days in hospital through to January. Through the exams, spots were also found on Michael’s spine but halfway through the chemotherapy they were gone. This past January Michael had second MRI and the brain tumour was still present. On February 11, 2011, Michael had surgery to remove most of the tumour. Since then he has endured an additional 30 treatments of radiation.

While diagnosis and treatments have not been easy on Michael or his family, the fact that Michael was told there would be no hockey this season became his main focus. “When Michael hadn’t particpated during hockey tryouts, the word spread through the association,” says Michelle. A couple of weeks later Michelle received a call from coach Paul Mason to invite Michael to be part of the team. “Paul knew that being a part of the team and the support of a team would be important to focus on rather than just on his condition.”

During a break between chemotherapy treatments, Michael was feeling well enough to join his team on a tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The tournament was part of the Winter Classic. Michael’s coaches wanted to give Michael the opportunity to play one shift of non-contact hockey alongside his teammates, since he had not been able to play any games but only practice with his team. Coach Mason contacted the other teams requesting one shift without checking so that Michael could play worry-free – Michael was able to play throughout the entire tournament.

Michael remembers how supportive his team was during his treatment: “When I was in the hospital during chemotherapy my team brought me in a jersey and the entire team showed up with all the coaches. They showed me my jersey with the ‘C’ on it and they said they wanted me to be Captain because the captain fights for the team,” recounts Michael. “We had an amazing time together in Pittsburgh I was able to play hockey and we got to meet Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux.”

Michael and his family are grateful for the support they received from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada including the website, newsletter, and the Pediatric Brain Tumour Patient Resource Book. “They gave us a whole bag of things to deal with,” recalls Michael. Michelle reminds others that, “Life doesn’t stop with a brain tumour and you can have a normal life. Michael is and will continue to be an active member of society and live life.”

The Halifax Spring Sprint, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s national fundraising walkathon program, features 2.5km and 5km routes for walkers, joggers and runners at Wickwire Soccer Field/ Dalhousie University Arena. The event is run by a dedicated group of local volunteers who are determined to improve the lives of those affected by a brain tumour.

“Mom said that if people hear about it they’ll be inspired and it will help others and I just want to help other people,” says Michael. His mom agrees; “When I think of all the support that we’ve had, we wanted to give back. We’ve set up Team Michael for the May 14 Spring Sprint.”

The national goal this year is to raise $1.5 million for research into the cause of and better treatments for brain tumours. Donations also provide important education, information, and support programs for the estimated 55,000 Canadians affected by brain tumours. This includes a local support group that meets monthly at the Lodge That Gives at 5826 South Street, the annual Halifax Brain Tumour Information Day Conference (held in October each year) and support for health care professionals to help improve care. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada was founded in London, Ontario in 1982.

“The prospect for all of the research that will be conducted as a result of the funds raised is very exciting,” says Susan Marshall, Executive Director of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. “Our vision is to find a cure for brain tumours and to improve the quality of life for those affected and we all move closer to this reality with the efforts of Spring Sprint.”

Event: Spring Sprint for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
2.5km & 5km walk and run for walkers, joggers and runners
Dates: Saturday, May 14, 2011; Check-in: 10:00 a.m. & Start: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Wickwire Soccer Field/ Dalhousie University Arena
6260 South Street, Halifax, NS
Register: or 1-800-265-5106

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For more information, please contact:

Megan Winkler
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

P: 1 800 265 5106 ext 232
Event Website:

About Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
There are an estimated 55,000 people in this country living with a brain tumour and 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, many of those are children. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada provides information through a free, comprehensive Patient Resource Handbook, live and web-based annual education events, and support through a Canada-wide, toll-free 1-800 line, website (, and 23 support groups that meet monthly across Canada. Brain tumour research is also supported through an annual grants-in-aid program. To date $2.75 million has been directed to brain tumour research. Please visit Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s website at

For more information contact:
Megan Winkler
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
Phone: 1-800-265-5106 ext 232
Cell: 519-494-7076

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Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada


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