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Windsor Family Raising Funds and Awareness about Pediatric Brain Tumours

May 30, 2011

In early 2010, Karen Metcalfe and Brett Lumley were typical busy parents with a young daughter and two and a half year old son. Then, one day, four-year old McKenna started complaining of neck pain, throwing up in the very early hours of the morning and having problems with balance – it was the beginning of knowing there was something not right. When she was diagnosed with a brain tumour several weeks later, the entire extended family and community pulled together. Today, Karen, Brett, McKenna and Blake are eager to give back to the community as part of the upcoming Windsor Spring Sprint in support of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

A consultant who works from home, Karen recalls that doctors first suspected the flu when McKenna complained of neck pain and began vomiting. After three weeks of ongoing symptoms, a trip to the Emergency Room at Windsor Regional Hospital resulted in an MRI that found a four by five centimetre tumour in McKenna’s cerebellum, a Pilocytic Astrocytoma. She was rushed to London’s Children's Hospital and within 36 hours of arrival, McKenna underwent a 12-hour surgery. A few days later, she had a second surgery and was in critical care for over a week. Family and friends rallied together during this time, caring for Blake and supporting the family in many other ways.

The support offered by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada was also important to the family. “It was the handbook for my husband. He really needed to learn what he could and referred to it often while we were there. In the hospital the handbook was an invaluable resource and one that we continue to refer to,” recalls Karen. “And whenever there’s a Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada event, we are sure to go.”

Because of their incredible journey, this family is eager to give back. They began with the 2010 Windsor Spring Sprint and with the help of family and friends raised $10,000. Karen explains the family’s continued motivation: “I’d like them to do more and find out if there are things that can be done to prevent brain tumours. We don’t know what McKenna’s future holds and I couldn’t forgive myself if I hadn’t supported research and services she may need in the future. We were celebrating last year but it didn’t pass us by that there were people walking in memory of those they love. I want McKenna and Blake to know that it’s important to help others.”

As for her recommendation to others, “I think you have to take it one step at a time and not think about the possibilities but deal with the facts you are given. My husband and I made the decision when we first heard the word tumour that we can’t control it so we focus on what we can,” remembers Karen.

“If people could see how much good a simple handbook does and that when this happens that there is an organization that could help us, I know they’d want to give. We didn’t raise $10,000 with large donations, even a small amount makes a big difference. My connection to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is for life and it makes me feel like I can and should do something.”

The Windsor Spring Sprint is part of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s national fundraising walkathon program and features a 5km route for walkers, joggers and runners at Riverside Sportsman Club. The event is run by a dedicated group of local volunteers determined to improve the lives of those affected by a brain tumour. The national goal this year is to raise $1.5 million to fund research into the cause and better treatments for brain tumours. This includes research being conducted across Canada including at the University of Western Ontario and London Health Sciences Centre.

“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.”

Donations also support important education, information, and support for the estimated 55,000 Canadians affected by brain tumours such as: the Windsor brain tumour support group that meets monthly at the United Way; the BrainWAVE program - support for families with a child with a brain tumour; and education opportunities across Ontario and streamed online. Patient care is also improved with health care professional in-services and workshops at local treatment centres. These programs and services are run by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada with the vision to find the cause of and cure for brain tumours while improving the quality of life for those affected. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada was founded in London, ON in 1982.

Event: Spring Sprint for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
5km walk and run for walkers, joggers and runners.
Dates: Saturday, June 4, 2011: Check-in: 10:00 a.m. & Start: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Riverside Sportsman Club, 10835 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, ON N8P 1A5
Register: or 1 800 265 5106

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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 x 232
Cell: 519-494-7076

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Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada


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