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Ottawa Law Student Honouring Father's Memory by Raising Awareness About Brain Tumours

May 30, 2011

An Ottawa law student by day and volunteer by night, Mireille Renaud is determined to turn pain into a purpose. As part of the large community of Canadians with a loved one touched by a brain tumour, Mireille now finds herself building connections with others because of this all-too common disease. On June 5th, Mireille is joining hundreds of Ottawa residents in support of brain tumour research and patient programs for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s 2011 Spring Sprint.

Mireille is part of a large family team who are active in memory of their father, Yvon, a judge with the Ontario Court of Justice in Sudbury, who heroically battled a Glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of primary brain tumor. Sadly, Yvon passed away December 11, 2010 just one day before his 57th birthday.

Along with her brothers Benoît, Justin, and Jean-François the family is coming together in his memory. Mireille explains, “Losing our dad was hard on all of us. It just happened so fast and I’m still getting used to the new normal,” says Mireille. “Before this all happened I never knew about brain tumours. We’ve had to turn the pain into a purpose. Being part of the Spring Sprint team is a way I’ve been able to channel that energy into good.”

Mireille recalls that it was her younger brother who first noticed that something was wrong with her dad in September 2009; he was holding things backwards and searching for words. Then all of a sudden, he was nauseous and the physical symptoms were very clear.

“One day my uncle was here and asked my dad to write out the alphabet and he couldn’t. They took him to a medical clinic right away and then emergency and that’s where they discovered a mass on his brain,” recalls Mireille. “We knew it was aggressive and they took 98 percent of the tumour out and then dad underwent six weeks of radiation therapy followed by ongoing chemotherapy.”

Their family was optimistic. Yvon would walk the six to eight kilometers a day to and from his treatments and went back to work. Then in May 2010 the tumour returned and Yvon underwent his second surgery. A third tumour was found in September 2010 and surgery performed in October. Following complications with the surgery, Yvon entered into an induced coma. “He didn’t wake up,” laments Mireille.

While her family was devastated, Mireille offers words of kindness and encouragement to others whose lives are affected by brain tumours: “It’s very difficult because brain tumours affect people in so many different ways. Unlike other cancers, brain tumours can changes people’s character. What I would say is to remember them the way they were.”

Mireille also notes that for her, “the most important point was to focus the anger and frustration towards positive channels. For the second year in a row my brothers and I are played a fundraising concert in support Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Spring Sprint. It’s important to connect with others who share a similar experience and to work towards finding a cure.” Mireille is also part of the organizing committee for the June Spring Sprint in Ottawa, looking after logistics and fundraising.

Now she hopes others will step up to help the fight. “I guess like anyone else who’s been affected and involved; my hope is that we find a cure. It’s such a devastating disease and it tears families apart. I hope one day it stops hurting families like it hurt us. Funds go to support research and Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s services, and that’s what we need,” says Mireille.

“Life has definitely changed in the last year and a half. Losing our dad was hard on all of us. It just happened so fast and I’m still getting used to the new normal,” says Mireille. “Before this all happened I never knew about brain tumours but we have turned the pain into a purpose.

The Ottawa Spring Sprint, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s national fundraising walkathon program, features 2.5 and 5km routes for walkers, joggers and runners at Andrew Haydon Park on Sunday, June 5. 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. The national goal this year is to raise $1.5 million to fund research into the cause of and better treatments for brain tumours. This includes research being conducted at several research centres across Ontario.

“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 brain tumour support group that meets monthly in Ottawa at Alta Vista Manor on Peter Morand Crescent ; one-on-one phone support, and education opportunities including the upcoming June education seminar in Ottawa. 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.

Event: Spring Sprint for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
2.5km and 5km walk and run for walkers, joggers and runners.
Dates: Sunday, June 5, 2011: Check-in: 9:00 a.m. & Start: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Andrew Haydon Park, Picnic Site 3, Ottawa, ON
Register: or 1 800 265 5106

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

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Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada


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