Medulloblastoma is a big word for a very scary type of brain tumour.
It's cancerous and it mainly affects toddlers, children and teens. How unfair is that? As you can imagine, or as you may know personally, a diagnosis of medulloblastoma is absolutely devastating news for any family. For every parent who hears this diagnosis, their hopes and dreams for their children's futures are changed in an instant.
In the 17 years that I've been involved in the brain tumour community in Canada, since my own diagnosis, I've been fortunate enough to meet and be inspired by so many pediatric brain tumour survivors and their families. These warriors are quite possibly some of the most inspiring people I've ever met.
Incredibly, brain tumours are now the leading cause of solid cancer death in children under the age of 20, now surpassing leukemia and bone cancer. Great strides have been made in cancer care overall -- terrific news for us all. However, this statistic speaks clearly to the need for more research and resources into the cause and treatment for brain tumours. We need to rally together as a community, and as a country, to fund more research into brain tumours so that fewer children have to face this diagnosis.
There have been improvements in the last several years and there are treatments for children with brain tumours, but often the treatment of these very ill children comes at a high price.
Young brain tumour survivors who have been treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy often suffer consequences that last a lifetime. Their ability to learn, and even to carry on regular activities, can be profoundly affected. And decades later, as adults, they are at a higher risk of developing other types of brain tumours or cancers.
This is just another reason why I support the efforts of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada to not only raise funds for the much-needed research but also to provide programs and advocate for change to help those affected today.
There are many researchers across the country already working very hard to unlock the genetic mysteries behind brain tumours to save more lives. If you visit BrainTumour.ca/BTAM you'll find out how you can help more researchers get into this field and give more families hope when they hear words like "medulloblastoma."
Because research brings hope. Get involved today.