09/30/2013 08:57 EDT | Updated 11/30/2013 05:12 EST

October Is Brain Tumour Awareness Month

This October 837 Canadians will hear the words, "you have a brain tumour." And these newly diagnosed patients and their families will add their voice to the chorus of 55,000 survivors, like me, across Canada as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. These were the most difficult words I had ever heard and at 18 years of age, were a total shock.

Together we are all anxious for an increase in awareness about this disease that is often left in the shadows. For us, awareness month is about making noise about the impact the disease can have on the children, teenagers, adults and seniors whose lives are forever changed by the MRI or CAT scan revealing a brain tumour.

With an estimated 27 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every day in this country, every hour more than one family will start the complex journey of living with a brain tumour. The impact that this diagnosis and treatment can have on an individual's physical ability, mental capacity and personality can be dramatic.

But so can the courage, strength and hope every affected person embodies. Since I was diagnosed 17 years ago I have met so many incredible people who have faced a prognosis that could leave many with anger and fear -- and I have been consistently amazed by the strength these survivors and families personify. They have been my inspiration as due to my brain tumour, I had to re-learn how to talk and walk again.

This is why the awareness efforts this month, and all year long by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada focus not just on the need for more research and improved treatments but also on the hope that patients and families thrive on - and create each and every day.

So we wear the grey ribbon and call attention to brain tumours -- for everyone fighting today, in tribute to those past and for everyone in the future who will hear those five words, "you have a brain tumour."