The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s annual walk will be held virtually this year and features an ambassador from Whitehorse, Joshua Hunt.
Gerald Creces, a marketing and communications associate with the foundation, spoke with the News on May 19 regarding the virtual walk and Hunt’s story (Hunt himself was not available for an interview before press time).
Creces explained that the usual walk for brain tumour awareness has been modified this year due to concerns over COVID-19. For safety reasons, it was decided to make it virtual rather than cancelling it.
“It’s not an option not to do this,” Creces said.
There were originally 22 cities that were going to participate over several days, but the plan has shifted to having one event that everyone could participate in.
With the event being virtual, he said there are opportunities for people to get creative, meaning people could go out and do a walk around their block or some other activity. He suggested people could dance or juggle instead of walking.
“However you want to take part is very much up to you,” Creces said.
He said people are still fundraising, getting together with their teams and staying active on social media pages.
The foundation will be doing a lot of the virtual stuff online through Facebook live on its page. That way, people can log in from all over the country and check out what is going on. He said there will be an opening ceremony.
Participants will be asked to share their stories of dealing with brain tumours.
“We just want to make it a fun and engaging experience,” Creces said.
The virtual walk will take place on June 27. There has been no start time set as of yet because of the challenge from all the time zones.
The date was chosen due to the fact that on any given day there are 27 people that will be diagnosed with a tumour in Canada. By having it on the 27th, they can bring attention to that number.
“There are a lot of people affected by this, and it doesn’t always get the attention it necessarily should,” Creces said.
As part of the– awareness for the number 27, the foundation selected 27 ambassadors for various Canadian cities. Whitehorse was one of them, with Hunt being the ambassador.
The rules have changed this year, as normally they select one person to participate and tell his or her story. This year, they’re hoping more people will share their stories.
Creces added that people who may be suffering from a brain tumour go to the walks to find support from other people.
Hunt’s story is featured on the foundation’s website.
Hunt underwent surgery on a non-malignant brain tumour more than 20 years ago and, according to his story online, wants to inform everyone that a tumour that’s not cancerous can still have long-term or lifelong impacts.
Hunt, for example, uses his left side more now and crowded and loud situations can become overwhelming. He’s developed strategies to cope with other effects, the website says — for example, he uses ice packs for migraines and does into a dark, quiet rom when he’s over-stimulated.
Creces said Hunt wanted to share his story and hopes that people with brain tumours will see that they are manageable.
Hunt also wants to show people that he is living a normal life more than 20 years later.
Creces said it is important for people with brain tumours to know they are not alone. He said these conditions can be isolating and hopes people will come away from the walk knowing they have support.
People can sign up and register online at www.braintumour.ca.
Contact Gord Fortin at firstname.lastname@example.org