I speak english
32 years old
Group: 14 to 18 years old
When I took part in the expedition, I was: in remission
I had a benign brain tumour, a craniopharyngioma. I was 12 years old when I had surgery to remove it, and then 16 when it started growing back. The second time around, I had 6 weeks of radiation. I’ll be 30 this year, and still dealing with some side effects, but all in all, doing well. I just turned 17 when I went on my expedition. I had finished my radiation treatments a few months before going.
Why did you choose to take part in an expedition with the foundation?
At the time I felt pushed into it by my parents, friends and my social worker at CHEO. I don’t remember why I finally agreed, other than I guess my mom’s nagging wore me down haha
What were you fears or doubts before you jumped into the adventure?
I was pretty scared about going. I had never been that far away from my family before. I was going on a kayaking expedition, and not being very athletic, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I was shy, and nervous about spending two weeks with strangers. The first couple of days, I was homesick. But once I started getting to know everyone, I felt more comfortable.
What memories and benefits did you bring back home?
I came home with a new confidence. Having kayaked 110 km was not something I thought I could have done, and I was so proud of myself. I had made some great new friends, we got home and immediately added each other on Facebook. I found camaraderie with people who had similar experiences, and being able to talk to someone who understood.