My parents, Gerry Matthews and Christine Seguin, were diagnosed with Glioblastoma within weeks of each other. Click here to read their story.
When my dad was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, we, as a family, didn’t delve into too much research. We listened to and trusted the doctors and were happy to oblige to whatever they felt was best. (I do not regret that decision!!). However this meant that we had yet to see what the prognosis of a GBM was. (Only 3% live past 3 years if you’re wondering.) But from there, after a 2 week recovery in the hospital, we were sent home with him and all left to our own devices. We quickly learned to become nurses and PSW’s, therapists even. Then only 3 days later I redid it all but with my mom. Only this time with eyes wide open. At this point the neurosurgeons have done their job and you are passed on to radiation and oncology, but there is a lot of grey area in there where you are are left alone to sort out a brand new confusing and terrifying territory. What they don’t always tell you is that your last “year” (average) may not look like it did before.
Would YOU want to know?
When you have already been delivered an unimaginable blow of being told they only have a year to live, would you want to go in with eyes wide open, knowing that they would likely become frustrated and agitated due to steroids? Loose most of their short term memory? Or that you would now be helping them do almost all of the small tasks they used to do on their own? Let me be clear that these are averages. I have seen so many GBM patients come out of their resections and treatment with little to no deficits. But most don’t.
OUR FIRST SLAY FAMILY
Guys, please let me introduce you to our Slay Family recipient: Chantal Brown, her husband Steve and two boys, Aiden (9) and Lucas (6).
Chantal is a homegrown Ottawa girl who moved out West a few years ago with her little family. In March 2019, Chantal’s dad, Denis Poirier, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Since then Chantal has been flying back home, from Calgary to Ottawa, to be with and care for her father. Some visits she comes alone, but other visits she brings one of her boys to allow them an opportunity to see their grandpa.
Denis is currently at the Civic hospital and has undergone a 4th brain surgery. None of this has left him without complications, and Chantal has struggled with being on the other side of the country throughout all of this. Her monthly plane rides in, and time away from work have placed a big financial strain on her family but they decided to take that on to make the most of the time they had left with her dad. Caregiving is not easy. Caregiving from the other end of the country must be even harder. In late March of this year, right in the throes of Covid, we worked together with YOU to support a family with an online auction.
Through this Glioblastoma journey I had met a girl who’s dad was just over one year into a GBM diagnosis and living at a hospital in Ottawa while his only daughter (and POA) tried to care for him as best she could from Alberta. She left her 2 young boys and her very supportive husband and flew across the country every month for one year. She had even left her job. Imagine the financial toll this takes. But I know first hand that as a daughter, you do whatever it takes to care for the people who always did whatever it took for you.
In one weekend with our online auction we raised enough money to fly her and her family here and home several times! Only days later, government mandated rules would restrict her (or anyone) from stepping foot into the hospital to visit or care for her dad.
Finally this week, as rules have started to lighten up, she has made it here to Ottawa and is with her dad again!!! She is prepared to return again in a few weeks as his condition deteriorates. He went from lonely, depressed and crying most days, as he spends his last weeks or months in isolation, to having his baby girl back with him!! Could this fill your heart any more????? Thank you to all who supported our very first fundraiser and helped make these trips so much less of a financial burden for Chantal.
From Chantal Brown, for all of YOU!!! “WOW! I just wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the sponsors, participators and most importantly, organizers of this online auction. I am deeply grateful for the kindness and compassion you have all extended to my family during this difficult time. Laura Dill, thank you for your continued strength, support and courage as we both navigate through our journeys.”
TOGETHER we raised an insane $4,281!!
She is crying happy tears somewhere in Calgary!! Well done guys!
OUR NEWEST SLAY FAMILY
That is Jeremy on the left. Get ready to hold your heart in your hands as I go on to tell you a little bit about Jeremy and his family. Stick with me until the end. In 2013 Jeremy suffered a seizure while driving from work to pick up his sons at school. He never made it to the school. His car left the road, smashing into a light post. Ambulance arrived and quickly rushed him to emerge where, after several blood tests and virtually zero explanations, they finally decided to do a CT Scan. The scan revealed a golf ball sized brain tumour. After second opinions, many tears and several options, Jeremy decided to have the tumour removed. The tumour was a grade 3 Astrocytoma.
Fast forward to recently and Jeremy started to experience loss of balance and stroke like symptoms with partial facial paralysis. (Being American, he’d had to stop the anti-seizure medications he had been on because he didn’t have the insurance for it). He was rushed to the hospital again one night this Spring. Another scan revealed that the cavity of the tumour site was filling up with fluid, causing his confusion, lack of imbalance and motor function. A surgery to install a port to continuously drain the fluid from the brain was immediate.
But we don’t end here. During that surgery which took place this past June, during COVID and therefore Jeremy was alone, they discovered new growing cancer cells along the cavity wall of the original resected tumour site. Only these ones had evolved to a grade 4 Glioblastoma. A new tumour was forming.
Due to the location of this tumour, another resection would come with incredibly likelihood of major to full loss of motor function, among other things. Jeremy had to consider whether living a life of deficits would be worth the risks. He chose not to operate and enjoy his life here, being fully present. He is currently undergoing treatment through chemo and radiation as well as sporting a new Optune device. However his treatment is momentarily paused while they sort out abnormal blood levels and perform a liver biopsy in the coming week. He chose to fight hard and with all of the dignity and grit he can summon because he has 4 children to raise and continue being a role model for.
Devin, 14, the protective and compassionate big brother is also Jeremy’s prime caregiver and dinner-maker when things get tough. And as a typical American teenager with the gift of height, he has big dreams of being a pro basketball player and he practices like it’s his job!
DJ, a big hearted, animal loving 12 year old. A gamer through and through and supplementary care giver to his dad.
11 year old Drake, the intellectual one who came into this world as a preemie with a lot of catching up to do!!!! He has more than made up for that with his gifted level of intelligence and devotion to his family.
And then, sweet little Delaney. The prayed for baby girl that Jeremy always wanted. This gymnastics and dance loving 7 year old spends most of her free time cartwheeling across the yard. She is well cared for by her 3 big brothers who she looks up to and adores and helps take care of her dad every chance she gets.
Jeremy is only 37. Oh and did I mention, Jeremy is a FULL. TIME. SINGLE. father? Are you crying? Cause I’m crying. This family needs our support.
This fall’s PLANTOPIA raised $12,247!!!!!
We are gifting $9,000 to Jeremy Allen and his family as they help him navigate his journey through glioblastoma treatment as a single full time father to 4 beautiful children
$2,500 will be donated to Cure Glioblastoma, a non profit that I stand behind and am an ambassador to
The rest will be put back into the Slay Foundation account to continue to help families who need a little extra love
From Jeremy: Wanted to drop in quick and give you all a huge shoutout for coming out, showing support and helping our friend Laura Dill accomplish her crazy goal that involved raising money for research for glioblastoma, her amazing foundation that is doing big things and I believe will continue to do even bigger things, the motivation that she has is unmatched by any I have ever seen and she and all of you that came out deserve so much more than just a thank you. Being located so far away and stuck because of covid and cancer kept us from being able to be in attendance, which if it were a possibility we would have definitely been in attendance and helping support Laura's foundation. You all have no idea how much this helps my family and ease our minds with the donations. Please feel free to add me on social media as I will continue to keep Laura and everyone else who came out in support updated.
You are such an inspiration Laura and we are so thankful for everything you have done and are doing. I know you have your hands full so if that time ever come even though I'm half a world away and there's anything we can do for you or for the foundation please let us know!!!! My family every fall has a fish fry at my aunt and uncles house and you were definitely the talk of the party last night, not even kidding. Everyone is just so amazed at the person that you are even after have going thru what you have with both of your parents. Keep it up you are an inspiration to so many people out there.