Calgarian organizes fundraiser for brain cancer research in Alberta

In 2009, after months of intense headaches and depression, 32-year-old Alyson Woloshyn received news she didn’t want to hear.

Woloshyn was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a fatal form of brain cancer.

She is now 35, having outlived the six-month expectancy rate by almost 30 months. She continues to look to the future, and to use her experience to raise money for brain cancer research.

“As a person who believes in service, and believes in giving back, you need to put in more than you take out,” said Woloshyn. “I knew that just the chemo, cost the province of Alberta $50,000. So I thought, if I can raise $50,000, I’ve kind of evened it out.”

Woloshyn, who works in enrolment services at UofC, planned to hold a fundraiser to mark her 35th birthday and to raise $35,000 for brain cancer research, but “cancer had other plans for me,” she said.

In September – the day after her 35th birthday – Woloshyn experienced what her medical team believed to be a third recurrence of the cancer. She underwent a cranioscopy and began a clinical trial of a new brain cancer drug. Her hopes of the fundraiser had to be put on hold.

Alyson Woloshyn and her husband, Jared Long, have dedicated the last two years of their lives to dealing with Woloshyn’s fatal and inoperable brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme.

Photo by: Samara HawkinsOn Thursday, November 24, Woloshyn is getting an opportunity to continue fundraising, with assistance from the Alberta Cancer Foundation and her network of friends and family.

Cathy Parker, a financial associate for Bergh Tatomir Financial Services, and friend of Woloshyn’s, is assisting in the logistics of the event.

When Parker found out that Woloshyn was planning this event she decided to help out. “I came into work and talked to some of the clients that I deal with, to see if they would be interested in helping out with a donation of some sort for the silent auction,” Parker said.

Through Parker’s network, the Grey Matters silent auction has received donations such as tickets for an upcoming Flames game, along with a $100 gift certificate for The Living Room, a local Calgary restaurant.

Other items up for bid in the silent auction include gift baskets from Nestlé Canada, Franklin Templeton Investments and Melrose Café & Bar. All of the money raised at the event will go directly to new brain cancer research conducted in Alberta, through the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Parker and Woloshyn both attended the University of Waterloo and met in 2010 through Waterloo’s official alumni chapter in Calgary.

“I think that if I were in her shoes, or if at some point I have kids in her shoes, helping now, maybe research will be far enough ahead if they ever had to deal with it,” Parker added.

Shauna Quinn, another friend of Woloshyn’s also stepped up to the plate. Quinn is an international event specialist and consultant. Although Quinn is not involved with the planning of the event directly, she still offered her network of contacts and expertise in “thinking outside the box.”

“When she was first diagnosed I had just had my first baby. We drove her to (a) chemotherapy appointment and I thought, wow, having cancer is like having a baby. It consumes your life, with care and attention and never knowing what to expect next. Only a baby brings you joy and a few sleepless nights. Cancer gives you sleepless nights and you try to find some joy,” said Quinn in an email.

Despite the physical and emotional strain of battling terminal cancer, Woloshyn remains active in her everyday life and in the cancer community.

“Without new treatments, I’m dead. That’s why I’ve been so focused on fundraising for brain cancer research,” she said.

The Grey Matters event will be held at Tilted Grill, at 1800, Fourth St. S.W. at 7 p.m., and is hosted by City TV’s Tara Sloane.

Woloshyn will be speaking at the event about her experience with brain cancer, as well as her oncologist, Dr. Jacob Easaw.

shawkins@cjournal.ca

Calgarian organizes fundraiser for brain cancer research in Alberta

 

SAMARA HAWKINS

shawkins@cjournal.ca

 

In 2009, after months of intense headaches and depression, 32-year-old Alyson Woloshyn received news she didn’t want to hear.

 

Woloshyn was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a fatal form of brain cancer.

 

She is now 35, having outlived the six-month expectancy rate by almost 30 months. She continues to look to the future, and to use her experience to raise money for brain cancer research.

 

“As a person who believes in service, and believes in giving back, you need to put in more than you take out,” said Woloshyn. “I knew that just the chemo, cost the province of Alberta $50,000. So I thought, if I can raise $50,000, I’ve kind of evened it out.”

 

Woloshyn, who works in enrolment services at UofC, planned to hold a fundraiser to mark her 35th birthday and to raise $35,000 for brain cancer research, but “cancer had other plans for me,” she said.

 

In September – the day after her 35th birthday – Woloshyn experienced what her medical team believed to be a third recurrence of the cancer. She underwent a cranioscopy and began a clinical trial of a new brain cancer drug. Her hopes of the fundraiser had to be put on hold.

 

On Thursday, November 24, Woloshyn is getting an opportunity to continue fundraising, with assistance from the Alberta Cancer Foundation and her network of friends and family.

 

Cathy Parker, a financial associate for Bergh Tatomir Financial Services, and friend of Woloshyn’s, is assisting in the logistics of the event.

 

When Parker found out that Woloshyn was planning this event she decided to help out. “I came into work and talked to some of the clients that I deal with, to see if they would be interested in helping out with a donation of some sort for the silent auction,” Parker said.

 

Through Parker’s network, the Grey Matters silent auction has received donations such as tickets for an upcoming Flames game, along with a $100 gift certificate for The Living Room, a local Calgary restaurant.

 

Other items up for bid in the silent auction include gift baskets from Nestlé Canada, Franklin Templeton Investments and Melrose Café & Bar. All of the money raised at the event will go directly to new brain cancer research conducted in Alberta, through the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

 

Parker and Woloshyn both attended the University of Waterloo and met in 2010 through Waterloo’s official alumni chapter in Calgary.

 

“I think that if I were in her shoes, or if at some point I have kids in her shoes, helping now, maybe research will be far enough ahead if they ever had to deal with it,” Parker added.

 

Shauna Quinn, another friend of Woloshyn’s also stepped up to the plate. Quinn is an international event specialist and consultant. Although Quinn is not involved with the planning of the event directly, she still offered her network of contacts and expertise in “thinking outside the box.”

 

“When she was first diagnosed I had just had my first baby. We drove her to (a) chemotherapy appointment and I thought, wow, having cancer is like having a baby. It consumes your life, with care and attention and never knowing what to expect next.  Only a baby brings you joy and a few sleepless nights. Cancer gives you sleepless nights and you try to find some joy,” said Quinn in an email.

 

Despite the physical and emotional strain of battling terminal cancer, Woloshyn remains active in her everyday life and in the cancer community.

 

“Without new treatments, I’m dead. That’s why I’ve been so focused on fundraising for brain cancer research,” she said.

 

The Grey Matters event will be held at Tilted Grill, at 1800, Fourth St. S.W. at 7 p.m., and is hosted by City TV’s Tara Sloane.

 

Woloshyn will be speaking at the event about her experience with brain cancer, as well as her oncologist, Dr. Jacob Easaw.