Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

April 24, 2007 13:24 ET

Girl's Memory A Legacy for Brain Tumour Patients

A light that burned out too quickly, Kelly Northey's legacy has led to shining hope for brain tumour patients in Canada. Her memory lives on in a way that could light the way to a cure.

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, Sports Editor LONDON, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - April 24, 2007) - Her smile was infectious and her boundless energy helped win the affection of every person she met in her short lifetime. A light that burned out too quickly, her story has led to shining hope for thousands of people across Canada. And her memory lives on in a legacy that could light the way to a cure for a devastating disease.

Kelly Northey was 8 years old when she was first diagnosed with a brain tumour. The year was 1981 and at that time, there was little by way of organized support or a solid base of knowledge since little specific research into brain tumours was being conducted. There was certainly not anything such as an encompassing national organization. Patients struggled alone with the physical and emotional effects of having benign or malignant tumours growing inside their brain destroying their faculties and simplest physical abilities. After a six month struggle, on January 30, 1982 Kelly finally succumbed to the disease, but her legacy was to live on with the creation of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Twenty-five years later, the foundation created from one little girl's inspiration is celebrating its ability to have positively impacted the lives of people affected by brain tumours across Canada. It was the intention of Steve Northey, Dr. Rolando Del Maestro - who was working on a brain research laboratory at the time - and his wife, Pamela, a registered nurse, at the fateful meeting around a kitchen table shortly after Kelly's death to devise a resource that would aid families in a similar situation.

"It was a father's way of dealing with his grief and trying to turn a bad thing into a good thing," said Northey of his involvement in the foundation's infancy. "It's very gratifying in the sense we've been able to help so many thousands of people."

By providing support, education, information and to fund research, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has been making a difference to the lives of the over 55,000 people currently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Since 1985, over $1.8 million in direct funding to research has been raised, spread among 82 research projects. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is the sole funder of the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank that provides free samples to clinical researchers around the world to further the search for a cure. A national network of support groups has grown in 2006 to a total of 18 from Halifax to Victoria, with two new groups beginning in Sudbury and Calgary. A patient handbook, now in its fifth edition, is available in the two official languages (French and English) and distributed across Canada available free of charge.

All Canadians have the ability to contribute themselves in bringing hope and helping to imagine a cure by participating in Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada's national fundraising walk-a-thon in their local community. Spring Sprints celebrate life and hope, and remember those who have lost their battle with a brain tumour. This year Spring Sprints are being held in 19 communities and 8 provinces from Halifax to Vancouver throughout April to June. Participants can log on to for more information and to register.

"I think I've always looked at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as Kelly's legacy," Northey reflects. "Without my little girl none of this would have happened."

2007 Spring Sprint Dates
Toronto April 28
Barrie May 5
Vancouver May 5
Victoria May 6
Brampton May 6
London May 6
Montréal May 6
Ottawa May 12
Kitchener/Waterloo May 12
Fredericton May 26
Guelph May 26
Belleville May 26
Halifax May 27
Edmonton June 2
Winnipeg June 2
Calgary June 3
Saskatoon June 3
Sudbury June 3
Windsor June 10 /For further information: 620 Colborne St., Suite 301, London, ON N6B 3R9 IN: EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, HEALTH, SOCIAL, SPORTS

Contact Information

  • A. Paul Mitchell, Community Relations Officer, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
    Primary Phone: 519-642-7755 ext. 32
    Toll-Free: 800-265-5106