Brain cancer can create many different challenges and dire situations. These stories represent people of all ages and circumstances. Each story is a vivid reminder of the fact that the disease does not discriminate, and does create unbelievable hardship and pain for all kinds of families. They are compelling and speak to the very real need for the support that the Phyllis Gordon Foundation provides.

These are true stories, based on the referral notes of our case worker:

Our client was an elderly woman with Alzheimers. Her daughter moved to Ontario to care for her mother. Shortly after arriving, her daughter was diagnosed with liver and brain cancer. Because she was from BC and had no OHIP coverage, she was not eligible for home care. Her prognosis was 6 weeks, so the Phyllis Gordon Foundation immediately responded to give both women the personal and household care that they needed.

A 55 year old man with an inoperable brain tumor was given a prognosis of probably only one month to live. He was self-employed as a drywaller and his wife worked 2 days per week as a house cleaner. He was cognitively impaired by his tumor and could not be left alone. Although their 25 year old daughter tried to be available to help when Mom was at work, it was not always possible. The family was receiving 5 days a week of personal care support from their provincial health coverage, but it was not enough to give them peace of mind. The Phyllis Gordon Foundation stepped in to fill in the gap by providing the other 2 days a week of personal care support in order to allow his wife to work without having to worry about her husband.

The Phyllis Gordon Foundation was able to provide help recently for a very sad situation. We often think of brain cancer as an adult’s disease, but it very often strikes children too. A 12 year old girl was diagnosed with a tumor in her inner ear. Her cancer spread to her brain and so she was at home with her family for her final days. Her mother and two siblings stayed with her all the time. Mom did not leave her little girl’s side, so the Phyllis Gordon Foundation was able to provide much needed help. We supported the mother with housekeepers to do the chores and help with the other children so that she could spend those last days focusing on her daughter.

A 45 year old married woman was on palliative chemotherapy for her brain cancer. She and her husband had moved in with her parents so that her mother could take care of her. Her father and husband both work and were out of the house most of the day. As a result of her illness, she was blind, had difficulties swallowing and profound weakness. She was unable to walk and required mobility aids. She required assistance with all of her personal care – eating, dressing, bathing, etc. The responsibility and physical challenge of providing all of this care for her daughter was almost more than her mother could handle. The Phyllis Gordon Foundation stepped in with much needed assistance, in the form of personal care workers whose extra hands and hearts lightened the load for this family.

An 18 year old boy was diagnosed with the most aggressive type of brain tumor. His prognosis was not good, however he completed his radiation and was moved into a rehabilitation centre. Sadly, he did not make much progress there and so moved home for his final months. He required 24 hour care because he could not walk and required assistance with eating, toileting, bathing and getting into his wheelchair. This young man lived with his single mother and a step-sister. His mother worked part-time as a personal care worker, helping other patients. She needed to continue to bring in an income for her family, so not working was not an option. They had no family here in Canada, nobody they could ask for help. Fortunately, the Phyllis Gordon Foundation was able to give this young man the care he deserved and his mother and sister the support they needed.

A 58 year old woman was deteriorating rapidly. She had pain, cognitive decline and was essentially wheelchair bound. She required assistance with all activities of daily living. Her husband worked during the day and at night took care of her. It was an extremely difficult time for them, but still their wishes were that she have the dignity of end of life care at home. Although she did have some services from the Community Care and Access Centre, it was not nearly enough. The Phyllis Gordon Foundation helped to give this woman the respect and dignity that she deserved by enabling additional in-home personal care support and companionship during her final days. We were able to lessen their stress and help them carry their heavy burden, knowing they were no longer on their own.

Most of our clients are referred to the Phyllis Gordon Foundation by Saint Elizabeth Health Care, Community Care and Access Centre and hospitals that are familiar with our foundation. The Phyllis Gordon Foundation is proud to partner with these organizations in their ongoing challenge of helping families stay together at home in a loving environment during these most difficult times.

The work of the Phyllis Gordon Foundation is a daily realization of the philosophy of caring that Phyllis lived while she was with us on this earth. The "specialness" for each single person is the legacy of the Phyllis Gordon Foundation. The Phyllis Gordon Foundation makes a difference not just for those with brain cancer, but also in helping their primary care givers and families. It is about love, and lightening the burden for them and the people who love them.