Twenty-twenty was going to be a normal – if not more relaxed – year for Allison. That was her mindset heading into January. Her three young children were coming into their own. William (then 4) had boundless energy, keeping Allison busy. Maxwell (then 3) would be going to school in September, excited to make new friends. Madison (then 1) was beginning to talk, her personality shining through and mirroring Allison’s strong and joyful nature. Allison was flourishing in her role at House of Friendship, a not-for-profit in Kitchener-Waterloo, focusing on helping the less fortunate. She was excited that – with her life normalizing after 3 pregnancies in 5 years – she would finally have more time to enjoy with family and friends.
As she was getting into the routines that the New Year brought, Allison started to feel off. First the head aches started. Then numbness along the right side of her body. When her vision began to blur she decided it was time to visit the doctor. An appointment was booked for February 18th, which led to the discovery of a tumour in her brain.
From there, a series of worst-case scenarios came at Allison like a ton of bricks. The tumour, which was discovered on the Tuesday was confirmed to be cancer on the Thursday. At the same time, the tumour was confirmed to be where the brain meets the brainstem, an area of the brain that is inoperable. A biopsy was scheduled for the following Wednesday and lasted for nearly 7 long hours with devastating results.
Glioblastoma. Grade 4
From there, Allison’s journey followed a path that escalated faster than initially anticipated. The average person that receives Allison’s diagnosis survives roughly 18 months, but what became apparent in Allison’s case was how quickly the quality of life declines.
A week after the biopsy we all talked about wanting one more true conversation with Allison, one where we can talk back-and-forth, swap stories and where Allison is Allison.
Unfortunately we never got that conversation. Her symptoms came quickly and included memory loss, lack of mobility, difficulty speaking and a decline in her cognitive abilities. And when 6 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatment had minimal impacts on her symptoms, Allison passed away peacefully on June 17th, 2020, 4 months less a day after the tumour was discovered.
The DUNN with Cancer run is for Allison.
The DUNN with Cancer run is also for each person who has been or will be impacted by glioblastoma.
While we are early in our journey to find a cure, what is crucial now is to find methods for improving and extending the quality of life of those diagnosed with glioblastoma. 100% of donations raised will go towards the DUNN with Cancer Research Fund, which will fund research that will allow us to better treat glioblastoma and hopefully – one day – allow families to avoid having a similar fate.