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Sprinter springs to action for brain tumour awareness

By Shelby Wye

Ben Seewald has been hopping on planes and hitting the road since the beginning of April. He has traveled across Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver.

He is attending the 2013 Spring Sprints, a project developed by the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

The Brain Tumour Foundation looks to support those diagnosed with brain tumours, and their family, along with educate the public on brain tumours and how they affect someone’s life. The Spring Sprints are a fundraiser, to bring money into their research.

The money raised by the event allows the foundation to fund research into the cause and cures for brain tumours, along with providing support and information for those diagnosed with a brain tumour.

This is very important to Seewald. When he was 18 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumour. The tumour was removed without complications, but the affects it had on Seewald were dramatic.

“How many adults can say they’ve had to learn how to walk and talk again?” said Seewald, “It took me two years to recover fully from the surgery.”

“Attitude is everything. I just never conceived the fact that I wouldn’t get better, that I wouldn’t recover fully. And that was a huge benefit, just looking at that situation in a positive light.

Seewald attended support groups for those with brain tumours, and eventually worked with the Brain Tumour Foundation, helping to conceive the idea of the Spring Sprints

“I’ve made hugely intense relationships with some other patients, and now to honour their life and their memory, I help organize and run [the Spring Sprints], and reflect on how they affected me and how their presence won’t be forgotten. “

Seewald was an athlete in high school, and loves running. He likes the idea of the Spring Sprints because it proves that those with brain tumours shouldn’t let their diagnosis stop them from doing what they love.

He has talked with tens of thousands of patients, listening to their stories and supporting them through the tough times.

“This diagnosis tears your life apart, and every journey is unique,” he said, “I always try to bring the message of staying positive and focusing on the good things here, and not get pulled into the victim mentality.”

Belleville’s Spring Sprint this Saturday will be Seewald’s 10th and final run this year.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the community again, and to help the Brain Tumour Foundation further research and to help support and educate those going through it right now.”

He said the brain tumour community is such a powerful, positive presence, and that across Canada, there is a preserving attitude towards dealing with their diagnosis.

“I think that brain tumours as a medical disease is one of those things that people don’t want to talk about, and is so scary and we just don’t know what’s happening in the brain…but I just want people to know that a brain tumour does not equal a death sentence.”

For more information on the Spring Sprints, check out their website [1].