Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) patient, Meg Keating, has planned the Brain Tumor Support Group's holiday celebration for the past three years.
She shared her personal experience following this year's party on December 20th:
"This year we went downtown to Wildfire Restaurant, where we had a lovely private room, delicious food served family style (for all the groups' tastes, allergies, and preferences), raffled off a few small donated prizes, and gave away to each family/party stuffed goody bags generously donated by a group member and her husband. This evening is always a good time; it is great to meet people's spouses, friends and / or family and celebrate our successes, struggles, and thank our caregivers and fabulous medical staff—especially the support group's facilitators, Advanced Practice Nurse, Mary Ellen Maher, and NBTI Social Worker, Mary Koludrovic, who donate many extra hours to the care of the group and its members.
I became involved with the support group shortly after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor in 2007. I was treated at Northwestern, and became aware of the group through my clinic visits. Mary Ellen Maher, encouraged me to attend, and I am so glad I did. I had been to a support group for young adults with cancer, but it was really helpful ( and hopeful) to meet other people who had the same diagnosis as me, going through the same treatments, had the same doctors, and were doing well!
I enjoy being part of the group, even more now that I am four years post-diagnosis. I love the sense of community we share, and I am happy to be an example to newly diagnosed people of how one can not only survive, but thrive, after a grave brain tumor diagnosis.
Our monthly meetings are a time for us, and our caregivers, if they attend, to talk about our questions, concerns, fears, and hopes. We celebrate milestones of good scans, anniversaries of diagnosis, and share in the sorrow of bad news or the loss of a group member. The December celebration is a fun time to try to forget our worries and enjoy the festivities that the holiday season brings. We focus on the joyful times, and the hope that we have that one day there will be a cure for this terrible disease.
I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with the group, and to helping with the planning for the 2012 Chicago Spring Half Marathon and 10K in May, benefitting the NBTI. I ran the 10K last year, and am looking forward to running again this year (with, hopefully, much better weather)!"
Read more about the NBTI Support Group and 2012 Meeting Dates