Oakville Mom turns Tragedy in to Triumph

Supporting Wellspring Cancer Support Centre

Oakville Mom turns Tragedy in to Triumph
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Alexandra Breen

Alexandra Breen is a Toronto based freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Flare, Fashion Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and the National Post.

“As a mother of 2 young children, I want my kids to know that if there is something you believe in, you can do it. You are never too old to try something new,” says 38 year old Oakville resident Louise Brans-Fitzgibbon.

She’s referring to the fact that in less than one month, she’ll be embarking on the trip of a lifetime. Alongside two friends, Oakville’s Selena McLeod and Burlington’s Jane Fowler, Brans-Fitzgibbon will climb Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world on a 7 day long trek led by Oakville’s Mountain Climbing Adventures. The idea for the quest came after Brans-Fitzgibbon lost her father, Alan Brans, 2.5 years ago to an aggressive form of colon cancer.

“Watching my dad live with his cancer, somedays it felt as though he was climbing a mountain just to stay with us,” she explains. “Not to mention, many people would have moved a mountain to still have him here. So to honour his journey I wanted to climb a mountain myself.”

Elderly man at the Helm of a sailboat

Alan Brans enjoying a favourite pastime. Photo Credit: Brans Family

Early on in her father’s nearly two year battle with cancer, his doctors at Princess Margaret hospital in Toronto told him about an organization called Wellspring (2545 Sixth Line) which offers support to patients living with cancer and their families. Their programs, which are free of charge, run the gamut from nutrition classes and meditation to art therapy and financial planning.

“His mood and morale really lifted once he started going there,” says Brans-Fitzgibbon. “My dad took seminars aimed at helping patients understand things like the side effects of chemotherapy, for example. He also participated in their cancer exercise programs which were great because they really understood his limitations. We even got to take some yoga classes together,” she remembers fondly.

Grateful for the impact this organization had on her father and her entire family’s life, Brans-Fitzgibbon has decided to use her upcoming trip as an opportunity to raise funds for Wellspring. Her goal? To reach $19,340, which is equivalent to $1/step up to the Summit at 19,340 feet. Aware that climbing the mountain is no small feat, Brans-Fitzgibbon says she’s made peace with the fact that altitude affects everyone differently, and she may not make it to the top. In the end, her main focus is trying to turn the tragedy of losing her dad into something positive and help others in the process.

To help Brans-Fitzgibbon reach her fundraising goals, please visit: Louise Brans Fundraiser for Wellspring 



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