Anna Junge reached the lowest point in her life when doctors told her she had brain cancer and 12 months to live.
Though she had experienced 10 months of symptoms, including head-splitting pain, vertigo, and occasional numbness around her upper lip and nose, the wife and mother of two nearly spiralled when she heard the news.
She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer with only five per cent of those diagnosed surviving more than five years. She had beat breast cancer just a year before.
“It was devastating to hear those words,” said Junge. “This was never in our plans, but my husband was a rock. He didn’t show me his fear, even though I knew it was there. We were strong for each other and he helped keep the house under some form of sanity.”
That moment was nearly three years ago.
|Anna Junge’s scars after her second craniotomy. (Courtesy of Anna Junge)|
Fast forward to today and Junge still deals with fatigue, memory loss and noise sensitivity, but she’s kinder to herself by taking time to rest and be more present. After all, she’s one of the rare cases.
After she underwent her first treatment, which included a craniotomy, radiation and chemotherapy, the cancer returned in June 2018. Since then, she has gone off chemo and had a second craniotomy. She said one of the highest points of her life was coming out of that surgery successfully.
Now, as Victoria’s ambassador for the Brain Tumour Foundation, she’s building her team for her third Brain Tumour Walk on Saturday, June 27, to raise $50k for cancer research. She raised more than $15,000 as of Thursday.
She’s partnered with the Bayanihan Community Centre to sell traditional Filipino foods, with all proceeds headed towards the foundation. Organizers are taking pre-orders until Saturday, June 27 and pick-up is available from 4 to 6 p.m the same day at 1709 Blanshard St.
“I am blessed for every day I am given and I cherish each one,” said Junge in a recent blog post for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.
“I am not fully healed but am hopeful that I will continue to make progress. My husband has been an amazing caregiver and has supported me everyday. It has been hard for the both of us but we have grown closer and understand how precious life together is.”
Like most events this year the Brain Tumour Walk is virtual, with opening ceremonies hosted by Alan Cross on live stream Saturday, June 27 at noon at facebook.com/BrainTumourFdn. After the online event, Canadians are encouraged to take steps and share their activity online with the hashtag #VirtualBrainTumourWalk.