“ You can rock anything if you have the confidence. Even a brain tumour! Took me 5 yrs to learn this but better late than never!
Samantha Wright is another mAss Kicker from “Down Under.” We connected with her online through the Facebook group, “Brain Tumour Ahoy Hoy.” In 2009, she was diagnosed with a grade 2 oligoastrocytoma. Samantha is currently looking to establish BTAH as a recognized charity in Australia. We enjoy connecting with survivors from different area of the world! We are honored to find some time with her and ask her a few questions.
mK: Thanks for doing this Samantha! How are brain tumours perceived in Australia?
SW: I think if you mention a brain tumour people tend to not know a lot about them. Before I was diagnosed, I didn’t know a lot about them either.
mK: For many people here in the United States it is the same. The only time people hear about brain tumors is when someone famous gets one and dies! How did you find out about your diagnosis?
SW: I had a tonic colonic seizure at my friends house. She had to give me mouth to mouth because I went blue and stopped breathing.
mK: Scary! What were your symptoms?
SW: I never had migraines or anything like that.
But looking back I was always really tired.
When I was at work I used to put a paper up with my back to the lunch room door and pretend to read the paper but I would actually have a nap!
And my hang overs were always much worse than my friends!!
mK: The symptoms of brain tumours often mimic other conditions. Sadly, there is no way yet to efficiently diagnose a brain tumour other than an MRI. So it is usually a lengthy process of elimination. How are you doing now? What are you up to?
SW: I don’t work at the moment so I am putting all my energy into my online support group BTAH – Brain Tumour Ahoy Hoy.
I spend most of my time making brain tumour awareness merchandise and fundraising for BTAH to become a registered charity and I raise money for other various brain tumour charities.
mK: What were some of your side-effects from treatment?
SW: With my 1st operation I was paralysed in my right arm and hand and I could not talk. I am happy to say that I have recovered physically and I only regress and have trouble with my speech when I am tired or feeling stressed. Psychologically, mentally and personally I will never be the same. But I learn something about my self every day and I try not to be too hard on my self and I like to make the most of what life has to offer.
mK: Very cool! What motivates you?
SW: This may sound sad but its the truth- What motivates me and keeps me going is attending too many funerals of my good friends That I have made through BTAH.
The injustice of them being taken too soon motivates me.
They were really good honorable people, I miss them every day.
I think Its ok to be sad if you channel that sadness into doing something good for others and your self.
mK: Who are your personal heroes?
SW: People who lead by example & walk their talk.
People who have good hearts and integrity.
People who enjoy adventures and like to laugh.
People who are kind.
These people are my heroes.
mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
SW: Laugh -Sounds awful but if someone else hurts them selves like stubs their toe it makes me laugh! I am guilty at laughing at my own jokes! Silliness makes me laugh. Clever wit impresses me.
Cry – When I’m the one who has stubbed their toe!
Angry – When I’m the one who has stubbed their toe and some one is laughing at me!
mK: HAHAHA! Just watch where your going… hee hee What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
SW: My traveling adventures for sure. I back packed around Europe for 2 months.
I lived in London for 5 and a half years. I’ve also to been to New York, Canada and Egypt.
mK: That is great! What is the toughest challenge a survivor faces?
SW: I think every one is different, but my toughest challenge is finding a stress free supportive job that I enjoy. And dealing with my anxiety and depression after surgery.
mK: What is your guilty pleasure?
mK: Hee hee hee. Beer is the international beverage of friendship. (I just made that up.) Here is another question for you… If you were re-incarnated as something or someone, what would it be and why?
SW: I would like to come back as a really famous person, who earns trillions of dollars. So I could buy a rain forest and/or lots of land to preserve nature and have lots of animals on it so I could look after them.
And I’d campaign for the environment and a animal cruelty free world.
I would also spread brain tumour awareness to the world so we could get more funding and research happening to find a cure for brain tumours.
Because I feel people tend to listen more and emulate rich celebrities!
mK: Got ya! What are is next on your agenda?
SW: I’m in the process of organising a brain tumour fundraiser coming up for the Isabella and Marcus Fund on the 4th of September 2015. And it just so happens to be around my birthday, so I’m also having it as my birthday party!
I’m going to put the FUN in FUNdraising!
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
SW: If you are not happy with your suggested treatment – Get a 2nd opinion.
Non operable – Get a 2nd opinion.
Don’t like your doctor’s bed side manner – Get a 2nd opinion.
When you go to see a doctor or anything brain tumour related take someone with you. And take a pen and paper to write down notes on what was said.
Make a list of questions for your doctor and take it with you.
If you need support and/or advice go to a brain tumour website like International Brain Tumour Alliance. They can help you on financial, mental, care giver needs and much more.
Please know You are not alone! Help is out there
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
SW: A brick fell on my head from a 2 story building when I was 5.
mK: Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
SW: You can rock anything if you have the confidence.
Even a brain tumour!
Took me 5 yrs to learn this but better late than never
Samantha Wright: falling brick magnet, FUNdraiser, future-famous-person philanthropist, beer aficionado, world traveler, “toe stubber”, and passionate Australian brain tumour advocate. Keep up the great work Samantha! We’ll keep an eye on you guys in Australia! Check out Brain Tumour Ahoy Hoy to see what they are up to!