New Brunswick

Gord Downie's story used by Fredericton group to tell people about brain tumours

Brain tumour survivors will be trying to raise awareness about their struggles on Saturday night as the Tragically Hip performs in their final concert of the iconic Canadian rock bank's summer tour.

Group for brain tumour patients will have a booth at Tragically Hip concert broadcast in Fredericton

Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie will perform on Aug. 20 in the final concert of the band's summer tour. There will be a public broadcast of that concert in Fredericton. (Canadian Press)

Brain tumour survivors will be trying to raise awareness about their struggles on Saturday night as the Tragically Hip performs in their final concert of the iconic Canadian rock bank's summer tour.

Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, announced earlier this year that he has terminal brain cancer.

Shortly after the shocking announcement, the band launched its summer Man Machine Poem tour, which is ending on Saturday night in Kingston, Ont.

Fredericton will be hosting a public broadcast of that concert and the brain tumour survivors and their friends and family will be stationed at a booth in Officer's Square.

They will also be there to show support for Downie. 

There will be information on brain tumours at the booth, as well as a large banner for people to sign and write a message to Downie.

I think the Tragically Hip and Gord's diagnosis have been very positive in creating awareness about this disease.- Caroline Walker

Caroline Walker, a support group facilitator with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, said Downie's story really touched the group.

Her son died from a brain tumour five years ago.

"His diagnosis is very serious and we have members in our support group with a similar diagnosis," she said.

"It's heart-wrenching."

She says despite the tragedy of the diagnosis, there is good that can come from it.

"I think the Tragically Hip and Gord's diagnosis have been very positive in creating awareness about this disease," said Walker

Survivor raises awareness

Benoit Poudrier was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago, but now lives tumour free. (CBC)
Benoit Poudrier will also be at Officer's Square trying to raise awareness about brain tumours. He was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour three years ago when he was 27. 

"It's a good way to raise awareness for it," said Poudrier. 

"When I got diagnosed that was one of things, I knew nothing about my brain tumour. Most of the doctors didn't know anything about my brain tumour. It was extremely rare. They had to do a lot of research just to figure out how to treat me. That was a lot of waiting and a lot of anxiety."

Poudrier was able to beat the tumour and lives tumour free.

Now he wants to share information with others so they won't have to experience the same anxiety he went through. 

"I'm just happy that we can provide a little more hope for people who are affected by this," said Poudrier.

"There's 27 diagnoses a day. It has a big impact, you just don't get to see it as much. But to me any kind of information that can be shared and that can help somebody is wonderful."

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.