Kashaya (L) and Kian (R).
Motivated by her sister Kashaya’s journey with a rare brain tumour, Kian decided to join our team for the Canberra Times Australian Running Festival this weekend in a show of support for Kashaya, while raising much-needed funds for vital brain cancer research, advocacy and awareness.
Words by Kian Kuemmel.
My sister had been physically unwell for around a year. “Your work/life balance is off, and you’re stressed,” was regular feedback Kashaya received when approaching several General Practitioners throughout 2018. This advice wasn’t news to a fit, 28-year-old vegan who regularly meditates. Fast-forward a year to when
she felt a liquid sensation inside her skull and forgot how to drive a car,
after receiving her brain scan results her symptoms were considered less
psychosomatic. Kashaya had a brain tumour in her inferior frontal lobe.
Before I go any further, I
want to honour the significant impact this diagnosis has had on Kashaya and the
brave way in which she has managed it so far. You just need to look into her
indigo blue eyes and appreciate the thankful smile she sports in this photo
that was taken a couple of hours post-biopsy.
This diagnosis has also had an impact on Kashaya’s family and friends. Throughout the process there have been a number of struggles, from knowing whether to hypothesize “you are strong, and things will all work out,” and being realistic by accepting that, while thoughts and prayers makes for a comforting environment, they are not a cure.
There have been many devastating days since January 2019, but there have also been many outstanding days filled with the same enthusiasm, humour and cheerfulness that existed prior to Kashaya’s diagnosis. While the physical changes which quickly spiralled into a frightening state appear to have eased in recent weeks, the impact of emotional and cognitive symptoms were hard to digest. Were we aware of these? Sure, we had read about them. Were we prepared for them? No, it was the first time we have witnessed someone so close affected by a brain tumour.
While being our best
pillars of support for Kashaya, it is natural to feel entirely helpless by our
inability to eradicate this for her. Changes common to brain tumours can be
distressing as it is quite an emotional ride watching your loved one act in a
way that is different to their natural state. As a family, we quickly
appreciated that each of us needed support throughout this journey and some
direction on how to act, respond, and to communicate your feelings and needs
will go a long way.
Learn more about Kashaya's brain tumour journey - via WIN News Illawarra.
It’s natural to feel hurt by an outburst or a mood swing. We’re human. They’re always going to sting, and plus it’s just another glaring physical sign that, in our case, our best friend, our sister, and daughter is unwell and there is not a thing we can do to reverse this. In fact, I find it’s important to add that it’s natural and normal to feel any emotion, there is no right or wrong way to feel.
One feeling that I knew was right was that I needed to respond to this in a way that would make a real difference, and that’s why I’m running to raise money for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in the Australian Running Festival on Saturday, 13 April 2019. I’m running because I’ve been deeply inspired by my sister who has so far raised more than $13,000 to help fund vital brain cancer research, advocacy and awareness.
I am running in honour of those who were not able to survive their disease, and I’m running to change the trajectory of somebody else’s life. In Australia, brain cancer kills more children than any other disease, and more people under 40 than any other cancer. More than 1,600 Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer each year, of which 1,200 will die. This is a mortality rate that must be reversed.
Donate to Kian's Australian Running Festival fundraising page.
Join our team for the Australian Running Festival