Fueled by his own experience, Garry Beattie is making an impact on brain cancer research with a recent $250,000 gift to the QEII Foundation’s Brain Tumour Research Fund.
The former president of the Nova Scotia Golf Association, who has represented the province at national championships, has been fiercely fighting glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumour, since being diagnosed in 2015.
Garry had just returned from a golf trip in the United States when he was rushed to the QEII Health Sciences Centre. He and his wife, Lori Duggan, thought he had suffered a stroke. A CT scan found a brain tumour and at 52 years old, Garry underwent his first brain surgery.
The surgery was successful but he lost his ability to speak and walk. He had to learn to do both again but Garry continues to battle the same type of tumour that took the life of The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie. Despite having undergone four brain surgeries so far, Garry hasn’t lost his infectious sense of humour, his skills on the golf course or his desire to help others.
“My only chance is research.”
- Garry Beattie
After his diagnosis and grateful for the care he received, Garry and Lori got creative and started raising money and awareness by hosting events to support brain cancer research at the QEII.
“Seeing there is a need, it made a lot of sense to do this,” says Garry.
According to Garry’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Adrienne Weeks, research — and Garry’s donation and fundraising –— will have a significant impact on brain cancer in Nova Scotia and beyond.
“Garry and Lori’s generous donation to the QEII Foundation’s Brain Tumour Research Fund will allow current research projects to move forward,” says Dr. Weeks. “Their fundraising efforts will help secure further necessary funds to aid in this critical research.”
With numerous research projects underway, Dr. Weeks is exploring new therapies for patients with brain cancer, including collaborating with Dr. Jeremy Brown, a biomedical engineer, to develop novel ultrasound technology. Dr. Weeks’ work to advance patient care is critical for people like Garry.
“My only chance is research,” says Garry. “I kept thinking, ‘What can Lori and I do to help?’”
In 2017, Garry and Lori and the QEII’s Division of Neurosurgery put their ideas in motion and hosted the first ever Brain Cancer Bash, supporting brain cancer research at the QEII. The theme of their evening soiree is magic, and draws on inspiration from their experience at The Magic Castle Hollywood.
Last November, they held the second annual bash at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. It was a magical night, featuring several local magicians and a grand illusionist that delighted the crowd. A net total of $16,500 was raised for the QEII Foundation’s Brain Tumour Research Fund.
The Brain Cancer Bash is one of several community-based fundraisers managed by individuals or groups. Differing in size and scope, they all raise thousands of dollars each year to help patients and their families at the QEII.
Golf continues to play a central role in not only Garry’s recovery and positive attitude, but his ability to fundraise.
In addition to his own events, Garry has put his support behind the Nova Scotia Golf Association’s senior men’s championship to create awareness and raise money for glioblastoma research in Nova Scotia. The event is now called the #GolfBeattieStrong Men’s Senior Championship. Garry and Nova Scotia-based company, Dormie Workshop, collaborated on a special golf club head cover, with funds raised from these head covers going to brain cancer research at the QEII.
Understanding firsthand the importance of continued research, Garry and Lori believe that money is only good if it is spread around and continue their quest to raise funds and awareness for brain cancer.
“We focus on what we can do, not on what we can’t do,” says Lori.
To support the QEII Foundation’s Brain Tumour Research Fund, visit QE2Foundation.ca/garry-beattie-brain-tumour-fund.