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An Edmonton non-profit isn’t backing down from the fight against brain cancer

By Admin User on January 3, 2018

The sixth annual ‘Never Back Down’ fundraiser, held on Saturday at Edmonton’s Urban Tavern, was nothing short of a knockout as friends and family came together to celebrate this yearly occasion.

Hosted by the Taite Boomer Memorial Brain Tumour Foundation, the event raised close to $12,000 for brain cancer research and awareness. A silent auction was made possible thanks to volunteers and sponsors who donated various prizes to be bid on.

Nearly 100 supporters joined the Boomer family for the occasion as they remembered Taite Boomer, a 20-year-old University of Alberta student, who died after a short battle with brain cancer on September 2, 2012.

“It was really touching to see so many people from our community partake in the event for its sixth year in a row,” said Taite Boomer Foundation Co-Founder, Katelyn Pretzlaff. “Brain cancer is something that doesn’t have a lot of funding or awareness behind it, which is odd because this type of cancer is not only one of the more complex ones, but it is a cancer that doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone at any point in their life.”

On August 10, 2012, Boomer was diagnosed with a grade III anaplastic astrocytoma. This advanced form of brain cancer is rare, accounting for only 2% of all brain tumours, and grows at an accelerated rate. It typically affects men and women in their 40s. For these reasons, doctors were unsure of a prognosis for Boomer’s condition.

Pretzlaff describes a lack of statistical information around the study of brain cancer, explaining that in Canada, there is no system in place to track brain tumours and all their complexities.

Currently, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada (BTFC) is raising funds to develop the first-ever Canadian Brain Tumour Registry, which will allow for tracking and monitoring of various brain cancers. It will provide health services with a foundation to better understand brain tumours as they relate to patterns and changes in diagnosis, trends in occurrence, the demographics of those affected and survival rates.

Brain Canada recognized The Canadian Brain Tumour Registry Project as one of the top seven projects in Canada and offered to match funds raised by the BTFC.

Like any cancer, early detection is key. General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumours may include:

  • headaches
  • unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • vision problems
  • gradual loss of sensation and motor functions in arms or legs
  • difficulty with balance
  • speech difficulties
  • personality or behaviour changes
  • seizures

The Boomer family, with the help of BTFC, has made it a personal mission to raise awareness and funding for brain cancer research. Since they started in 2012, the Taite Boomer Foundation has raised over $130,000 and has been able to fund nine Research Studentships and a Youth Education Award.

“The day my brother passed, he saved two lives by donating his organs. In a lot of ways, he continues to save and better the lives of everyone he knew and those he didn’t through the work being done at the foundation,” says Boomer’s older brother, Steele Boomer.

For more on the Taite Boomer Foundation or to donate, please visit




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