A 27-year-old Rankin Inlet woman who has been battling the effects of brain tumour for the past four years is raising money for brain cancer research in an effort so that no one else has to experience what she has gone through.
Alexandra Rudd is the leader of Rankin Inlet's Grey Wolf brain tumour walk team, which to date has raised more than $6,000 for the national brain tumour walk.
“I've always been one to help others,” Rudd told Kivalliq News. “My dad has always told me that I have a big heart and that I help people when I can.”
Rudd first entered a team for the walk last year and was able to raise more than $1,000. This year's COVID-19 restrictions have made it harder to raise money but that hasn't deterred Rudd.
A penny sale at the beginning of 2021 ended up bringing in more than $3,000. And just the other weekend, Rudd's uncle helped organize a movie night that brought in another $1,000.
“Usually I'm pretty good to come up with ideas but with restrictions getting stricter again it's getting hard to raise money,” said Rudd.
Rudd is no stranger to adversity. When she was just 18-months-old she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. The condition caused her to have optic glioma, which left her legally blind.
Despite having no sight in her left eye and being partially blind in her right eye, Rudd has been able to lead a relatively carefree life.
The one exception is she has had to have an MRI every six months since she was a child in order to monitor her condition.
In 2017 one of her routine MRIs led to the discovery of a small tumour on her brain.
“Up until a few years ago everything was going OK, and then they found a spot on my brain that was growing,” she told Kivalliq News.
“They ended up doing a biopsy in March of 2018 and they found it was Grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma.”
Following the biopsy, Rudd had to undergo intensive treatment.
“It was six weeks straight of chemo and radiation, then a six-week break. Then every month for a year I had oral chemotherapy,” said Rudd.
One of the reasons Rudd is so passionate about raising money for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is because she doesn't want anyone else to have to go through what she did. She said in the future she would hope that people with tumours would not have to undergo a biopsy.
“The preparation leading up to the biopsy was very painful. They had to put this frame on my head and they put freezing on the spots where they screwed the frame to the skull and then I had to have another MRI,” she said.
“I would hope that it in the near future it's not something people need to do.”
The national brain tumour walk will be taking place on June 27. In the meantime, Rudd is brainstorming new ideas to raise money. Anyone interested in donating to her cause can either contact Rudd directly or look up the Grey Wolf team on the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada's website.
“The money that people fundraised will go to helping with families that are dealing with a brain tumour,” she said.