On February 7th, when most families were preparing to watch the “big game”, we discovered that our dad - Mark Martin - had a large brain tumour. For a moment, time stood still, and in an instant, our world collapsed. That afternoon, Mark was in a single-vehicle accident which resulted in him being transported to hospital. It was later discovered that the accident came as a result of a seizure that Mark suffered while driving, a seizure caused by immense pressure within his brain. That evening scans revealed a large tumour growing on the right frontal lobe which required immediate medical intervention.
On February 9th, Mark received emergency neurosurgery to remove a portion of the primary mass. An emergency craniotomy and partial excision were necessary to debulk the tumour and relieve the excessive pressure within Mark’s skull that would have certainly resulted in death if gone unrealized. As a result of the invasive nature of the surgery itself, and the location of the tumour on the brain, an incredibly strong, friendly and good-humoured man was left in an incomprehensible state of fear and uncertainty.
As our world continued to crumble, Mark was formally diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma on February 22nd - an aggressive, multicentric, malignant brain tumour. A father, son, brother, uncle, teammate and friend, Mark is now also a cancer patient. If you have had the privilege of meeting Mark, I can all but guarantee that you have shared a belly laugh, a great story, or have created a cherished memory. Mark is a “giver” - be it the shirt off of his back, a warm meal, an adventure or a gesture of support. Mark is compassionate, kind, [objectively] very funny and incredibly fun to be around, he truly is remarkable. Mark has always taken care of those around him, be it a friend, a family member or a stranger, and now it is on us to take care of him.
A glioblastoma is a deadly form of brain cancer with a grim prognosis, however, it
is not without hope. Traditional methods of treatment for glioblastoma are severely limited and show little promise for long-term survival, something that Mark and our family desperately crave. Effective treatment of glioblastoma requires innovative and extremely costly medical intervention which is not necessarily available through Canadian socialized healthcare. Those treatments which have shown the most success in securing longer-term survival are unavailable under OHIP, yet we remain determined to secure Mark the best possible treatment available. Unfortunately, this care is costly, and the aggressive nature of glioblast-oma has put us under an extremely tight timeline to begin care. Mark must begin treatment immediately.
In addition to chemotherapy, radiation and complimentary (private) treatments, Mark requires ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and emotional therapy to assist in his recovery. On average, Mark’s weekly medical care will cost thousands of dollars, and as a result of his cancer, Mark is currently completely unable to work as his tumour has given rise to significant physical and cognitive limitations. For decades, Mark has worked hard labour 6-7 days a week, often clocking in an excess of 12 hours per day in order to provide for his family. Unfortunately, Mark does not have private health coverage, and OHIP will not cover the costs of his additional life-saving therapies as they are accessible only through private healthcare clinics. And so, we ask you, our friends, family and community for help.
Mark is truly one of the hardest working people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. He is a warrior, always ready for battle. He is as tough as they come and is driven by his desire to live a long and meaningful life alongside family and friends. Mark has devoted his life to his family and has never been shy to offer a helping hand to those in need.
We recognize the financial burden that many have suffered as a result of COVID-19. Where you may be unable to contribute financially, please do consider sharing Mark’s story. All funds will go directly to supporting Mark’s care. Our family truly hopes that you will help support us in our journey in any way possible. We maintain faith that Mark will survive. Please keep Mark in your thoughts and prayers during his battle against this horrible disease.
Shelby & Remy (Mark’s children)
We will continue to post updates as they are made available to us.
- Kelly Barchan
- Dean Parzych
- Lino Carvalho
- Hannah Duggan
- Sophia Whicher
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