If you’re a customer of A.M.A., then you probably know we are ardent supporters of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada (BTFC). Perhaps you even know that the sale of every Al’s Flower Pouch in Canada supports BTFC, which in turn supports patients living with a brain tumour, and their families across Canada.
May is Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and as part of BTFC’s #TurnMayGrey campaign, we’d like to share our story of how this partnership got started, and why it’s so important to the A.M.A. team.
A Difficult Diagnosis
In 2000, the lives of A.M.A.’s Managing Directors, Rick and Connie Bradt, were forever changed when Rick received his diagnosis. What he thought were vision problems and migraines turned out to be something completely unexpected: a pituitary macroadenoma – a non-malignant brain tumour. After three surgeries and incredible care from doctors, nurses, family and friends, today Rick is living brain tumour-free.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was shocked and wanted more information but it wasn’t easy to find,” said Rick. “I found Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s website, and it became my trusted information source.”
An estimated 55,000 Canadians live with brain tumours. BTFC’s mission is to reach every person in Canada affected by a brain tumour through support, education, information and research. They fund the Brain Tumour Registry, the Brain Tumour Tissue Bank and major research projects in Canada in addition to important personal patient and caregiver support and other services.
Giving Back with Al’s Flower Pouch
Rick and Connie wanted to find a way to give back to the organization that had given them so much during a difficult time.
“Al’s Flower Pouch is our flagship retail item. You can find it in backyards, patios and public spaces throughout Canada,” said Rick. “We knew that if we stamped the backs of our pouches with the BTFC logo and contact information, we might be able to raise awareness and offer support to people living with brain tumours across the country.”
Al’s Flower Pouch was invented by A.M.A.’s founder and Connie Bradt’s father, Allen Monsma, in 1992. For the past sixteen years, every Canadian sale of Al’s Flower Pouch has supported BTFC.
“Al’s Flower Pouch has helped us to donate more than $98,000 to BTFC, and that’s thanks to our customers who have been such strong champions of this product. We are grateful to all of you,” said Rick.
#BradtsBrains are Walking for a Cure
A.M.A.’s support of this important cause doesn’t end with the Al’s Flower Pouch. Connie and Rick have also started Team #BradtsBrains as part of the annual Brain Tumour Walk. The team’s rotating roster of walkers includes A.M.A. staff, family and friends of Connie and Rick.
“We’ve done 3 walks to date in Windsor and London, Ontario, and we’re especially excited about our walk this year,” said Connie Bradt. “In addition to a #BradtsBrains Team walking in this years Brain Tumour Walk in Windsor, which A.M.A. is sponsoring, we will be taking a second #BradtsBrains team to the Netherlands to do a walk in the small village where my Dad was born.”
Rick, Connie, and their children and grandchild will join supporters in Broeksterwoude, NL, including many Monsma family relatives, for a 5km walk in support of BTFC and the Dutch equivalent on June 7, 2019.
“This year’s walk is bringing everything full circle for our family,” continued Connie. “When we were preparing for Rick’s final surgery, we decided to give back to BTFC with the sale of Al’s Flower Pouch, invented by my Dad. Now we’re going to do the BTFC walk with my Dad’s family in his hometown in Holland. That’s incredible.”
After sixteen years of support for BTFC, what continues to motivate Rick and Connie to push for a cure?
“I was very fortunate,” said Rick. “Not all brain tumour patients are. There’s still a long way to go, and A.M.A. is committed to helping the brain tumour community push forward.”
Join Team #BradtsBrains
Rick and Connie invite you to join or support the #BradtsBrains team.
Visit the #BradtsBrains Netherlands team (walk to take place on June 7, 2019): http://www.braintumourevents.ca/goto/BradtsBrainsNL
Visit the #BradtsBrains Windsor team (walk will take place on June 8, 2019): http://www.braintumourevents.ca/goto/BradtsBrainsWindsor