Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Memorium

Thomas Lind Mainz, founder and President of Hjernetumor.dk (the Danish Brain Tumor Patients' Society) lost his battle to cancer this weekend.

Thomas' symptoms began in 2006 yet it took 16 months before he was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor, a grade II Astrocyte.

After a lengthy battle with "specialists" Thomas was told the tumor was inoperable due to location - it being too close to the brain stem.

Never one to quit Thomas persuaded an American neuro-oncologist to check his patient file pro bono. The conclusion was baffling; where as Danish doctors had already given up the US oncologist replied the tumor was indeed operable. It took Thomas to name-drop before his Danish doctor would even read the foreign 2nd opinion!

Shortly thereafter, late October 2008, Thomas underwent a complicated surgery as per the US oncologists' guidelines - and I was thrilled when a few days later he called to say he was feeling pretty good!

Always a fighter Thomas' pushed himself - too hard at times - and certainly made the most of his "good days". Recovery was not as fast and straight forward as he would have liked, and he felt frustrated when determination alone was not enough to get out of bed.

When Thomas was first diagnosed he was shocked by how little information was available in Danish to brain tumor patients. A truck driver by trade he often joked about the oddity of him being the one to set up a website in Danish about brain tumors (www.hjernetumor.dk) . This has since become a registered non-profit foundation to gather information on various tumors (cancerous as well as benign) while also serving as a forum for brain tumor patients and their close ones.

I had the honor of meeting Thomas when he registered as a Fighter at Stafet For Livet a.k.a. Relay For Life 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark - the Capitol Regions first ever! Serving on the Board I was also in charge of the Fighters and Thomas and I had some great conversations on how to make the event as easy on the Fighters as possible.

After the event, and meeting Thomas along with his family I was in awe of this one man battling the Danish socialized health care system. And while Thomas was recovering from surgery I started to assist in turning the private website into a non-profit.

My thoughts and prayers go to Thomas' family - his wife Patricia whom was an immense source of strength and happiness to Thomas, to Preben and Ulla, Thomas' amazing parents, and to Thomas' child.

Cancer knows no difference in age, race, or religious belief. Thomas was my age and newly wed when his life was cut short by this terrible disease.

Please keep Thomas and his family in your prayers.


Rest In Peace Thomas. I am honored to have known you.

3 comments:

Caroline said...

This is a wonderful tribute, Anita. Thank you for sharing your memory of your friend.

Stephanie Faris said...

What a beautiful tribute. One man really can make a HUGE difference, he's proof of that. His legacy lives on in everyone whose lives he touched...and will continue to touch via his website and the work he did.

-slj said...

So behind on my reading...trying to catch up.

A fitting tribute. Lost sis to leukemia and Dad to a brain tumor (glial). It's all around me (in perhaps in me, too).

Rage against it.

BTW...long shot, but I am in Frankfurt for meetings the 12th-13th. Trying to get there on the 11th to seek the old homeland. European blogger's convention!