Sevanah Simmons had an inoperable brainstem tumor called D.I.P.G. - Image Credit: Contributed

Conquering brain cancer

In memory of her daugher, Angelina Simmons has been fighting under the Monkey Crew Against D.I.P.G.

Angelina Simmons sat in a cold hospital chair, staring at a computer screen while the doctor made a circular motion over the image.

“I’m sorry the MRI shows that Sevanah has an inoperable brainstem tumor called D.I.P.G. and there is nothing we can do for her,” he said.

She finally had an answer from the doctors; Sevanah, her six-year-old daughter, was going to die.

Sevanah Burke Simmons lost her battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) brain cancer in September 2015 only five months after her diagnosis.

Inspired by Sevanah’s enormous monkey collection and her kind heart, Angelina has been fighting under the Monkey Crew Against D.I.P.G. to bring changes for D.I.P.G. children and their families. Angelina had May 15 declared D.I.P.G. Awareness Day in B.C. again this year in hopes of gaining more attention for one of the most aggressive cancers, which is largely ignored.

“Brain tumours are now the leading childhood cancer killer, surpassing leukemia, and DIPG accounts for 80 per cent of childhood brain tumour deaths,” said Angelina. “The zero per cent survival rate for DIPG won’t change without dedicated research funding.”

This year will also mark the second annual Monkey Crew Family Fun Day, Sunday, May 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Mission Creek Park.

All proceeds from this year’s event will go towards supporting Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s new initiative: a Canadian Brain Tumour Registry.

Its aim is to collect accurate brain tumour statistics from Canadians to guide research priorities based on the health needs of Canadians and help to secure more accurate government funding for brain tumour research. All funds donated to this registry project will be double by Brain Canada.