Wednesday, 28 September 2011

"Eat My Flesh" (say the pumpkins and saints)

October is Brain Tumour Awareness Month in Canada: grey ribbons and wristbands for the brain, and various orange merchandise to represent pumpkins. However, I provide hiermit a photograph of a carved turnip, which I think best captures the spirit of orange-grey month. The contrast between its sickly pallour and glowing interior charms me.

Now, as we all know, October is the host month of the King of Holidays: Halloween. There is no better fĂȘte than All Hallow's Eve, and to observe it with brain tumours in mind, we must wear carved pumpkins over our bodies' most important bone-casing devices (usually called heads) on the final night of the month. Orange and grey, orange and grey. Then the next couple of days continue with death in mind, but as of 3 November we can shift into full-time Remembering mode, cuz lots of people have died from brain tumours. Lest we forget, tumour diagnoses are rising substantially, so remember the future too. Remember your wireless devices. Consider spending a whole day not pushing any buttons.

The schedule and instructions for month's end: 
  • All Hallow's Eve (31 Oct) - cover your skull and its grey matter with Jack-o-Lantern skins. Go to Hell.
  • All Hallow's Day (1 Nov) - eat some gummy brains candy and light a candle for the strange people who whipped themselves to death or who allowed themselves to be torn to shreds by lions. Enjoy Purgatory by watching re-runs of golf tournaments.
  • All Soul's Day / the Day of the Dead (2 Nov) - take off skin to expose skull decorated in grey ribbons. And fluorescent paint. Join parade and eat sugar skulls. Return to Earth and donate a splash of a loved one's favourite drink to their grave. They like that kind of thing.

You can also visit the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada to see what they're up to during Awareness Month. They have a traveling exhibit of dead people's hats (well, some are hats of the living). You can send your own hats or pictures of hats of tumour suffers, survivors, and victims to the Foundation's collection. This isn't actually a special Halloween thing, although it is tinged with sufficient morbidity to be so. I am tempted to send a hat with a head still inside, or something equally ridiculous. 

They also have events going on across Canada - mostly info sessions, reports on research developments, sharing of personal stories, and motivational speeches. I don't know why they haven't planned a Halloween party. Too much fun? Genuinely too scary? Death or lack thereof is pretty central to the entire support-for-patients-and-caregivers portion of the Foundation, I should think. But in any case, do feel free to send them hats, attend a session, or send a few dollars their way. They are an invaluable resource for brain tumour patients and their families.

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