Daina Kvisle Aldous was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain cancer in May 2018. She completed the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation for her aggressive stage 4 diagnosis that August. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful.
Determined, Daina and her husband, Paul Aldous, investigated alternative treatments. Currently, she is participating in an Avastin IV treatment, a type of cancer drug administered intravenously, at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC). The drug restricts blood flow to the tumour, and monthly MRIs show no growth.
The genetic component to GBM, which scientists have only begun to investigate, is part of what drives Daina and Paul, parents to sons Beck and Jack, in their fundraising efforts. Founded in 2018, the Kvisle Fund for GBM supports GBM cancer research initiatives at the TBCC. It has raised over half a million dollars to date in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, including from its annual Masquerade Gala called Unmasking GBM.
Today, Daina works as a corporate lawyer and is optimistic about the future.
“Living with cancer is being able to roll with the punches, pivot every time something new with my health changes and being ready to respond to whatever those changes are.
“It’s a strategy that came from witnessing my mom live through her diagnosis with GBM. A lot of her treatment involved trying one thing after another to see what might work, but, with GBM being so aggressive, many treatments don’t work. It was the same with me.
“We’ve travelled abroad to access alternative treatments. The reason we started the Kvisle Fund for GBM was because we had the financial ability to travel and access treatments and we wanted there to be more options for people locally that may not have that option.
“With two young kids, I have to believe that I am still going to be here for them when they get their licences or graduate from high school. But, instead of looking to the future, I enjoy all the moments as they come.”