Nicole Scurr will traverse 10km at this year's Bridge to Brisbane, raising funds for Associate Professor Sarah Olson, as a thank you for the amazing care she was given and to contribute towards brain tumour research.
Nicole became a patient of the PA Hospital based neurosurgeon in September 2020, when symptoms including pins and needles and severe headaches led to a diagnosis of grade 2 Meningioma in her brain. Though the nature of her diagnosis means her journey is ongoing, A/Prof Olson performed successful surgery to remove the tumour and Nicole said Sarah's positivity, care and bedside manner was reassuring through the whole process.
"I couldn't have an MRI easily as I have a pacemaker for a heart condition so unfortunately, I had a number of CT scans that didn't show anything. It was finally my GP that pushed me to get an MRI done and I waited for a spot to become available in the hospital setting," she said.
"It was a bit of a whirlwind after that as days later I was speaking to Dr Sarah Olson on the phone who believed surgery was necessary to remove what they thought was a Meningioma. It wasn't shown on an MRI that was done a few years previously for my heart issues, so I think they suspected it was faster growing than expected.
"I intuitively trusted Dr Olson and when I first saw her and her big beaming smile and kind eyes, I knew I was in good hands."
This will be Nicole's first ever Bridge to Brisbane event, where she will be joined by her business partner and friend Chantelle who she said had been a rock for her during her journey with Meningioma.
The two friends are looking forward to taking on the longer 10km course which will see them walk over the Gateway Bridge.
"When Sarah first sent out the letter asking previous or current patients to join her team in the Bridge to Brisbane, I was hesitant, but I knew that I couldn't sit back and think others were going to put their hand up," she said.
"I want answers and treatment options with the best outcomes not only for myself but for others. I am a pretty extreme empath and those that know me know I would take my own jumper off my back to help another, and I think this is what has helped me receive the support I have had so far.
"I really believe if you do the right thing by others and help others when you can then it will make its way back to you when it counts."
With the Bridge to Brisbane coming up on 29 August, Nicole said she is buoyed by the knowledge every dollar raised will be vital in the quest for better outcomes for brain tumour patients. Nicole added that she was both lucky and eternally grateful for all the support she has had from friends and family since her diagnosis and in supporting her Bridge to Brisbane efforts.
"I truly believe Sarah Olson wants to make a difference. She is donating to this cause on an ongoing basis and also competes in the Bridge to Brisbane herself," Nicole said.
"I remember her saying to me at my last appointment that it is so great particularly for those that may have malignant, life limiting tumours to be inspired and participate - the exercise itself is treatment. How inspiring is it for the patients on her team to see that their Neurosurgeon is running beside them.
"I'm extremely lucky to have such amazing medical care, but it doesn't take away the desire to know why and surely more research may eventually help answer this. There needs to be more research done to understand why things occur and I am honoured that I can be a part of that.
"I believe those close to me knew how important this was to me. We are often bombarded with requests for donations, and I was nervous as I didn't want to make anyone feel obliged. I actually cried when people started donating and it has really motivated me to get out there and blitz the Bridge to Brisbane.
"I feel like I've already hit my target - I've raised some money for a great cause, I'm in a team of passionate people and I'm getting stronger. When we run over the finish line, I will have a very big smile on my face."
You can donate to help Nicole in her fundraising efforts here.