In January 2001, Brainsgiving founder Amanda Terfloth received a call from her doctor about a test result that needed further investigation. It was roughly five minutes before a grade 12 math exam and for reasons beyond her past and current understanding, she took it anyway, despite having a holy teen grail of an excuse. In retrospect, she should have seen a movie or listened to her Sarah Harmer/Tool mix CD – the one that confused her mother.
In April 2001, she was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour and after a terrifying dalliance with a Mr.Burns-ian lifestyle, realized she did not want to be on side-effect riddled medication for the rest of her life. Fortunately, she sought a second (and third) opinion that led to meeting the ‘Hendrix of Pituitary Surgery’, neurosurgeon Dr. Harley Smyth. In December 2001, she underwent neurosurgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto to remove the tumour. The surgery was a smashing success and after 6 months of recovery (and some exciting complications!), she was completely medication-free. To go from the expectation of a life-long ordeal, to a cure over the course of a year, is an insane blessing and one that will never cease to fill her with gratitude.
For the next 5 years, Amanda celebrated “Brainsgiving” with loved ones and in 2007 decided that she wanted to turn it into a fundraiser to support other Neuro patients. Her amazing friends in the Toronto creative communities helped bring it to fruition.
Since Brainsgiving’s evolution into a fundraiser, Amanda has been gobsmacked by the enthusiasm of volunteers, performers and audiences who come out to the show. She is also proud that the tone of the show has kept true to its brash and absurd roots – making it the kind of night that be appreciated both by ‘normies’ and those that have retained a sense of humour about that time they were showered in a chair by a nurse that chirped “now lift your bottom dollarrrr”* in order to soap those hard-to-reach angles.
*Incidentally, Amanda’s current favourite hobbies include not being showered in a chair and using frivolous, non-antiseptic soaps.