“He showed me a thing or two about living life”
Today is National Siblings Day! Robert Britt lost his brother to brain cancer and shares how he gave back to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in remembrance of his youngest brother.
Bringing a child into the world is an incredibly special occasion for anyone. But for a young man with a malignant brain tumour, having a child meant so much more. Ultimately, it was his gift of life to the family he would leave behind.
At age 27, Daryl Britt was diagnosed with an astrocytoma. A talented curler with a contagious laugh and kind heart, he loved sharing funny stories to make everyone laugh, his brother Robert Britt remembers.
“He never complained and was always smiling, which made him someone you always looked forward to seeing and spending time with,” said Robert.
Daryl was a talented curler, competing at a provincial level right through university. It was during a bonspiel when Daryl’s symptoms first appeared. That particular day he couldn’t maintain his balance on the ice and although he laughed it off, a tumour was later discovered.
About three years into treatment, Daryl and his wife Tina welcomed a beautiful little boy named Anderson into the world. In 2012, just weeks shy of his son’s first birthday, Daryl passed away. He was just 33 years old.
“His son now provides our family with incredible amounts of laughter and joy, and a way to continually celebrate the life of my brother,” said Robert.
He added, having a child was likely a life experience his youngest brother never would have had without the resources and support from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada to help extend Daryl’s life.
“The foundation not only provided names of local specialists and doctors from across North America who collaborated on my brother’s treatments and surgeries over a five-year period, but also helped him stay positive and encouraged him to live the best possible life he could every day,” said Robert.
His brother’s courage and strength is a continual inspiration.
“He showed me a thing or two about living life,” said Rob, adding that he thought as the older brother he was supposed to be the one to show his younger brother the ropes. “He had a strength inside him beyond what I was capable of.”
There were 14 years between Robert and his youngest brother Daryl, and it wasn’t until they got older that their relationship really grew strong. Robert remembers spending countless evenings downtown with his brother, having dinner, or just talking over coffee or over text messages during a hectic day at work.
“We really developed a strong bond and grew very close,” said Robert, adding that Daryl also spent a lot of time with his kids. “My children couldn’t wait for their uncle Daryls’ next visit and we were all so excited at the birth of his own son”.
Robert said Daryl spent many sleepless nights cuddling with his newborn son Anderson, knowing he wouldn’t have much time with him.
“From the moment they discovered he had a brain tumour until he passed, it was a fight. A fight to live his life, to enjoy every day with his wife Tina and son Anderson and to plan special days with his friends and family,” said Robert.
Recently, Robert had the opportunity to give back to the foundation he said had a “tremendous impact” on his family while honouring his little brother.
Robert, who works for St. Joseph’s Communications in Toronto, was this year’s recipient of the company’s Chairman’s Award, an employee recognition program. Aside from bragging rights, Robert was awarded the opportunity to provide a charity of his choice with an in-kind advertising donation. The company publishes several magazines with annual readership of over 8.5 million readers in print and 14.5 million online.
When the posters went up at work promoting this prestigious prize, Robert was already thinking about who he would give it to if he won.
“It was an instant choice to give to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada,” he said.
Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is honoured to be Robert’s charity of choice and thank him and St. Joseph’s Communications for their generosity and support for the brain tumour community. You can find our ads in this month’s Ottawa Magazine and Toronto Life in May.