Makenna Lumley, right, applies a glam glitter tattoo to Terry Lyons, left. (Photo by Alyssa Leonard)

Glam Up For Brain Cancer Awareness

A young Windsorite is using her glitter powers to raise money for brain cancer research.

Every year for two weeks, 13-year-old Makenna Lumley raises money for brain cancer with her glitterĀ glam tattoo project at St. John Vianney during recess. With the help of her support system, “her crew”, they use glitter to glam up the staff and students with temporary glitter tattoos.

“What I think is amazing is that, Makenna is a survivor, and I understand why our family is connected to the cause, but these other kids jump in, their families jump in…it’s really great how they get behind her, and really support her doing this,” says Karen Metcalfe, Makenna’s mother.

When Makenna was four-and-a-half years old, she was brought in for an MRI after about a month of flu-like symptoms. The MRI had found a brain tumour, and within 24-hours of arriving by ambulance in London, she had two brain surgeries under her belt.

Metcalfe said the doctors were able to remove all of it, but Makenna still gets an MRI once a year as a precaution. It has now been nine years, and she says there is no sign of it returning.

“I always want to raise money and help,” said Makenna. “I love being able to share my story, and tell people about the Brain Tumour Foundation and raise awareness.”

A St. John Vianney student receives her glitter tattoo. (Photo by Alyssa Leonard)

A St. John Vianney student receives her glitter tattoo. (Photo by Alyssa Leonard)

Terry Lyons, director of education at the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, stopped by St. John Vianney on May 4 to receive his own a glitter tattoos. He got a Batman symbol and a Star Wars logo for Star Wars Day.

He says this is a great example of their students giving back to the community.

“What a great role model [Makenna is] for kids, and what a great example of how to overcome and how to move forward,” says Lyons. “And how to turn something, that could be a challenge, into something positive for everybody else. Just an absolutely terrific leadership quality.”

Metcalfe says it is a whole family endeavour, with Makenna’s younger brother, Blake, helping out wherever he can. She says the family also helps organize the annual Brain Tumour Walk in Windsor. They have a Harry Potter-themed team, “Team 9-and-3/4 Witches and Wizards Against Brain Tumours”. Their goal is to raise $20,000, and Metcalfe says they have already collected $8,000.

The walk will take place on June 9.

“Makenna’s is a success story because research and medical advancement have got it to the point where they can deal with hers, ” says Metcalfe. “There are a lot of families that aren’t as fortunate. There are a lot of different types of brain tumours. I think we can do this because we have the energy, because we’ve got our child with us, and so I think it’s important that we give back to find cures for the other ones.”

—Alyssa Leonard is an intern with She is completing the journalism program at St. Clair College in Windsor.—