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How a new approach to brain wellness inspired one woman to give back to UBC

After her successful recovery from brain surgery, Melanee Henderson is supporting brain wellness programs at UBC with a gift in her will.

Melanee Henderson had a headache in July 2019 that brought her to the hospital. After several days of tests, a CT scan found a brain tumour measuring close to 14 centimeters that was removed during a lengthy surgery. Unfortunately, the tumour had severely affected her hearing and balance.

“It took away all my hearing on the left-side and the balance system inside my brain,” says Melanee. “The tumour had gotten so big it pressed on all the nerves on the side of my face.”

Melanee stresses that while the diagnosis and surgery were a significant part of her treatment, the programs she was able to access at Djavad Mowafagian Centre for Brain Health at UBC helped her regain her confidence and get her life back.

Entirely donor funded, the BC Brain Wellness Program offers lifestyle programs and education to complement the medical treatment patients receive in the clinics at the Djavad Mowafagian Centre for Brain Health. The program’s goal is to improve and sustain quality of life and function for its participants while pursuing rigorous research into lifestyle interventions for brain health for people with chronic brain conditions, care partners and healthy agers.

Because of her experience, she has decided to make a gift in her will to support the BC Brain Wellness Program at UBC, to help others like her access critical programming.

“I was going from driving myself and being very active with tennis, lifting weights, swimming—to nothing.” Three years later, Melanee has her independence back, which she credits to hard work—and the team at Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

“If you’re going to leave a legacy gift, decide what you want to give to,” says Melanee. “For me, I know it’s to support programs and research at UBC benefiting brain wellness.”