The Brainiacs

The tale behind the keyrings

When Rach’s brother, Graeme, was diagnosed with his brain tumour all those years ago, his unbelievable friends and family rallied around. With Rach at the helm, they came up with Team Graeme.

The TG official colour was burnt orange (if I remember correctly, it was the colour of the strip of G’s football team) and a major fundraising drive was begun under the TG banner. To date, more than £20,000 has been raised both while Graeme was alive and in the 10 years since his death. Originally it went to the Graeme Turner fund of the Samantha Dickinson Brain Tumour Trust but, following the merger of several charities in recent years, it now goes to a fund in G’s memory within the Brain Tumour Charity – and that is where my fundraising will be going. It all works to raise funds to try and tackle this horrendous condition, but people will know that G (and the Turner family) are the inspiration behind it.

Anyway, I digress…

Back in the day, rubber charity wristbands were all the rage and so, as part of TG, Rach got special orange Team Graeme bands printed up. They were sold to raise money for the charity, but also worn by everyone connected to G to show their solidarity, love and support both for G and all those connected to him. Hundreds were sold.

Fast forward several years, and my mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She was one of the fortunate ones and it was quickly removed and resolved. My mum, as ever, wanted no fuss or nonsense, but our Rach was having none of it. After many secretive discussions, we opted for a far more limited print run (perhaps only four or five if I remember correctly) of mugs. When hot liquid was put in these mugs, the colour vanished, revealing a cream mug and the words Loopy’s Loons in her favourite green colour. Rach said she wanted mum to know we were thinking of her and supporting her…

And so, when Rach told me her own news several months ago, my first thought went to a show of solidarity. She’d successfully managed mugs and wristbands, so I was certainly not going to attempt to follow in her footsteps! Instead I settled on keyrings, and Rach’s Brainiacs. As for the image, there was really only one option: a bowling bowl. While that may not appear the most (or even least!) obvious choice, it relates perfectly.

(For those interested, when Rach first had to undergo the biopsy into her Squatter (tumour), she came across a brain tumour quote which said: “I only need two more holes in my head and I’ll be a bowling ball.”. While her humour can leave a lot to be desired on many occasions, at least I share it. She was due her operation to have much of the squatter removed, and so I knew she would only be one hole off a bowling ball. Hence the image… finding one with only two holes was a stroke of added luck!)

I spoke to her amazing hubby and he agreed with the idea, and so I had 30-ish printed up. I gave them to Rach and her family in time for them to have before her operation, and I carry mine daily. I then sold the rest, covering my costs and making an additional £45 for the Brain Tumour Charity.

It may not be much, but there are now at least two dozen of us carrying around keyrings proclaiming to be Rach’s Brainiacs and showing her that we’re all thinking of her – and are all as warped as she is!

The reason for this post, as that Rach began her chemo on Monday and is, obviously, winning at it. But we’re still all thinking of her…


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