Two events, both scheduled for Saturday, May 4, will kick off ‘Brain Tumor Awareness Month’ and honor the life of West Hartford’s Tracey Gamer-Fanning.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford resident Tracey Gamer-Fanning lost her 12-year battle with brain cancer in October, and the organization she founded – the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance – will honor her legacy with two special events on Saturday, May 4.
“On behalf of the CTBTA, I am delighted to kick-off brain tumor awareness month with these two special events and to honor and celebrate our beloved Tracey,” said Executive Director Chris Cusano in a statement. “The day will be a bittersweet tribute to her, but a celebration of hope and inspiration to everyone out there fighting this disease. Among the many things I admired about Tracey was her selflessness. She taught me and so many other how sweet life is despite hardship. To be able to honor her and continue her legacy of helping others through these two events is extremely satisfying and fulfilling for the CTBTA and me. I know she’ll be proud.”
Brain Tumor Awareness Month will kick off on Saturday morning with the sixth annual “Path of Hope” 5K walk/run in West Hartford’s Elizabeth Park. The family-friendly event, which begins at 9 a.m. (registration at 8 a.m.), is dedicated to the memory of CTBTA founder Gamer-Fanning, and will raise awareness and funds in support of the brain tumor community – and honor survivorship as well as the memory of others who have also succumbed to the disease.
On Saturday evening, “A Night in Paris” will continue the spirit of honoring Gamer-Fanning, who was a lifelong French enthusiast.
The French-themed event will be held at the Tunxis Country Club in Farmington, and include live music, passed hors d’oeuvres, dinner featuring French cuisine, a two-hour open bar (followed by a cash bar), a raffle, and live auction.
Tickets, which are $150 each, will help fund brain tumor research, financial assistance for patients and their families, patient outreach, support of brain tumor programs, and awareness efforts.
“Tracey wanted me to help make things a little sweeter and taste a little better with her memories, so that’s what we’re doing here on May 4,” said her husband, Greg Shimer, who often said that she didn’t survive for 12 years with a brain tumor, she “thrived.”
“Her work and legacy will live on with friends, family, and with the CTBTA. The people she helped and the hundreds of families affected by brain tumors are the largest reason why she lasted as long as she did. It gave her purpose and drove her to make change happen. On May 4, we get to celebrate her life and continue to make a positive impact on patients and families here in Connecticut,” Shimer said.
St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is the presenting sponsor of the Path of Hope 5K. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, as well as registration, click here.
To purchase tickets, or for additional information about sponsoring A Night in Paris, click here.
Kim Hodnett, a director of the CTBTA, said in a news release, “I am humbled to honor my dear friend Tracey with an evening that will capture the spirit of what she loved most about life, family, friends, the CTBTA cause, and French cuisine. I miss her and her larger than life persona, but she lives on through the CTBTA in everything we do!”