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Renate Kebbert Memorial 
I Love You Session

The Story of My Mom and how I would like to keep her memory alive:

On June 5th 2011 I lost my Mom, my best friend, to a brain tumour. Although it has been 5 years this year that she has been gone, it's still as devastating now as it was on June 5th 2011. Everything has changed, I have changed.....I am not who I used be before losing her and that is ok.
I wrote the following for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, it was my Mom's story told by me, it is a long one but I need you to know about her and what she went through and why I am doing this!

Renate Kebbert, my Mom was an absolutely amazing Mom, wife, and friend. She was one of those people that was always there for others, she was my and my sister’s biggest supporter in everything we did, she helped others when they needed it and never asked for anything in return, I can’t say enough about her, she was just the most amazing person ever.

I noticed a slight change in her around the birth of my second son (in November 2010), her memory wasn’t quite as good, she had problems paying attention and was more sleepy than usual. The week that my son was born she came over a few days to help me around the house and with my two-year old. She didn’t have her usual energy, she fell asleep in a chair while she was trying to help me and that wasn’t like her. Around March of 2011 she started to have problems with her vision, she went to the eye doctor and got some glasses, which didn’t help at all.

After a couple of more weeks near the end of March she lost her sense of taste and when it hadn’t come back after a couple of days, I told her to make a doctor’s appointment just to see what was up. Her doctor didn’t think much of it and prescribed her a nose spray, saying it was probably sinus related. When that didn’t work, I said, “go back to the doctor.”

She was sent to have a CT scan April on 7th, I nervously waited for her to call, when she didn’t, I called her around noon on that day, she said, “the doctor wants to see me right away,” my stomach dropped, I just had a bad feeling…
I waited and waited and heard nothing. The phone rang at 6:05pm on April 7th, and my life and my family’s lives changed forever. She told me she had a brain tumour, they weren’t sure of the exact kind and that she had to have a MRI done. I tried so hard to hold it together for her, but by the end of the call I was in tears, and she was saying, “I am going to be okay, I promise”

For the next couple of weeks, she started to have problems walking and the right side of her body started to get weak. She went in on April 29th in London, Ontario for her MRI, she ended up staying at the hospital because of how difficult it was for her to get around. They did a biopsy later that day. I found out the next morning that we almost lost her, she was not waking up and it wasn’t looking good (complications from the biopsy, it caused major swelling in her head).

I remember walking into her room that afternoon expecting her not to be awake, but there she was sitting in her bed, I was thrilled…. than I noticed that she had no movement on the right side of her body at all, and than we found out that because of the biopsy she lost her ability to speak, we started to sign “I Love You” in sign language, that way she could say that to us.

The following day, I was with my Mom holding her hand, when the surgeon came in she looked at me and said, “The tumour is in her brainstem, we will see if she qualifies for chemo ( to try and shrink it ), but this brain tumour is what will kill your Mother” I remember that I just blanked, I could do nothing but stare at that surgeon. The rest of the family came in and she told them what she had told me and mom, and the second that I heard it come out of her mouth again, I completely lost it… we all did.

After everyone left, I bent down to my Mom and said sorry for crying and not being strong enough for her, and she reached out and rubbed my cheek with her left hand and smiled, I will never forget that moment, because even though she was just told the worst news of her life, she was taking care of me in that moment, she was so incredibly strong.

She didn’t qualify for any treatments, we were told that she might have a couple of weeks, that the tumour was aggressive, and that it was an "ugly" tumour, the "worst kind" and it grew so fast that it wouldn’t have been there 6 or even 4 months earlier, we were told that there wasn’t anything that they could do for her. She was moved to a hospital closer to my Dad and the rest of us so that we could spend as much time as we could with her.
My husband took care of our boys so I could stay at the hospital with her on weekends. She stayed positive and strong the whole time. She slowly became less responsive and was moved to a palliative care room.

She fought hard, and longer than any doctor expected, but on June 5th 2011 at 6:05pm she passed away peacefully, less than two months after she found out about the tumour.

Watching my Mom go through this, was completely heartbreaking but it has inspired me so much as well. She was so brave and strong and despite getting sicker, she was still the most amazing Mom I could have ever asked for.

Shortly after she passed, I signed up to be a volunteer with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and in Oct of 2011 I started the annual Renate Kebbert Fundraising Mini Sessions ( I am a photographer ) I shoot mini sessions and I donate 100% off the proceeds to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in my Mom’s name. I wanted to do something in her memory… to keep her memory alive. 

I wish that I was able to write more about her thoughts as this all unfolded, but since she was unable to speak, I don’t know what she was thinking. I wrote about what I experienced with her during this all. I do know she was scared, but mostly I know that she was strong, loving and concerned about all of us.

This is a story about my wonderful Mom.
Renate Kebbert Oct.7th 1953 – June 5th 2011

For the past 6 years I have done fundraising mini sessions and have donated over $6,000 to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in her name, and I have loved doing them, but it's time for me to move on and do something more!!
Please head over to: 
I Love You Sessions
and find out about the "I Love You Sessions" 

Nikki xoxox


Renate Kebbert ~ Oct 7th, 1953 ~ June 5th, 2011