To nine-year-old Sydney Turack and her seven-year-old sister, Samantha (Sammy), their father Fred was “the best dad in the world… very funny, caring and loving.”
“He made me feel happy,” Sammy said.
Quite a tribute to a very special dad.
And so when Fred Turack, 57, a chartered accountant and avid golfer who was always healthy, was diagnosed with frontal lobe brain cancer, the girls wanted to help find a cure and help others like him by fundraising.
With some input from their mother, Robin Turack, they decided to make bracelets to sell at their school, Crestwood School in Toronto.
Turack said her daughters had done some beading as a craft before, but this was a much bigger project. They got some help from a wholesaler, John Bead, who helped her choose supplies.
Sydney and Sammy selected a bracelet design with a blue centre stone (their father’s favourite colour) and a heart on each side, representing them. The band is made of tiny silver-coloured tubes separated by small blue beads, with the beads standing for their mother. The bracelets, which sell for $10, come in child and adult sizes.
The Blue Brain Bracelet Project has so far raised $25,000 for the Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital, where Fred Turack was first treated.
Robin Turack and her daughters thought that the project would remain small, but it took off when friends and family came to their home for bead-a-thons, and then even went on to hold their own beading sessions. Sydney and Sammy’s older half-brother, Matthew, got involved in the effort, too, and is now helping them create a website.
Unfortunately, Fred Turack died last December. But the project has carried on.
Several schools are holding bead-a-thons, including Valley Park Middle School. Teacher Florence Fajman was the first teacher to get on board, and her class made 600 bracelets. Crestwood School has sold some 250, Robin Turack reported. Grade 7 Leo Baeck Day School student Tiphaera Ziner-Cohen plans to take the project to her school.
Participants receive a certificate of appreciation from the Pencer Institute and the Blue Brain Bracelet Project, signed by Sydney, Samantha and Nancy Pencer.
“We hope to make beading for brain cancer as big as the walk for a cure for breast cancer,” Turack said.
Kits to make 100 bracelets will be available, so that patients and families can have “the same opportunity to bead in honour of a loved one,” she said.
Sydney said that “the blue brain bracelet is so meaningful to us because it’s the last great thing we did for our dad. If we could get this all over Ontario, it would make our dad so proud.”
Samantha added that “this bracelet is important because it is helping people with brain cancer and their families.”
The family hopes to set up the Fred Turack Palliative Support Unit to assist brain cancer patients and their families in the final stages of life.
For more information, visit the Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Institute website, www.pencerbraintrust.com, which has a link for the bracelet. The Blue Brain Bracelet Project website, at www.bluebrainbracelet.com, is currently under construction.