Chiropractor Paul Poirier organizes the annual ride for Bikers Against Brain Cancer. Hes also making a documentary, The Test of a Man, about his battle with brain cancer.
Devastation, depression, fear—a diagnosis of brain cancer is sure to provoke a myriad of troubling feelings. But for Cornwall, Ontario, chiropractor Dr. Paul Poirier, his diagnosis of brain cancer has fuelled a commitment to raise awareness about this serious disease.
Poirier had a seizure while playing tennis. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in April 1995 just as he was about to wrap up his chiropractic training in San Francisco. Six weeks after an operation to remove the tumour, he went back to his studies.
Unfortunately, brain tumour removal doesn’t come with a no-return guarantee, and Poirier underwent surgery for a second brain tumour in 2005. In the meantime, he managed to live life to the fullest: he’d married his wife Ginny, had a family, and established himself as a chiropractor. In 2008 he returned to his hometown of Cornwall to enter the Earthway Family Chiropractic practice. He also purchased his childhood home where he and Ginny are raising their three kids.
But life as a brain cancer survivor is made up of peaks and valleys. And in 2010 the tumour reappeared—only this time it was inoperable.
Bikers Against Brain Cancer
An avid biker, Poirier came up with the idea to hold an annual fundraising ride to promote brain cancer awareness and raise funds to aid the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The first Bikers Against Brain Cancer ride was held in Cornwall in 2010. The 2011 ride was held in four cities: Cornwall, Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.
Over 100 riders and some classic muscle car drivers participated in the 2012 ride in Cornwall, raising over $14,000. Poirier hopes to expand this event to more cities, and possibly to the US. But his plans to do so are temporarily on hold as he works on his latest project.
As if brain cancer wasn’t enough, Poirier was also diagnosed with diabetes and prescribed the drug metphormin. But after adopting a healthy eating plan in conjunction with a bodybuilding regimen, blood tests showed in July that he is no longer diabetic.
After being on chemotherapy for 21 months, Poirier says, “Do I expect this bodybuilder’s diet regimen that I’m following to cure my brain cancer? No, but I do expect it to slow it down to a snail’s pace!”
Test of a Man
With seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm, Poirier is working on a documentary about his struggle with brain cancer. And he has some heavy-hitting Hollywood power on his side. After meeting ex-California governor, former bodybuilder, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011, Poirier is entering his documentary into the 2013 Arnold Sports Film Festival, an annual event sponsored by Schwarzenegger. The film festival features movies highlighting the challenges and accomplishments of athletes, and exposes the films to Hollywood filmmakers.
Photo: Dave Chan, The Globe and Mail