Some individuals seem to embody goodness and generosity, living their lives dedicated to performing acts of kindness and selflessness. Putting others first to make the world a better place comes as naturally to them as breathing. One such man, Glenn Garcelon, was a beloved source of humanitarianism to a lot of people. Many lost their source of light when he passed away, though peacefully, in 2008 after a three-and-a-half-year battle with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer.
Thanks to his family, Glenn’s altruism lives on.
Glenn made an impact on improving the lives of others everywhere. He enjoyed a 30-year career with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Denton Regional Headquarters (FEMA) aiding victims of natural disasters. Much of his free time was spent volunteering at a crisis call center, reading books on tape for the blind, and regularly donating blood and plasma. Glenn supported a multitude of other humanitarian causes, such as Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and the Red Cross. Those are just a few of his volunteer efforts, and then there was precious time spent with wife, Gail, and daughters, Nicole and Danielle.
“Glenn’s smile lit up the darkest of rooms, as he radiated a happiness and vibrancy that spread to everyone around him,” Gail reflected.
Glenn left this world fueling his family with the inspiration to carry on his legacy of paying it forward. In 2011, the Glenn Garcelon Foundation became a reality. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was founded with a mission to empower and support brain tumor patients and their families by awarding grants to pay for expenses that are beyond their means. The eight compassionate board members hail from all across the country, while
Gail and her daughters serve on the executive board.
“To coin a phrase made popular by realtors and applying it to a brain tumor, ‘it’s all about location,’” Gail explained. “When a tumor is located in the brain, it creates life-altering changes to every part of the body. In addition to physical challenges, the victim suffers cognitive damage and severe personality changes, all of which inevitably lead to job loss, relationship breakups, and other tremendous hardships.”
Monetary grants from the Glenn Garcelon Foundation are used to ease financial burdens compounding the overwhelming stress of the disease itself. That means the recipient may choose to pay the mortgage, rent, utilities, insurance, purchase specialized equipment, or whatever is most necessary to ease the load. “Grants have been awarded in 47 states, plus Puerto Rico,” Gail stated proudly. “As of March 31st, the Foundation has issued 388 grants, and 58 of those have been in Texas.”
Grant applications are accepted through the website glenngarcelonfoundation.org and open to all patients living in the United States with a primary brain tumor.
Fundraisers are held in Texas, Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona. “We started out wanting to hold a fundraiser in every state where our family had lived, but there were too many states,” Gail, who now lives in Coppell, said with a smile.
The Foundation’s vision is to be fierce in the pursuit of support for brain tumor patients who are in physical, emotional, and financial need. Their annual fundraisers are key to both raising awareness and donations. The Taste of Hope Galas was held in Texas, Oregon, and Colorado. Arizona’s Denim & Diamonds, held in March, was initiated by a benevolent woman who herself suffered from a brain tumor, but didn’t need the financial assistance. She just wanted to help the cause.
These special events are wonderfully orchestrated, enjoyed by all who attend, and so necessary to the foundation’s objective. “Sadly, all events were cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but we’ll be back next year,” Gail promised with conviction. As of this writing, the Glenn Garcelon Foundation Golf Classic was held on May 2nd, marking their 10th year at Tour 18 in Flower Mound. Foundation Board Member Trent Tice of Lantana, whose idea it was to hold the event, serves as tournament coordinator.
The distinctive logo representing the Foundation is the image of an oak tree. Its “branches” bear the image of people with their arms stretched upward. The tree signifies the Foundation’s commitment to reaching out and paying it forward.
It’s been said that Glenn Garcelon “grew people,” guiding and encouraging them to discover their full potential. Strong, like that oak tree, he reached out to those in need and lived a life firmly rooted in his commitment to aiding and empowering others.
photos courtesy of the Glenn Garcelon Foundation