Northeast Philly tumor patient finds support in Facebook group

Northeast Philly tumor patient  finds support in Facebook group
Randi Fair

It was an ordinary day at work in 2012 when Northeast Philly residentJennifer Pownall began to feel intense cramping in her feet.

Soon, the pain spread to her hands and fingers along with burning sensations in her extremities and face, debilitating migraines, and a feeling of electric pulses or shocks through her face and arms.

After seeing numerous doctors she was finally diagnosed with having three meningiomal brain tumors. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, 688,096 Americans are living with a brain tumor.

Related: Ernest Opinion: Philly Mag & Penn frats still don’t get what diversity is

From that number, 550,042 are benign, which Pownall’s is. “A lot of people think that because the tumor is non-cancerous, that it isn’t a big deal. But it is. These tumors still wreak havoc on our lives,” Pownall said.

After spending the month of July out of commission from pain, she decided to create a challenge that would bring awareness to the condition. For theKensington native, rock and roll has been a way for her to deal with her diagnosis.

So she made a challenge that features playing air guitar. Her son, Ryan, made a YouTube video of his mother explaining the challenge and playing air guitar to “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne and she sent it around to friends and family and made a Facebook Page called “Rock Out Brain Tumors Air Guitar Challenge.”

She was also a guest on Fox Network’s Good Day. In only a month, Pownall has received dozens of messages from strangers and hundreds of ‘likes’ to her page. What she wants is to bring more awareness to this condition. She said there aren’t many resources out there for what she has. “Finding support through this page has been a saving grace for me. But what I want most is for people to do the challenge, share the page and to donate, Pownall said.