John-Henry Westen

From the desk of the editor.

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Terry and Laurie Vanderheyden and their 7 children


Mother of 7 young children has brain tumor and urgently needs your help

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Terry Vanderheyden may be a familiar name to some long-time LifeSiteNews readers. He was one of our Canadian journalists for several years prior to his finding work in his field of naturopathy.  Terry and his wife Laurie are among those heroic Catholic parents that have decided to forgo a dual income and home school their children to preserve their faith.  They left big city life to give their children the healthy choice of rural life. 

As their GoFundMe page says: Laurie and Terry Vanderheyden and their 7 great kids, really need some help. Specifically, $92,270 CAD ($70,000 USD) to fund her therapy treatment in the US. They’ve only raised about a quarter of what is needed at this point, so they need the help urgently.

Laurie has a type of brain tumor that is called an acoustic neuroma. It initially caused partial facial paralysis, including the inability to close her right eye.

Hearing loss (which seems to have begun) on the same side is another effect of the tumor as it grows.

The paralysis began Aug. 15, 1992 but the tumor was not discovered until 2005. The tumor has been slow-growing but now measures 4x3 cm (1.75x1.25"). There is now also an extension over the carotid artery which is very concerning.

Because the tumor continues to grow, Laurie and Terry have been looking at various treatment options for some time.


The surgeon she has dealt with would like to remove it, though is concerned with the possible risks to the surrounding area and has said it would result in hearing loss and complete facial paralysis of the right side.

Their radiation oncologist confirmed that surgery is not a good option for Laurie, nor is conventional (termed "gamma knife") radiation therapy. The head of radiation oncology for Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto) has recommended "fractionated proton beam" radiation therapy, a less harmful and more appropriate and effective type of treatment for her type of tumor. Proton Beam is only available in a handful of centers worldwide.

Furthermore, Loma Linda University (where the treatment was invented) published a series of 30 cases of acoustic neuroma treated with proton beam, all of which completely resolved with the treatment.

Sadly, Laurie has been denied coverage from the Ontario Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health reasoned that she should take an optional treatment in Ontario, but as mentioned earlier, the safest and most effective treatment for her situation is the Proton Radiation.

She needs to get this treatment in the US.


The treatment encompasses 7-8 weeks, starting with a pre-consultation 1-2 weeks before commencing 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments (Monday-Friday).


Laurie and Terry plan to travel as a family as it would be too long a time for the family to be separated and also because Laurie home-schools the children. Terry will be working part time on-line, helping with the homeschooling and making sure Laurie gets any needed rest.

Laurie and Terry are hoping that some of you generous and loving people will be able to help them out. If you cannot help personally, please pass this information on however you may, and please pray for Laurie's healing.

God bless your generosity!

Click here to make a donation to Laurie’s treatment.

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John-Henry Westen

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.