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August 19, 2015 is a date that I will always have on the forefront of my mind. Literally. It was the date I was diagnosed with a primary brain tumor. Shortly after my diagnosis, I underwent a craniotomy to remove the brain tumor and prevent it from spreading.
The brain is an elaborate, elegant, and sophisticated mass of tissue and nerve cells. It seamlessly controls our personality, our senses, helps regulate vital body functions, and controls how we move in our environment. When abnormal cells grow in the brain to develop a tumor, it can disrupt how we function. A brain tumor can have life-altering psychological, cognitive, behavior and physical side effects.
For me, the good news was that surgery removed almost all of the tumor and I now live a normal, healthy life without significant side effects. In fact, although this was a challenging time in my life, this experience pushed me to find a deeper meaning and sense of purpose, to realize that health, happiness, and love of oneself and family and friends is what really matters at the end of the day.
However, the bad news is that there are many people who are less fortunate than me. Almost 700,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain tumor today and face the potential of significant side effects and/or death. This year alone, an estimated 14,000 people in the United States will die from brain cancer and brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under age 19. These are staggering, scary facts and unfortunately brain tumor research to treat and cure this disease remains underfunded. For example, there are only four FDA-approved drugs available today to treat brain tumors.
After my experience, I wanted to find a way to give back to others who were suffering more than me, to those that lost loved ones or to those who struggle on a daily basis to live with this debilitating disease. I volunteer my time and money with the Northern California chapter of the National Brain Tumor Society (www.braintumor.org), which is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the brain tumor community in the U.S. Their focus is on raising vital awareness and funding critical brain tumor research for the discovery of new treatments, and ultimately, a cure.
Every year, the Northern California chapter hosts an annual “Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk” that is occurring this year on May 13, 2017. The Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk is an inspiring, family-friendly 5k that offers individuals and teams a chance to honor and remember loved ones, connect with others interested in the cause, and educate the local community on the diverse needs of patients and survivors.
Please join me by donating to the Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk to make a difference in my life and the lives of all those affected by brain tumors!
To learn more about the Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk or join me in walking or volunteering, please visit www.braintumorwalk.org/bayarea or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Brain Tumor Society is fiercely committed to finding a cure for brain tumors. They are aggressively driving strategic research; advocating for public policies that meet the critical needs of the brain tumor community; and providing comprehensive patient, family and caregiver resources. Your support ensures this important work will continue.
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