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Sunday May 4, 2014     Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC
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William M. Burke
William M. Burke

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On July 15, 2003, when I was 19 years old, my appendix ruptured. I had to have emergency surgery and I was stuck in the hospital for nine days in the middle of summer. I thought it was the worst thing to happen to anyone, ever.  When I finally got out of the hospital and got back to my house, I had a message waiting for me from my best friend Reavey's father:

"I heard my second daughter was in the hospital.  Give me a call when you get back home"

When I called Mr. Burke back we chatted for a while about my hospital stay, and then he casually dropped this bombshell:

"While you were in the hospital I found out I have brain cancer. I am having surgery next week, but don't worry - the doctor assured me it won't effect my Boston accent."

I know the saying is somewhat cliche, but I was truly at a loss for words. Mr. Burke was one of the most energetic, passionate and caring people I had ever met. How could someone so absolutely full-of-life have cancer?

16 months later, after an incredible battle, he passed away.

Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most common type of brain tumor, is the deadliest type of central nervous system cancer. Even with all of the advances made to date the median survival is still only 14 months.  Brain cancer can strike anyone, anywhere. I have seen firsthand how it can change a charismatic, happy and healthy man in the prime of his life into a man simply struggling to survive in a matter of months.

Because of the pervasive nature of this disease ABC2 ( has made it their mission to fund novel, translational research aimed at finding the fastest possible route to a cure. In support of their mission, I am running in the Race for Hope in Washington, DC on May 6th.

I am a firm believer that only focused and aggressive research will allow us to finally put an end to this insidious disease. Please support me as I participate in the Race for Hope, and hopefully, one day, we will find a cure.


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