On October 14th, I will participate in the Phoenix Angel Adventure 5k , which raises money for the National Brain Tumor Foundation. My inspiration is my wonderful friend Marisa. Please take the time to read about the last few stressful months that she and her husband have endured.
On April 26, 2006, my dear friend Marisa's life changed forever. After having a seizure, she was rushed to the emergency room to find out that there was a mass on her brain. From this point, things moved quickly. By April 28th, she had a biopsy where they declared that the mass was a Grade II (out of IV) Astrocytoma in the right temporal lobe.
Marisa and her husband Jim, had to make a decision on whether to have a resection (have the tumor removed). Being that it was the size of an apple, it was too large to respond to radiation. After getting a second opinion, they were told that it was definitely in Marisa's best interest to have the resection. After countless hours in doctor's offices, making phone calls and excruciating time spent to think, they decided that they would move forward with the brain surgery to get as much of the tumor removed as possible.
Although the entire tumor was not able to be removed, a large portion was able to be successfully taken out. This news was wonderful; however, Marisa and her family were about to learn that the Grade II tumor was misdiagnosed and was actually a Grade IV, or GBM, the most deadly type of brain tumor.
After digesting the news, Marisa and Jim were blessed enough to learn about a doctor at Duke who gave patients diagnosed with GBM's a second lease on life. They learned that the best option for treatment is a combination of clinical trial drugs, chemo, and radiation. She is currently recieiving chemo and radiation each day (except weekends and holidays-those are good days she says!) and will begin a clinical trial vaccine in September.
As a close friend of Marisa's, I have felt so helpless. What can I do for this woman that I love so dearly? How can I help? Living on the other side of the country has made it even harder. This is my way of giving to her, since I am not able to be there for the every day occurences. So, I am asking for your support for Marisa and all the other brain tumor patients. As Marisa has learned, there is still an incredible amount that is not known about this area of medicine. Money is needed in order to continue to do research, so that someday, there will not be any man or woman who will have to endure this horrifying journey.
Marisa will beat it. If there is anyone in this world who has a chance, it is her. She is a strong, willful, determined woman full of passion. The world is not ready to be without her laughter, compassion, grace, and inner beauty. As a social worker, she has dedicated her life to helping those in need. Now it is her turn to get a little something back.
Thank you in advance for any donation amount, small or large. I appreciate it and so does Marisa.