My brain tumor journey began in 2006, when my husband Mike was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). It was during his treatment that I met a woman who worked in the Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN. We formed a friendship and together with a group of dedicated people, started a non-profit called Brains Together For a Cure (BTFC) to raise funds for brain tumor research.
My husband tried the usual course of treatment as well as a few clinical trials and two surgeries. Ultimately he succumbed to the brain tumor in 2008. During these two years, Brains Together For a Cure was forming the foundation of who we are, cementing our intentions and how to accomplish them. Little did I know the importance this endeavor would have for me in the future.
In 2009, nine months after my husband passed away, my only brother was diagnosed with a GBM; yes, you read that right – it was the same type of brain tumor. He only lived six months, but during this time I was confident that the research BTFC funded was necessary to make a difference!
As my life carried on and the work of BTFC continued, my family was hit yet again with another diagnosis. In the fall of 2016, my late husband’s mother Nancy, was given the diagnosis of a brain tumor, a GBM. The day I found out, it literally took me to my knees. How in the world could this happen to me three times? But as before, our families forged ahead with care and love for her during the next nine months.
I miss all three of these wonderful people and will keep fighting this disease to honor them. Our connection with the National Brain Tumor Society is such an important collaboration of that common goal of research for better treatments. Despite the tragedies that I have personally endured, I have great faith in our scientific community, our physicians and all the incredible people that I have met along the way. My life is certainly forever changed but I know now, it’s the path I was always intended to follow.