My son Joe Smeeding was diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2016.
Although we were told it was GBM and he had 2 years to live, we learned that he had something even worse. The results of his genetic testing shows his tumor had the H3K27 mutation and that he had Diffuse Midline Glioma. Joe was a bright talented student who already had earned his Master’s degree in Economics by age 24. Before he could complete his doctoral studies his tumor emerged and revealed that he had been misdiagnosed as bipolar 5 years earlier when in fact he had a tumor growing in his L thalamus.
Joe fought like hell and never once complained. He was always proud of his compliance numbers with the Optune cap and kept them in the mid to hi 90%.
Through surgery, repeat courses of radiation and chemotherapy, he never gave up. When faced with no further treatment options he said “Well, then, I will just do my best”.
Joe said receiving treatment for cancer at UCIs Chao Cancer Center was better than being treated for mental illness. Joe’s love of family, friends, and Syracuse University Basketball and his great joy in life are his legacy.
He died quietly in early January 2018 and is missed by all who knew him. We now are challenged to carry on and do our best to fight brain cancer, improved mental health care and live our lives to the fullest with humor and kindness like Joe.