Joe’s Journey

Joe was diagnosed with GBM just before his 25th birthday in March 2016. He was a brilliant young man mid way through his program toward a PhD in economics when he experienced his 3rd and most severe of what we were told was a manic episode as part of his bipolar disorder. He had been misdiagnosed with mental illness when he was 19 but recovered and excelled at university and on to graduate school. When he finally had a CT scan after suffering with severe headaches and nausea for over a month, a mass was found in the center of his brain. After his initial surgery and 6 weeks of radiation, at 6 months through his first course of chemotherapy his first recurrence was seen. Joe said being treated for brain cancer was better than being a psychiatric patient. An avid sports fan, Joe has often watched Jimmy V’s famous speech and fully subscribed to the “Never give in, never give up” philosophy of fighting cancer. Joe died in Jan 2018 after nearly 2 years of fighting his illness. He was amazed when in just under 3 weeks his “Team Smeeding” came in 3rd in the 2017 OC NBTS Walk as donations came pouring in. Joe was a dedicated researcher and loved learning. His brain went on to UCLA following his death and his family is dedicated to raising funds to support the dedicated doctors, like his beloved Dr. Kong at UCI who devote their lives to this fight.

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