Recently, we held the 2nd Annual National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Nature Walk at Weldon Springs. An event originally facilitated to honor my mom, and give financial contribution to the research of brain tumors through the NBTS in her honor, has turned into more than I could ever have asked for. Families, from literally all over the state, attended and my family was fortunate enough to meet some pretty incredible people. All of us sharing an unfortunate bond and our own individual stories.
One very special family came from our own hometown. Norman Emery and his family attended the event this year, and I am honored to say that I was able to walk beside them - our families both committed to, and united in, finding a cure. Norman and his family are the perfect example of solidarity and bravery, love and compassion. We all know I lost my mom to a stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), but the idea that there is still hope for Norman (who has also been diagnosed with GBM) and his family, is an exceptional motivator.
The cause of Glioblastoma Multiforme has not been established and as a result, a cure has not been discovered. It is, however, considered rare, making it difficult for me to understand the odds of two unrelated people from the same area developing the same rare brain tumor. This, to me, solidifies the necessity of our community coming together to educate others and raise awareness. Last year, we raised a little over $23,000 and this year we have already raised more than $6,000. $0.83 of every dollar donated to the National Brain Tumor Society goes directly to research. I am overwhelmed at those who have helped us make our fundraising efforts so substantial.
Not long ago, my daughter, Kendall, asked me, “Why did Nana have cancer?” It was a legitimate question, to which I realized it was one I did not have an answer for. I can answer the usual questions like, “Why did Nana die?” Or “What is cancer?” But WHY my mom had brain cancer is still unanswered. It occurred to me that finding a cause of brain tumors is crucial, but to consider how many people and their families could potentially benefit from knowing - some may finally find a cure, some may find closure, some may be able to prevent their loved ones from the devastating diagnosis.
I want to formally thank the many contributors in our community (and beyond) for supporting our efforts and our cause. Many people come together to ensure our events are successful and I am sincerely grateful. I would also like to thank the National Brain Tumor Society for supporting our events, and even sending formal representation at this year’s event (Lauren Gainor from the NBTS flew in from the East Coast to offer her support). It has been a remarkable experience from start to finish. We already have plans rolling for next year, with an idea to expand our event and offer many more options in the future. To say I am excited is an understatement - I cannot wait to see what our community can do to support NBTS research.
For more information about the NBTS, or brain cancer in general, please visit www.braintumors.org.