In July 2019, Gemma was admitted to the hospital after an MRI showed 3 tumors on the left side of her brain. The MRI was taken to get to the root of her crippling migraines, which had been intensifying in severity over the course of the past year. After consultation at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in September 2019, they performed a more detailed MR spectroscopy scan, which looks specifically for the cancer marker 2HG, which is associated with a mutation of the IDH enzyme that is common in low grade glioma. Unfortunately the results of this scan showed increased levels of both markers, which her doctor assessed as likely indicative of cancer. In order to determine exactly what her diagnosis is, Gemma underwent surgery on October 29th 2019 to remove the primary tumor and have it biopsied. Following surgery, pathology confirmed a diagnosis of a Grade 3 glioma called Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Gemma then underwent a second surgery on December 3rd, 2019, to resect the other two lesions. Following her recovery for the two surgeries, Gemma started treatment with a metabolic targeted therapy drug that is showing very promising results in stalling the growth of gliomas with an IDH1 mutation (which Gemma’s have). Gemma had a third surgery in 2022 and has since restarted treatment and continues to be followed under the amazing care of the team at DFCI. She has been an inspiration in how she has attacked this disease head on with strength and grace. For Gemma, we are humbled and honored to be able to help support the NBTS to raise money and awareness through the 2023 Boston Brain Tumor Walk.
National Brain Tumor Society is fiercely committed to finding a cure for brain tumors. They are aggressively driving strategic research and advocating for public policies that meet the critical needs of the brain tumor community. Your support ensures this important work will continue.