This spring marks six years since I was diagnosed with stage III anaplastic oligodendroglioma (a rare form of brain cancer with no remission that typically comes back). Early on, my doctors mentioned that patients that made it five years without recurrence had substantially increased life expectancy, so five years became the goal. Making it to spring 2021 without recurrence meant we might be able to view my brain cancer as more of a chronic disease than a terminal one. Fast forward to 2022 and my scans continue to look great. The future is still uncertain as statistics aren’t guarantees and no one knows their fate, but the passage of time makes it easier to truly have hope—and take WebMD’s often grim assessments with a grain of salt!
Because of their rarity, support networks for this type of brain cancer are hard to come by. But I have been blessed with the tremendous good fortune of great friends, my strong and resilient wife Maggie, whose adventurous spirit continues to inspire (force, at times!) me to get off the sofa, and my 5-1/2-year-old daughter, Maura Kate, who is growing up too fast but still LOVES to play, sing, and dance with her old dad! You would be hard pressed to find evidence that I am living with an incurable form of brain cancer. Most people just assume I am in the military because of my haircut, and often even upon clarification, I still get 10% off!
For the past year, I have been participating in new cancer research programs at NIH that have dedicated funding to further explore rare brain cancers. The resulting cancer research has been an incredible blessing for myself and countless others, and should bring more hope to all families faced with a brain cancer diagnosis. With a deep appreciation for how important funding is for this research, I, along with my friends and family, am happy to be raising money for the Race for Hope for the sixth year. If you are able, please join us, either in person on May 1, 2022 or through donations, to help us again participate in this great cause!