What is a Brain Tumor Warrior?  A Brain Tumor Warrior is anyone who is fighting a brain tumor, whether it’s the person with the brain tumor, a caregiver, loved one, or friend.  I am a Brain Tumor Warrior.  My Dad is the one fighting the brain tumor that has ravaged his body and taken away his independence… HE is a Brain Tumor Warrior.  My mother and brothers are warriors, as we all work together to help my dad fight his brain tumor.   My dad’s Neuro-Oncologist and Neurosurgeon are Brain Tumor Warriors.

This September 22nd, our family will join together with friends and extended family to join my father at the 5th Annual Seattle Brain Cancer Walk.  Our Team,  Warriors4Dad is a part of TEAM CEF/DEFEAT GOLIATH for The Elliott Foundation.  We will ALL be walking as Brain Tumor Warriors, loved ones, patients, and friends of those that are fighting the good fight.  We’ll also be walking in memory of those that we’ve lost to a brain tumor; fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

I know that my own father’s ability to walk the one-mile course of this walk will be a challenge like none other he’s had in his life.  He could have easily conquered this one-mile a year ago, before we knew that this brain tumor was growing rapidly in his brain.  He was golfing three days a week and fishing with his son, grandsons, and best friend on the rivers of the NW that he loves… all with ease.  Now, he’s in training to walk the most challenging walk he’s ever walked.  He’s got a treadmill and he’s working daily to increase his time and speed with pictures of his family around him while he walks, to remind him of how important that walking is.  There are certainly days that he doesn’t feel like walking and it’s more effort than he’s willing to give, but he walks for us, and hopefully for himself too.  I call and push him to go further, on the speakerphone I encourage and cheer him on for  “just one more minute, Dad… (and then another and another…).  I am thrilled to say he’s gone from 6-7 minutes each time to 15-16 minutes.

I know that many who hear about the Brain Cancer Walk will just do as I have for many years, and think “Oh, that’s nice, I hope they do well and raise a lot of money for their cause”.  Now, I know the impact this WALK will have on our entire family and circle of friends, as we watch my dad attempt this one-mile walk, no cane, no walker… and absolutely no wheelchair.  He is determined and so are we.  We refuse to let this brain tumor win and with each and every step he takes… it won’t!  One thing a brain tumor cannot take away is the spirit,  and my dad has enough spirit for an army of brain tumor warriors!  I have that spirit too…

We want everyone who hears about the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk to know how significant this walk is to the brain tumor warriors who will all be joining together on that morning of September 22nd.  It will be an emotion-filled walk and one that I know we will never forget.   We’ll be walking in celebration of each day that we have with our loved one fighting their brain tumor and we’ll be walking in celebration and memory of those whose brain tumor battle is over.

I realize and do not underestimate how difficult each and every step will be for those who have been ravaged by radiation, chemotherapy, craniotomies, and the many drugs to control seizures, swelling of the brain, and so much more.  This will be a day of courage, strength, and celebration.

I hope you will join us all as we walk.  We walk for them… and for the many others who will come after our loved ones, until a cure is found.

Maria Barrett

Daughter of Ed Elston and Brain Tumor Warrior