Cheryl Broyles, a 16 year glioblastoma survivor is my nomination for the Hope Award. In June 2000, Cheryl, aged 33, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. She had been married for 10 years, and her two boys were only 1 and 3 years old. She had a brain hemorrhage in her left temporal lobe. During surgery they found a cluster of veins and arteries leaking blood (called an Arterial Venal Malformation – AVM) and hidden within it was a Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). Cheryl had radiation but not chemotherapy. She continued to live her life to the fullest.
In 2004, she climbed Mt. Shasta, a 14,167 foot elevation mountain in Northern California. Afterward, her tumor returned and she had another surgery and chemotherapy. The family kept enjoying outdoor living, of camping, backpacking and mountain bike riding. She had surgery again in 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 for recurrences. She remains hopeful.
From the very beginning of her diagnosis, Cheryl’s heart has gone out to others battling brain tumors. She realized when she was first diagnosed it helped her so much to talk to another person who had been through what she had experienced. She has listened to so many stories, and has an email open to anyone who needs someone to hear his or her story. She is every person’s cheerleader. Cheryl’s good works has resonated throughout the brain tumor community from the time she was diagnosed. She is a household name. She tells people to not give up hope. She believes in enjoying every second of life. She also holds a strong faith in God. Cheryl wrote a book, Life’s Mountains. This book tells the story of climbing Mount Shasta and battling the Glioblastoma Multiforme. In addition to her book, she has a website full of self help information through diet, exercise, reducing stress and positive attitude. She hopes that it will inspire others to continue forward on their journey.
My personal experience with Cheryl was in 2016 when she called and asked if she could attend the San Francisco Brain Tumor Support Group since she would be in town for an MRI evaluation. She did not use her name, but stated she was a 16 year survivor. I asked her name, and she told me she was Cheryl Broyles. We were very pleased to have her attend the group. This evening was particularly stressful. Among the patients and caregivers present, there were newly diagnosed patients, a patient transitioning to hospice, and Cheryl, a 16 year survivor were present. Some of the group members had read about Cheryl and knew her story. Cheryl was very humble. She listened and quietly provided support to the participants. She was flanked by her family and exhibited her inner strength in an awesomely powerful way. Cheryl continues to extend herself to fellow brain tumor patients in need. She is there to help anyone since it is very hard to walk this path alone. She gives hope and lives life to the fullest.