The Chris Elliott Fund for Glioblastoma Brain Cancer Education, Awareness, Advocacy and Research and Dr. Foltz at the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment gave my family and I the HOPE, emotional support and knowledge that I so deeply need.

My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor in March 2010.  He had no symptoms before a massive seizure sent him to the emergency room of our local hospital.  My family was blindsided and devastated.  We felt lost and completely in the dark.  We had never known anyone that had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

We were told by our family & friends that the “best doctors” were at the University of Washington.  So, appointments were made and after 6 weeks of listening to unfamiliar words in rooms full of oncologists, chemotherapists, radiologists and neurologists, a biopsy was scheduled for the end of April.  We had to wait one week for the results.  We were anxious to get answers so we could start our “game plan” and get rid of this tumor.

On May 5, 2010, our first appointment was made with a doctor at the UW.   He opened my father’s file and nonchalantly informed us that, unfortunately, the biopsy showed a Glioblastoma Multiforme or GBM, stage 4 brain cancer and there wasn’t anything we could do to cure him.  Perhaps chemo and radiation could give him a few more months, but that it was our decision whether we wanted to do that or not.  He gave us NO HOPE. His lack of emotion and fatalistic viewpoint sent all of us into a semi-shock.   We were not in the least bit mentally prepared to absorb such devastating news.

After 2 days of uncontrollable sobbing and brief periods of denial, our family did the smartest thing that we have ever done:  We made the conscious decision to not give up.  We were going to try.  Try to survive, try to accept the cards we were dealt, and learn how to change them.  I knew that to the UW doctors, my father was just a number; but to me, he was my best friend.  My indestructible father was not “on borrowed time”, and he WOULD be the exception.  After researching every book and online article, my mom decided to contact Dellann Elliott, President & CEO, Chris Elliott Fund, info@ChrisElliottFund.org/www.ChrisElliottFund.org.  She had read the CEF story and felt she could turn to Dellann for guidance.  Dellann is a kindred spirit, and was so knowledgeable about brain tumors and what is on the cutting edge of treatments.   Dellann told us a year and a half ago that we should get a 2nd opinion from Dr. Foltz at the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment and that she would arrange for it.  We should have listened to Dellann’s advice then because the support and knowledge that Dellann provides to each family and patient is desperately needed and critical.  Dellann and the CEF on a mission to educate and provide awareness about this disease so that everyone knows what to do about a brain tumor diagnosis to extend or even save one’s live before they need to know it.  Dellann gave us the HOPE that we needed.  JOIN TEAM CEF at the 4th Annual Seattle Brain Cancer WALK to help us in this mission.  Register and donate today at: www.ChrisElliottFund.

Having the support team and CEF and knowing that whatever questions we may have, from new trials out of the state to the definition of a word, CEF is there.

For as long as I can remember, every time that I’ve been sick or there has been an obstacle that seems unbeatable or too tough to conquer, my father has always held my hand and carried me through.  I’m supporting TEAM CEF in the 4thnAnnual Seattle Brain Cancer WALK because this time, my father is the sick one, and it’s my turn to show him that he can count on me.  He gave me tenacious drive and unwavering will power, and I will be PART OF THE CURE.  I will fight for my family and help in every way possible.  I love you dad.

Rachael Long