After I heard my mom Laurie’s diagnosis following her initial surgery, I felt like we were heading into a battle with no weapons. The more I learned about GBM, the more discouraged I became. I felt lost with nowhere to go, and whenever I sought direction or hope from hospital staff or physicians I sunk further in despair. At the onset, they told me Mom had a slim chance of survival; thus, to them, she was merely a terminal patient.
When you look for places to donate your money, you always hope for the most “bang for your buck,” so to speak. You hope that whatever organization you support helps the people it represents in the greatest way possible. The EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund (www.endbraincancer.org) is just that sort of organization. Honestly, I believe the help provided by the people at the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund to Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients and their families is immeasurable. They are an ally and a champion in the insurmountable waters of glioblastoma. Brain tumors aren’t your everyday cancers that solely require chemo and radiation to beat; they are aggressive, smart beasts. Having an expert who can respond quickly to offer advice, knows this cancer inside and out, relates to how lost you feel, and puts you in touch with the right people, namely, top brain tumor specialists, is truly priceless, and this is why…
As a patient advocate, I didn’t want any doctor to treat my mom as if she were going to die tomorrow. I wanted a positive attitude; I wanted them to at least give her a fighting chance. Yet, many nurses and physicians just put their heads down and spoke very scientifically about my mom’s cancer, more like she was just another GBM victim destined to die rather than a mother who was fighting for her life. But my mom was one of the most personable, warm-hearted individuals you’ll ever met. Consequently, all of them soon had a heart for her – many even grew to love her.
I knew my mom’s odds, but I also wanted the medical staff to fight to give her the absolute best shot at long-term survival. I didn’t want my mom to be just another gold-standard chemo/radiation patient with one year to live, I wanted her to get the absolute best treatments possible with current technologies. Sadly, I cannot say I always felt like that was the case. In fact, when I spoke with one of my mom’s oncologists about all the research I was doing for clinical trials with her tumor type, she told me, “Keep up the research!” I was confused and thought, “Isn’t that your job?” Luckily, while I was researching I came across the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund’s page. I read the story of Chris Elliott’s battle with GBM and decided to fill out an online form just in case they may be able to help me navigate these seemingly impossible waters. Anyone who has dealt with GBM knows that you are in a battle against the clock and that you must absorb an extreme amount of new information in order to know which steps to take. Thankfully the organization responded back quickly and asked for all my mom’s tumor information and genetics. I knew that Chris’ wife, Dellann, had personally walked this miserable path before. She had kept up with all the current research and she could truly empathize with us, unlike many doctors we worked with who hadn’t been personally affected by this cancer. Dellann and the people at the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund taught me the right questions to ask the physicians and encouraged me in my role as a patient advocate.
The packet we received in the mail was helpful at giving a quick overview of the steps they suggest for GBM patients in order to get the best results. This information drastically cut down the time for all the research I was doing at night, enabling me to truly be present with my mom.
Even though my mom did not live long because she had a very aggressive case of GBM, the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund helped me not feel as lost and as alone as I initially felt. They enabled me to be the best possible patient advocate for my mom as I could be, while also ensuring that my free time was at her side rather than spending it in research.
Dellann was always there for me personally, too. I called her a couple times during our hardest moments and also after my mom passed. I very much admire Dellann and how she got back in the fight after losing her husband to this cancer. I also really like how the organization fights for a CURE in a seemingly hopeless situation. I think that’s a bold mission, but that it is an attainable one because of the positive attitude the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund maintains.
My beautiful, amazing Mama passed away right after she turned 50, but I have no regrets in the way I walked with her through many of the steps in her battle. I know we will one day be reunited in her cancer–free body, and all will be well. Until then, I hope we find a way to end brain cancer. That hope is why I support the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund!
Please join me in supporting this organization, too.
If you would like to support the EndBrainCancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund, please go to: