At 2:30am on Saturday, June 25th 2011, I received a phone call from my best friend, Jack (actually, there were three calls, all of which I missed because I was asleep and my phone was set on silent mode). Later, Jack would tell me he called while driving to OHSU in Portland to meet his wife Christy, who was being transported by ambulance for a brain tumor. Christy had been experiencing persistent headaches for several days and Jack demanded she go to the emergency room. After discovering the tumor, they rushed her to the Neurologists at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.
The skilled surgeons at OHSU removed the tumor a couple days later and most of us felt it was a close call, assuming they had removed the tumor and Christy would be fine and make a full recovery. Only a few short weeks later she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Before her diagnosis, I don’t remember ever even hearing the word “Glioblastoma” and had no idea what it was. My wife received some information from a friend who had experience with this particular form of cancer. He introduced us to Dellann Elliott, CEO of the Chris Elliott Fund. Dellann gave me a lot of information, introduced me to exceptional health care providers, and quickly became a trusted resource.
The rest of the story belongs to Christy. It’s her journey and we are here to support her, which is why I’m walking this year, for the first time ever – to support friends and family fighting brain cancer. I walk because I want to be there for others when they get that call in the early morning hours and have no idea what Glioblastoma means, or how they should react to news that a dear friend has a malignant brain tumor.
Glioblastoma is a devastating disease that 22,000 people will be diagnosed with this year. Half of those diagnosed will live more than one year and less than 5% will make it past 5 years. As bleak as the statistics are, progress is being made but it depends on support. So while I’m walking to support Christy, I’m also walking to support the researchers, doctors and social workers that are working to cure this disease. I walk with team CEF because Dellann Elliott and the Chris Elliott Fund helped us find answers. I want to make that information available to everyone that needs it. I want to support the people that do not yet know they need, so when the time comes they have everything they need to fight this disease.