2020 is a BIG year for me! It will be my 25th year as a survivor of a pediatric brain tumor. I've lived a life where I was constantly challenged through treatments that included surgery and radiation, late-term effects like epilepsy and imbalances to multiple hormonal glands that I still take medications for daily, not to mention the emotional impact that having a brain tumor has on a child.
I came to the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation in 2011 as a young adult looking for support. I went to their Heads Up Conference, a 6-day retreat in Montana specifically for brain tumor survivors. I had never traveled outside the east coast before and this was a really big deal. I went with the hope of having a great week away where I could meet other survivors like myself. Now almost 9 years later, here I am THRIVING as a very active adult with CBTF and the people I met as a key part of my life. I've been working for them for 8 years and am able to help other survivors have the same experiences I did almost a decade ago.
Now it's time to celebrate 25 years of survivorship. I've taken on challenges no one would ever want to take but I should count myself lucky because I'm able to take on challenges I choose to - such as running multiple marathons in one year, with plans of running in both Berlin and Chicago in 2020. I'm raising money to support CBTF as a part of my adventure to Chicago and hope you will consider supporting me! The impact they've had on my and others' lives is indescribable but I'm hoping having read my story gives you an idea of why they are so important to me!
The mission of CBTF is to improve the treatment, quality of life and the long-term outlook for children with brain and spinal cord tumors through research, support, education, and advocacy to families and survivors. CBTF is the national leader in Quality of Life services to children, families, and survivors of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors. They work across the country to help families who are facing brain or spinal cord tumor diagnosis and work closely with survivors through young adulthood – because everyone deserves a meaningful and productive life. They host summer camps, weekend gatherings, and online chats and meetings, among many other efforts. They also support research into the causes and treatments of brain tumors – all with a goal of providing real answers and genuine hope.