BENEFITING: BRAIN TUMOR FOUNDATION
ORGANIZER: BRAIN TUMOR FOUNDATION
Hi everyone, my name is Mike Aldrich, and I am a lucky guy. That is truly how I feel when I consider my life and the amazing relationships, friends, family and opportunities I have had - and continue to have. In any life, lucky or unlucky, happy or sad, grateful or wanting, there are challenges.
My greatest challenge began 5 years ago this month (May) when my wife of nearly 30 years, Meg, and love of 38+ years was diagnosed with a brain tumor - specifically an ependymoma, a tumor so rare for an adult that even a friend who is a physician had to lookup what type of tumor it was. Meg had surgeries and radiation and chemo treatments but, to our lasting sadness and dismay, passed away on the 28th of May, 2014.
Meg was courageous, funny, sad, sanguine, mad as hell, and inspiring as she fought with this dreaded illness. She had one really good year and then, in the summer of 2013, her tumor reappeared in multiple locations throughout her brain. Treatments were difficult and the progression of the cancer was undeniable. Despite the difficulty of her circumstance, Meg kept an amazing and resilient attitude. She would wake up each morning and say "today is going to be a great day" - and really mean it! When the illness would turn on her or some new symptom would arise she would say "nothing I can do but be prepared to be surprised". She challenged me and our kids to be happy as our lives went on. Her calm and focused determination gave us an amazing example of how life should be lived and death can be faced. Meg gained strength from our kids, Adam, Holly and Andrew, all amazing in their own right, her family, her friends, her dog Houston, her caregivers, her spirit and her faith in God. I tried to help in any way I could and I hope my efforts lessened her pain and brought a bit of sunshine when she was fighting so hard.
A few weeks before she passed away, Meg motioned me over to her bed so she could she could ask me a question. I leaned over and she said, "You're not going to miss me too much when I'm gone, are you?". My tiny little brain scrambled to come up with an answer to such an unanswerable question. I'm sure my conundrum was written on my face. A few seconds passed and Meg motioned me back over and whispered, "It's a trick question dummy!" and laughed at my consternation. Her sense of humor and fun in such a dire moment and circumstance was remarkable.
In an effort to honor this remarkable woman, but also, and more importantly, support individuals and families who are fighting their own fight against brain tumors, I am running the New York City Marathon along with two dear friends. We hope to raise critically needed funds to help others and support brain tumor research. We need to find a cure and, until a cure can be found, provide support and resources to those in the midst of this battle. It's not over and it's not easy.
I know that I am a lucky guy. I miss Meg every day - but hopefully not too much. I see my kids grow and progress in the world and I know how proud their Mom would be of each of them. I have found a new love, partner and friend - my wife Gerrie who is so sweet, so caring and so respectful of what was my life before we met that I'm pretty sure Meg had a hand in sending Gerrie to me.
Your support of this effort to help other individuals and families who are facing the challenge of a brain tumor is humbling and critical. Whatever amount you can give will be gratefully accepted and used respectfully. Thank you for whatever you can do to help me meet my fundraising goal.
PS - more information about the Brain Tumor Foundation is listed below . . .
The Brain Tumor Foundation (BTF) supports the whole patient by addressing their social, financial and emotional needs. In addition, the Foundation promotes the importance of early detection of brain tumors through the education of medical professionals and the public.
The Road to Early Detection, an unprecedented initiative of BTF, offers free MRI brain scans to the public. With nationwide participation and support, BTF’s Road to Early Detection campaign is now an official research study. Although MRI scans to screen for brain tumors are not considered part of standard preventive care, we hope that our research examining the brain scans of thousands of individuals will shed new light on early detection and prevention of this dreaded disease and make treatment more effective when caught early.
* Brain tumors can be extremely aggressive. They are rarely detected at a size and stage when surgical removal results in a treatment that is successful and sustained.
* Close to 1,000,000 people are living with brain tumors that have yet to be detected.
* Brain tumors do not discriminate.