EVENT DATE: Nov 06, 2011
I am running the 2011 NYC Marathon in support of Dan Feldman, his family and his fight against Brain Cancer. Here is a note from Dan that talks about his current fight. Anything you can give would be so very appreciated.
Glioblastoma AKA "The Terminator"
If I made a list of the most terrible things that could happen to a person, a malignant brain tumor would be very near the top. Any form of cancer can be devastating, but brain cancer carries its own special horror. Your brain is the foundation of your personality, your intellect, your emotions, your motor functions—the very basis of your being. As a brain tumor invades your neural tissue, your abilities deteriorate to the point where you can no longer function. It can be an ugly and painful way to die.
While no brain tumors are good, Glioblstomas are arguably the worst. The prognosis is grim and death usually comes quickly. It is a vicious, aggressive cancer that is almost uniformly lethal. Without treatment median survival is 3 months. Even with the best known treatment the median survival is only 14 months and only 3-5% of people live more than 5 years. There are only a handful of people who have lived over 10 years after diagnosis.
When I was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma on May 6th 2010 at the age of 38, my whole world was thrown into chaos. Even after more than a year of fighting this insidious disease every day, I still can’t fully wrap my head around the words “Terminal Brain Cancer” or what this diagnosis means for me and my family. I am the son of two adoring parents, the brother of a supporting sister, the husband of a loving wife, and the father of 3 young children. It’s surreal! There is no way I am actually one of those tragedies you read about; A young father dying of Brain Cancer?! How on earth did I get here?! It all happened so fast! One week I was on a business trip healthy as could be, the next week I had a slight headache and some trouble focusing on my computer screen, the week after that I was in a hospital recovering from brain surgery. Just a few weeks from first symptoms to diagnosis!
While I would love to be one of the very few long-term survivors of this disease, chances are that no matter what I do, I most likely will not. So, my more realistic goal is to live long enough for all my children to have a “Living Memory” of me. In other words, I would like each of my children to be able to honestly say “Yeah, I remember Dad” and at least one real, concrete memory of me while I was still alive. My children are young--Ronan is 5, Shannon is 3, and Rory is 1--so this is no short order. To reach my goal need to be one of the 3-5% of people who live for 5 years after diagnosis.
So, with the hope of improving my survival odds and with the secondary objective of helping the medical/scientific communities treat this terrible disease, I have chosen to become part of the country’s clinical trial system and am now a patient at the precarious leading edge of cancer treatment. How close to the edge am I? By all estimates, I am VERY CLOSE! When a treatment shows promise in the lab scientists then begin testing it in humans. “What humans?” You may ask with alarm! Well, people like me! I have become one of those very first people. Petri dish, rats, me.
So far I have aggressively fought this demon with brain surgery, radiation and over a year of experimental chemotherapy treatments. Most recently I became a volunteer patient of the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Center--The Government’s premier biomedical research hospital—where the really really cutting edge stuff happens.
With your help, I can continue down this path; hopefully helping the world while helping myself.
Thank you listening to my story, supporting my cause and helping me and my family. We have exhausted our money and savings fighting this disease and it is only with the help and support of people like you that I have been able to continue my fight.