When we relaunched this site, I promised it wouldn't be all sunshine and roses, & that we would begin to engage in conversations that matter. Therefore, today we're talking about something that hits close to home for many. Cancer is a word that carries heavy connotations, evokes strong emotions, and often makes us uncomfortable, but it's real, for many it highly personal, & we can't afford to ignore it.
As many of you know, a few months ago we were forced to say goodbye to Paul's mom after a nearly two year battle with Glioblastoma. For us, this was the first time cancer had thrown a punch this close to home, & as with many trials of this kind, none of us were prepared for the journey to come.
The American Brain Tumor Association describes Glioblastoma as a particularly aggressive tumor that forms in the tissue of the brain and spinal cord. Glioblastoma is the most common of all malignant brain tumors, and is typically treated through surgery, chemotherapy, & radiation. While records show some survivors of 5+ years, the average survival time is 14 months with treatment. If you've been following recent headlines, this is the same type of brain cancer Senator John McCain was recently diagnosed with, & the ABTA estimates over 12,000 cases before the end of 2017.
Unlike, other cancers that can spread to the brain, Glioblastoma originates in the brain or spinal cord where highly malignant cells can reproduce quickly. In our experience, the diagnosis was never really if the tumors would return, but rather a matter of when. Unfortunately, as with many forms of brain cancer, the cause is unknown.
Becky's original prognosis was 12-18months with treatment, 5-6 without. Over the next year and a half Becky would give an incredible demonstration of strength, faith, & courage as she's fought arduously against what developed into multiple reoccurring tumors, various brain surgeries, alternating cycles of chemo & radiation, and even clinical studies. While this ruthless disease eventually cut Becky's time short, through every MRI & follow-up treatment plan, she remained joyful, positive, and very much herself. We were lucky in that way, but the last few months changed drastically.
I'm sharing this with you today, because September 8th marks exactly 30 days to the Chicago Marathon, and in an effort to honor Becky's memory, we've drafted a team of 10 family & friends to partner with the American Brain Tumor Association & run in Becky's name! Becky fought to the very end– I can't stress that enough! So, in that same spirit, we want to continue her legacy of courage, strength, & endurance, as team Becky's Brainiacs– a name she chose just a couple months before passing.
We would love your support as we not only train for this endeavor, but band together with family & friends to raise funds towards a cure. This is a team effort, and our goal is ambitious, but money raised will provide critical funding for brain tumor research & supportive patient care. Our goal is to reach breakthroughs in brain tumor research & provide vital support services for patients, families and caregivers in need.
If there's one thing Becky taught us, it's that you enter the battle field with everything you've got, and I can guarantee this race will be run with more heart & will-power than ever before!
For more information & to make your donation visit http://hope.abta.org/goto/shorstkoetter
If you or someone you love is currently going through a similar battle, and you have questions/concerns please don't hesitate to reach out. It's not pretty, and we certainly don't have all the answers, but we did learn a lot in this process, and if there's any way we can support you in this time or even point you in the right direction, there's nothing we'd like more!
Becky was an incredible woman, wife, and mother. She was always full of life, love, and corny jokes. While I wasn't her daughter, I never felt like anything less. I'm not sure many women can say that about their monther-in-law, but I'm not sure I've ever met someone who loved as freely as Becky did, and with open arms she welcomed me in from the beginning. I was lucky to have Becky in my life for over a decade, but in reality she'd been looking out for me much longer raising an incredible son I'm lucky to call my husband, & for that I am eternally in her debt.
*All donations over $25 are tax deductible. Additionally, matching gifts are a great way to double or even triple a your gift, so don’t forget to ask your employer if they have a matching gift program. You can also click here to search for your company. Note that all donations must be made directly to the "American Brain Tumor Association" in order for the organization to qualify your company’s matching gift.