In March of 2007, life was great. I was learning how to read chapter books, Junie B. Jones was a favorite, and I was enjoying every moment as an Ooodie Doodie in Mrs. Ursula Butler’s Kindergarten class. One day, the school nurse conducted routine vision screening and detected I was having difficulty with depth perception. She casually mentioned it to my mom, who promptly scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. We thought nothing of it since the countdown was on. My dad was coming home from serving in Baghdad and we were going to Florida! It was not until weeks later that while we were in Florida that my parents noticed an involuntary jerking in my left eye. They were still not worried and suspected that I probably needed glasses or maybe a temporary patch.
Just days later an exam by an ophthalmologist revealed that I didn’t need glasses. I had 20:20 vision. The eye doctor explained that the jerking in my eye was a nystagmus, which is caused by a neurological problem or lesion on the brain–whatever that meant! My mom did a lot of Googling—not a good thing. My parents were worried. Two days later, on April 26, 2007, I had an MRI, and we learned that I had a brain tumor lodged deep in the middle of my brain. We were shocked. I had never ever been sick before. How could this be?
Weeks before my Kindergarten graduation, I became a statistic—one of less than a thousand children a year diagnosed with the most common form of pediatric brain cancer, the Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Because of the scientists at Dana Farber, more progress has been made in understanding this disease in the past five years than ever before. That is in part due to funds raised by Team Chickaroo through the Walk!
I am participating in the 2018 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, taking steps toward funding research for PLGA Research at Dana-Farber.
Thank you for supporting my participation in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Together, we can conquer cancer!