H.O.P.E. Grant Recipients
When applying for the Michael G. Belz Foundation’s H.O.P.E. Grant, patients are asked to share their personal story. In our efforts to help raise awareness we are sharing their stories with you (with permission). Please read our H.O.P.E. Grant recipient stories to discover what lead to their diagnosis and how this disease is impacting their life. If you know someone who would benefit from applying, please send them the H.O.P.E. Grant application or have them contact MGBF.
1st MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 43 year old, Steve
Steve discovered he had brain cancer after he was suffering from severe headaches. One day he became dizzy and lightheaded and had to lie down. His wife called 911. After a CT scan was administered a neurosurgeon was called in and Steve was having surgery six days after the 911 call! He had a second surgery three and a half weeks after his initial surgery followed by chemo and radiation. Soon after, Steve developed a blood clot (this is a potential risk for BT patients and is called thrombophlebitis) and began treatment for the clot. His wife has been unable to work full-time because she has been taking him to his appointments. Steve felt this grant would give both he and his wife H.O.P.E.
2nd MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 45 year old Dale
Dale lives each day to the fullest! On 11/18/10, he was experiencing numbness on the right side of his mouth that began to travel down the right side of his body. He and his wife went to the hospital. Upon their arrival, his blood pressure was 210/120! After a CT scan revealed a brain lesion and an MRI confirmed the CT results, Dale was admitted to the hospital for further testing. On 12/1/10 Dale was having a craniotomy. However, after a ten hour procedure, the tumor was deemed inoperable. After healing from the surgery, Dale underwent 45 days of radiation and 33 days of chemotherapy. A follow-up MRI on 3/17/11 demonstrated the aggressive nature of the tumor as it was not responding to the treatment. Dale, his wife, and six children fight for each day. You can follow their story and offer them encouragement and hope by visiting their blog.
3rd MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 29 year old Kristina
Kristina was diagnosed in 2007 with a cancerous brain tumor after experiencing bad headaches. A craniotomy was successful in removing about 90% of the tumor, however after the surgery, Kristina had to attend acute rehab in order to learn to walk, talk and function all over again. In December of 2008, Kristina became pregnant with her first child.
During her pregnancy, she began to experience grand mal seizures. The baby was healthy and born in 2009. In September 2010, Kristina learned the tumor had grown and caused bleeding in her brain. She was flown to the hospital and admitted to ICU. Once again about 90% was removed and Kristina completed more therapy. She still experiences minor left-side issues and seizures. She is undergoing chemotherapy and unable to drive due to the seizures.
5th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, Vincent
Vincent was a healthy, active person with no health issues. On October 29, 2011 he was at work and just didn’t feel right. He went home to lay down. After he woke, ate, he began drooling and loosing feeling on his right side. He was rushed to the hospital and told he had a mass on his brain and needed surgery. By this time the symptoms had progressed and he was unable to speak! He was scared for his life. As his family visited he began to tell them things just in case this was the last time he would see them.
Vincent pulled through surgery and learned from the biopsy that the tumor was a glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer. Vince has been fighting with his family by his side through the complications; seizures, blood clots in his lungs and legs, low blood counts, blood in his urine…he’s seen so many different doctors and specialists. He has moved from his home into his old town to be closer to family because he can no longer work and is unable to drive. He has gone from a completely independent person to having to depend on someone to do just about everything for him…overnight. But he still has hope!
6th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 18 year old Amber
Amber was diagnosed with a malignant, glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor, stage 4 when she was only 16. Amber keeps a smile on her face and encourages other brain tumor warriors. She recently had the opportunity to meet with another fighter from California. She tells them to NEVER, EVER GIVE up and to keep fighting. It has been her mission to spread awareness about brain tumors and fight for a cure.
7th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 17 year old Sarah
Sarah was diagnosed after having bad headaches. She had surgery on 10-11-10 and a 2nd surgery on 10-15-10 A follow-up MRI 3 months later showed the tumor was fully back, Sarah underwent another surgery on 2-6-11. Post-op Sarah was in rehab for 22 days. She had to be taught how to talk, walk and all motor skills. She was left handed and taught herself to write with her right hand. She has been in rehab for both speech and physical therapy since. Sarah has been experiencing double vision and ” jumping in the eyes”…it may take years to go back or may never. Surgery is not an option.
8th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, Anonymous (adult)
9th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 40 year old Joyce
Joyce began having random headaches. She got right in to see her primary doctor and told her doctor she was having migraines periodically. They scheduled her right away for a CT Scan. Her scan was at 5:00PM, by 6:00PM the same day they were calling Joyce to come to the hospital…they found a tumor. That same week (four days later) they did surgery and since Joyce has been tumor free since! Joyce celebrates life each day since her diagnosis. She attends church each morning to thank God for her life. She is closer to her family too.
11th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 15 year old Allison
Allison was diagnosed with a Subpendeymomoa on October 15, 2013. Her symptoms were headaches, vomiting, not being to see for a couple of seconds and dizziness. After a 11 1/2 hour long surgery, Allison and her parents talked to her doctor about having radiation but her doctor wanted a second opinion to make sure that’s the best decision. The diagnosis affected Allison physically and emotionally. Allison explained, “I can’t do what I did before such as running, working out, roller skating and walking for a while. And emotionally it hasn’t quite come through my head yet. I feel not myself yet but I am very thankful I survived. I would like to go on vacation with my family to Kalahari. I also would like to go out to a nice dinner an celebrate my life as I am doing well and that all is going to be okay”.
12th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 31 year old Robert
One evening when Robert’s mom attempted to wake him up for dinner, she was unable. Then he had a seizure and his mom called 911. (Prior to his Robert did experience headaches). He was taken to the hospital still unconscious, but all his vitals were good. Robert was then life-flighted to UH and informed of all this two days later when he woke-up. He was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor between stages 3 & 4. Robert had surgery to remove it and also had radiation and chemo. He cannot work and he cannot drive. Robert has hope to go back to work and begin living his life again.
Robert said, “I am very grateful to my docs for saving my life, and the love and support of my family and friends. Financially I’ve not been to do anything I enjoy. My disability is gone before I receive it for bills and mediations. I would be happier and less bored if I could do some of the activities I did while I was working and brining in good money. I am healing, gaining weight and really just want my life back”.
13th MGBF H.O.P.E. Grant recipient, 66 year old Frederick
Frederick had a seizure in June of 2013. Five days later he was told he had a mass. Weeks later he was told he had cancer after a brain biopsy. He has a grade 4 tumor that was removed on 8/9/13. Frederick was given 14 months to live. He is doing a clinical trial to help himself and hopefully someone else. His wife is the only one who can take care of him and take him to radiation treatments and to doctor appointments.
What would give Frederick H.O.P.E? Having someone come and stay with him so his wife can go grocery shopping and have a break. He has to have someone with him 24 hours a day. Frederick said his would help if someone could watch him and give his wife some support.