The brain tumor community lost another warrior last week, Martin Syndomin. I will always remember my first CTBTA walk meeting last year. Along with Directors, volunteers, Ashley and I, there was Martin – I felt an immediate connection with him. He was a young brain tumor survivor who worked in finance in New York City, but his passion was volunteering for the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance. With the first ever Path of Hope last year, he was instrumental in assisting with the financials, registration site and site visits, among others. But what stood out to me was his passion for just being there and lending an ear to myself and other new volunteers. I remember him giving my wife and I the biggest hug after that first meeting – the most genuine and sincere “It’s so nice to meet you” I’ve ever experienced. Martin, you will be sorely missed but your fight will carry on. I can promise you that I will continue my pledge to help find the cure and develop new treatments in the fight against this terrible disease.
When we suffer the loss of someone, we often express our grief by saying our “hearts are heavy”. It’s certainly an accurate description, however after Martin’s loss, I felt a little differently. My heart is heavy, but it’s full. Full of realization and fight. Full of renewed energy to live a life others so valiantly lost.
There is a lot of current promise out there to make me feel like this is not some lofty, far-fetched hope. I look at the work of the CTBTA; I look at the National Brain Tumor Society and the American Brain Tumor Association; I look at the work and promising research being conducted at the hospitals around Connecticut. Great things are happening and it should leave brain tumor and brain cancer patients feeling hopeful. Together, this all makes me believe that finding the cure is certainly within reach in the not too distant future.
And while as a community we are working to reach this goal, there is something we can all do a little better. Appreciate. Enjoy. Smile. Laugh. Of course it’s not all perfect. So when life hurts, cry. Cry the ugly cry if you have to. Don’t hold back on anything.
There’s no judge or jury needed. I’m often guilty of zeroing in on nonsense, guilty of not truly living.
So, for me, for Martin, for everyone, I ask one thing.