This past Thursday, we made a visit to the Yale Brain Tumor Center to present the net proceeds of our fundraiser. The majority of hospital visits are not fun, but this day is always filled with smiles because of the hope that it inspires. The collaboration between Yale and my family is truly special and something that I know each of us takes to heart. I cannot thank my family and friends who helped to make this year such a huge success and cannot wait to top it in 2018 as we celebrate my 10th anniversary!
Thank you, Wise Old Moon, for headlining this event and for your enthusiasm to be a part of this event the past two years. I wish to again thank our corporate sponsors – ShelfSpace Marketing, LLC; Carla’s Pasta; Specialty Packaging; Al Mac Motors; Beirne Wealth Consulting; Sullivan & LeShane, Public Relations; iHeart Radio; WTNH; Stop & Shop; Bank of Montreal; People’s Bank; Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network/CPTV; Edge Technology; Unitas Club; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.; Henry, Raymond & Thompson; Guida’s Dairy; Blum Shapiro; Sardilli Produce; Webster Bank; and Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. Thank you Shoreline Cafe & Catering and Beach Donuts for donating the sandwiches, donuts and coffee! To every individual and company that donated items to our raffle and silent auction, your support is appreciated. And last but not least, thank you Stony Creek Brewery for being an awesome partner in this venture. The support and awareness that you are bringing to brain tumors is amazing and appreciated by everyone affected by this diagnosis.
Through everyone’s efforts, a grand total of $42,800 was donated to the Yale Brain Tumor Center this year! As a survivor of this diagnosis, with my family and friends who wanted to help my doctor and his team in some way, I am in awe that between our four concerts and the donation from the Denver Foundation, we have donated $156,650.00 in four years! The money we have donated thus far has been used as seed funding to help doctors and residents take their research efforts from concepts into reality.
To date, there has been a dedicated undertaking to understand more about the triggers of particular brain tumors and their drivers. Research is also ongoing to develop nanotechnology to safely administer viruses to particular tumors to destroy the cancer cells, but without harming the brain.
Additionally, within the next six months, Yale will be publishing a study of great interest to my family and I. A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a resident at Yale who was studying the genetic drivers of central neurocytoma. I donated a blood sample and a piece of my tumor was obtained by the lab to understand the cause of this mutation. The Chair of Neurosurgery at Yale is overseeing this study and shared this status update with me. I plan to meet with him and the resident working on this study to learn more about their findings before the paper is published and I will share these updates at a later date, as well as the resident’s thesis. What was told to us, and which comes as no surprise to any of us, is that this tumor type is vastly different from any other tumor and does not share many commonalities.
Life is unpredictable. This is not even something you can conjure up in a dream, but if you had, and told me it would happen to me, I would have said “no way”. Yet, it did happen and I survived and because of it, I am a better person. I have a new outlook on life and a new normal.
That double vision nine years ago – it all makes perfect sense now.