Tag Archives: Yale – New Haven Hospital

See You In September

FullSizeRender (3)Goodbye summer, hello fall.  And as much as I enjoy summer, September is my favorite month – our anniversary, the start of Fall and cooler temperatures, football season, autumn leaves, etc.  But fall also means that winter is just around the corner and that truly depresses me,   UGH!  So I look on the bright side – Brainstormin’ is just 15 days away!  I would be lying if I said that I was not excited about what lies ahead in the immediate horizon, and in the coming months.

Tomorrow night, the CTBTA is hosting its second annual Night of Hope, a farm dinner at the beautiful Rosedale Farms & Vineyards in Simsbury.  I have been to several farm-to-table dinners and by far, this was the best one I had ever been to, so the expectations for tomorrow are high!  Also coming soon is the new website for the Yale Brain Tumor Center, which was a collaborative effort with nurses, care coordinators and doctors at Yale.  Not long from now, this new website will be revealed and hopefully be a tool and be a resource for brain tumor patients, survivors and caregivers.  Next week, the CTBTA reconvenes its business and we’re hosting brain tumor patients, survivors and caregivers for Brain Tumors and Cupcakes at NoRA’s Cupcakes in West Hartford, CT.  We’ll also meet as a board to make our allocations to hospitals and brain tumor programs throughout the state.   Then, in October, we’ll be walking on the Path of Hope, in a new location this year (Olde Mistick Village).

And of course, Brainstormin’ on September 16th.  As some of you already know, we received another great surprise earlier this week when the owner of Stony Creek Brewery informed me of Charity Wednesdays at the brewery.  To put it simply, every Wednesday, the brewery donates $1 per every beer sold to a designated charity.  The idea proposed by Stony Creek was that, during the entire month of September, every Wednesday’s charity night would be designated to the Yale Brain Tumor Center to assist our fundraising efforts. Humbled and appreciative, I graciously accepted this idea, but more than anything, I am proud in knowing that the work I am doing is not going unnoticed.  To be able to help the doctors and staff who saved my life so they can continue to develop research and continue saving lives means more than anything, and to see the generosity of businesses and individuals wanting to contribute is awe-inspiring.  As I told Yale when I shared this news, never did I think that eight years ago, I would find anything positive in this whole experience, but everyday I continue to be amazed and inspired.  Thank you Stony Creek Brewery for joining us as a partner in this quest to find the cure!

Thanks to all of our corporate and individual sponsors for your support.  We are close to this year’s goal and remain hopeful to hit and surpass it, but we can still use your help.  It is a night that you will not want to miss, so contact me for your ticket before they’re gone.

I look forward to seeing all of you on the 16th and encourage you to help find the cure by visiting Stony Creek on Wednesdays during the month of September.  I also look forward to seeing you at some of our upcoming events as well!

Cheers!

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The Best Is Yet To Come

Hope that everyone has been enjoying their summer, whatever you may be doing.  But with the end of summer getting closer and closer, that means September is nearing.   However, September brings Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ fifty days from today!2016 Poster

Thanks to all of our sponsors (special thanks to our annual sponsor ShelfSpace Marketing, LLC, as well as our presenting sponsors this year, Carla’s Pasta and Specialty Packaging), family, supporters and the committee assisting us this year, I am excited to announce that we have already surpassed the amount donated in each of the previous two years!  With an exciting new venue, two great new bands and a tremendous raffle, the excitement is hard to contain.  As you know, we are holding the concert in the celebration room of the Stony Creek Brewery.  Gone are the days of drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and on to their craft brews.  And if beer is not your thing, they serve wine too.  If you think you might be hungry, worry not because this year, we are including a $10 food voucher!  Every weekend at the brewery, they have local food trucks come, so there will be something for everyone.  The brewery has been great to work with and I am excited to see our event come to life there!

As mentioned in a previous post, our bands this year are Ja2M and Wise Old Moon.  These bands are the perfect fit for this venue and are sure to please everyone in attendance.  In addition, we have a tremendous raffle and auction full of awesome items donated by sponsors, friends and colleagues.  Just to name some, we have two raffles: one for our grand prize, a 50cc gas street scooter, and the other raffle contains prizes such as a foursome of golf to play a round of 18 at one of two courses at Lyman Orchards, tickets to the Goodspeed Opera House, tickets to a UConn men’s basketball game, gift baskets, gift cards and many more.  Some of our auction items include an Eli Manning autographed jersey and a dinner for eight at the winner’s house prepared by the chefs at Carla’s Pasta.

But most importantly, by coming or making a donation, you will be helping doctors, surgeons and researchers find the cure for brain tumors.  To help a family and spare someone else having to go through what my family and I went through is what this is all about.

I’m not one to ask for much, but please, support this cause and come join us for a beer, some good tunes and some great food at the Stony Creek Brewery!  Hope to see you in 50 days!

For tickets, email me at chrisgreymatters@gmail.com

Can’t make it, but still want to contribute?  Visit http://www.cusanosagainstbraintumors.com

I’m Walking on Sunshine

Today, I walked into Yale New Haven Hospital for my six-month MRI feeling anxious and a little uneasy, because, after all, it is Friday the 13th.  However, deep down, I was confident because I have the best surgeon ever, and I walked out the happiest man on the face of the Earth.  And after eight long years, five operations and one gamma knife surgery, the stars have aligned and it appears that I am now DONE battling my brain tumor!

You pick the adjective – relieved, ecstatic, thrilled – I’m it.  Today’s scans showed nothing, other than a normal looking brain.  Sure, my neurocytoma might have given me a battle at times and it even attempted to break me, but, I win.

I honestly don’t know where I would be if not for Dr. Piepmeier and the staff at Yale.  For a quarter of my life, I have relied on him as my surgeon, allowing him to use scalpels and God only know what else inside my brain, but he has also been a friend.  He has supported me in everything I have done, including rehabilitation, my pursuit of my juris degree, my attempts at the bar exam, supporting my family’s fundraiser and creating a fund at the Yale Brain Tumor Center for us.

The gravity of this morning’s news has not quite sunk in yet, but I know it will.  Ever since I was diagnosed and survived, I knew I had a new lease on life, but this news serves as the assurances I have longed for.GR4ZD00Z

I am not a survivor, but rather a warrior. I overcame some very scary days, but I am alive and able to share my story.  So, I am going to give back and continue advocating for the cure and fundraising to help the doctors and researchers who saved my life.  I would never have imagined that I would take this entire experience and turn it into something good, or into something that I even want to discuss, but it is a cause I care so deeply about.  I want to do as much as possible to help find the cure to brain tumors, and bring hope to the warriors battling.

Thank you family and friends for your continued support and reading about my journey – I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for me!

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Okay friends, it’s March already and that means Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ is quickly approaching!

Through the Musicians of North Haven, fundraising is underway for a benefit concert at Stony Creek Brewery on September 16, 2016. In partnership with the Yale School of Medicine, I am pleased to share with you that all donations are now tax deductible.   As in the past two years, one hundred percent 3e7dd804-0f3c-469d-9f2c-7fb03c8d7b08_w744_h420of the profits will be donated to The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund at the Yale Brain Tumor Center.

First things first though – I’d like to answer a couple questions I often get asked:

What exactly is The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund?   The concept of the fund was first  announced by my surgeon during our first Brainstormin’ concert in 2014.  For the previous three years, Stephen and his friends performed concerts on the North Haven Town Green and donated the money raised to the town’s music department.   After the 2013 concert, Stephen and my family approached me with the idea of doing a concert for the benefit of Yale and as a way of saying “thank you” for my renewed lease on life, and I was in total agreement.  I did some thinking and researching of my own and came across the Nora Brignolo Fund.  This fund was managed by my surgeon and used for research and the development of clinical trials for brain tumor patients and within no time, we decided to organize a concert and give the money to this fund.  However, as this video evidences, the donation to the Nora Brignolo Fund turned into a donation to The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund and none of us has ever looked back.  My family and I have continued to earmark all of the profits from this concert to Yale because, very simply, my surgeon saved my life and without his care and the support of the many doctors at Yale, I would not be here.  I am forever grateful for the care I received and our goal is to help others fighting this difficult diagnosis.

How are the donated funds used?

One hundred percent of donations to The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund are given directly to the Yale Brain Tumor Center and are under the care of Dr. Piepmeier.  Your donations go toward research, namely better understanding particular types of tumors and their patterns for incidence, but also toward an educational undertaking for patients and their families.  I am pleased to share that I am collaborating with the Yale Brain Tumor Center on a educational effort to be featured directly on Yale’s website.  It is our collective hope that this effort will give patients access to new findings, but also to help the patients and their families to better understand their disease.   As a donor, you will have the ability to visit the site and learn about what your dollars are providing, and I cannot wait to share that with you all.

So, with that background information, the details! 

This year, in addition to the venue change, we are excited to have two new bands join us, one of which Stephen is the drummer in.  The first band, Ja2m, is a duo headlined by Jonathan Moore and Aaron Mannes.  If you were at my wedding, you will remember them singing “I’ll Be” as Ashley walked down the aisle or while they entertained everyone during cocktail hour, and we could not be happier to have them back with us.  Their style of music is fun and will certainly offer something for everyone.  The second act is Wise Old Moon, an Americana band from right here in Hartford, Connecticut.  Proudly, we’re keeping it in the family once again as Stephen is their drummer.  It is perfect music for an end-of-the-summer night overlooking the water.

Hopefully you already have it marked down in your calendar, but if not, save the date for September 16th for what will be the best year yet!  My family and I are so excited to hold this concert again and hope that together, with your support, we’ll help the doctors at Yale save another life.

Something To Believe In

I’m somewhat at a loss for words…

Last week brought about many different reasons for hope and opportunity.  On Tuesday, I was scrolling though my inbox and saw an email from my doctor.  Under normal circumstances, I probably would have taken the contents of that message as bad news.  However, as I began reading the message, I realized that I went from feeling nervous and timid to shocked; my body rendered momentarily unconscious.

Before I head out the door for work, I like to spend some time watching the morning news to get me up-to-speed on everything I need to know for the day ahead.  What I find is that 99.9% of the news is full of sad, depressing stories.  And when I am on social media, I find that I have further found myself surrounded by news not for the faint of heart.

The email that I refer to contained news, but this news was different. It gave me a renewed sense of hope and acted as  a much-needed reminder of all the good and kindness in the world.

So I’m just going to cut to the chase: in that email from my doctor, I learned that through the Denver Foundation, a gift of $53,000 was made to The Cusano Family Fund for Brain Tumor Research!

Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund - LogoAfter composing myself, collecting my thoughts and having my excitement under momentary control, I sent an immediate email back to my doctor:  Who did this?  Why was my fund chosen?  How did they know of my fund?  There were a litany of questions that I dying to ask.

During a call with my surgeon the next day, I learned that the Denver Foundation first inquired about my fund in late 2015.  Similar to a bank, a donor deposits money into an account managed by the Denver Foundation.  Once the donor decides on a cause, a directive is made to cut a check to the designated fund.  Unlike a grant that I applied for, this was a gift – a completely unexpected, selfless gift that I will be forever grateful for.

Unfortunately, the answer to all of my questions remain unanswered.  I can only guess that the person responsible follows my story.  So to the mystery person that made this donation – I hope you are reading – words alone cannot express my gratitude.  Your generosity and desire to help me in this fight is beyond appreciated, and while I know that I can never repay you, please know that I will do everything in my power to help the Yale Brain Tumor Center put this money to the best use possible in finding the cure for and treating benign and malignant brain tumors.  My fight will continue on for as long as I am able and until the cure is found – I hope.

In a world where we hear a lot of sad and depressing news, isn’t it refreshing and joyous to know that good truly exists?  For me, this is an easy question to answer.

To the generous donor – I will be indebted to you always and words will never be enough.

Auld Lang Syne

2015 was a rollercoaster – full of ups and downs.  Off the bat, the year began down at Yale for surgery to remove a recurrence of the beast and ended with champagne and dinner with Ashley.  I was operated on a Thursday and released the following Saturday, a remarkably shorter stay than my first go-around.   photo 1My surgeon and medical staff did another amazing job in caring for me and I will be forever grateful for their support.

However, things greatly improved thereafter.  I returned to work just three weeks removed from my surgery and shocked everyone when I walked through those doors and made an immediate impact in my new role.  Furthermore, I attended my first meeting as a Director of the CT Brain Tumor Alliance and found myself amongst a terrific group of caring and compassionate survivors and caregivers who understood “me”.  As a board member, I had the opportunity to hear from various hospitals, doctors and oncologists about what they are doing in their quest to treat brain tumors and ultimately find the cure and it brought such hope to all of us in the room.  It’s not common that you will find a non-profit Board composed solely of survivors and caregivers, but that is what makes our organization so unique.  Together, with our Executive Director, we held numerous events in the state to raise funds and awareness, notably the Wines of March, Laughter on the Brain, Night of Hope and the Path of Hope.

Yet, with these “ups” came more downs.  As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, the Connecticut brain tumor community lost two wonderfully dedicated individuals who devoted themselves to brain tumor awareness and funding.  They will be forever missed, but our mission has been strengthened by their loss.  For me personally, last year’s Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ held so much more of an importance in the wake of those two losses.  And that is why I am so excited about the prospect of an even larger and grander scale event this year – to honor those we have lost, but to continue fighting for the cure to aid those who are still courageously fighting this disease.

My family, friends and I are already looking forward to September 16, 2016 for the third year of Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ at the Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, Connecticut.  I will be sure to provide updates as time moves on, so stay tuned!

But where else am I going to go with this blog from here, you ask?  Admittedly, I am at a crossroads.  On one hand, I have used this blog to tell you my story and unfold the past seven years into words.  Recently I received the news of a lifetime at my last MRI and I’ll return to Yale for another scan in May.  I thank you all for being there with me in spirit along the way.  But this is not the end.

I am going to put a new twist on things and offer up the opportunity for some guest bloggers to share their story, as each brain tumor diagnosis is not the same.  Before my diagnosis, I did not know anyone personally who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Unfortunately, I now hear about it more frequently than I would hope.  I will start sharing with you the progress and happenings of my alliance with the team at the Yale Brain Tumor Center.  I have been told that their doctors and nurses are all eagerly working toward creating new and exciting web content with me as their liaison, so this is pretty exciting!  Yes, I said exciting – if you had asked me on June 30, 2008 if I thought I’d be excited about brain tumor work, the answer certainly would have been NO.  Ohh, how things can change and how life can throw you into a direction you never expected.  I also hope to take on a greater fundraising role on my own and in conjunction with the CT Brain Tumor Alliance.

I have found my passion and my calling.  My parents always told me that “everything happens for a reason” but I never quite understood why I was dealt this diagnosis.  However, I am certainly a better and stronger person today because of it and have found something that makes me truly happy – I have found my passion.

I look forward to talking with you all in 2016 and hopefully connecting with more people on an individual basis in a greater capacity.  This is a new year and a new opportunity to explore all of our potential.

Thank You, Friends

Every cloud has a silver lining.

If you would have asked me in 2008 whether I would find any positives in my diagnosis, I more than likely would have said “no chance.”

Amazingly though, as I sit here seven years later, I can say with absolute certainty, the answer to that question is a profound “yes!” At the time I was diagnosed in 2008, I was 24 years old and left wondering whether I would even make it through the surgery, never mind what my future would have in store.  Through the multiple ups and downs that I have faced since that day, I am standing prouder and taller than ever.  I have found my calling.

What I failed to realize in 2008 is how my diagnosis would change my life, and the lives of those around me, namely my family.  Yesterday, along with my wife and family, we went to Yale-New Haven Hospital and presented a check in the amount of $13,500.00.

Dr. Joseph Piepmeier with my brother Stephen and I.
Dr. Joseph Piepmeier with my brother Stephen and I.

Without each and every person who supported this event, attended the concert, donated to the fund or donated merchandise for our raffle, yesterday’s presentation of the check would not have been possible.  Because of you, we are providing hope to patients and their families dealing with this diagnosis.  With these monies, Dr. Piepmeier and researchers at Yale spoke of hope and possibility to better treat brain tumors.  He discussed his hope to develop a virus to destroy the tumor cells that can be injected directly into the tumor but while not harming the brain.  To think that this money can deliver those results brings a smile to my face, and should certainly bring one to yours also.

First and foremost, I thank Ashley and my family for supporting me in this quest and continuing to be there by my side  every step of the way.  Without you, none of this would be possible.

Next, a giant thank you to our sponsors.  Without your support, this would have never been possible.  I am humbled by your generosity and compassion.  I want to make a special mention to the “Rock Stars”, our corporate sponsors Carla’s Pasta and ShelfSpace Marketing, LLC.  THANK YOU!

I would be remiss to not mention each company who donated a raffle item – J. Christian’s, Omar Coffee Co., Arnold’s Jewelers, Libero Jewelers, The Max Restaurant Group, The University of Connecticut, Ted’s Auto, Precision Concepts and The Walter Camp Football Foundation.  The raffle raised about $2,500 of the $13,500.  Thank you for your support, dedication to this event and desire to assist in this quest.  Your generosity alone merits the grandest of recognition and I hope that you can feel the pride of knowing that you contributed in such a great way.

To the bands, Broca’s Area and Goodnight Blue Moon – absolutely amazing.   You entertained the crowd all night long and gave all of us, brain tumor patients included, a reason to smile and forget about life for a while.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, you made the night the success that it was.

I am thrilled to tell you that next year, we’re taking the concert to the Stoney Creek Brewery in Branford.  We tested the waters and now know that this event could be the success that we originally envisioned.

So what more can I say, other than: “Thank you, friends.  Wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”

Don’t Stop Believin’

It’s go time!

Our fundraising concert is literally right around the corner and after a year of planning, hard work and preparation, the bands will begin their sound checks and the doors to the venue will open.  It will be, I am confident, another tremendous give back TCFBT flyer sizePlaying for the Cure: Brainstormin’ music festival.

Between now and then, I have one job – to continue to advocate for this event and encourage all of you to join my family and I on this special evening.

When I think about how all of this came to be and the reason that this concert is taking place, I think back to where I was in my life at the time I was diagnosed: I had just moved back home after my first year of law school with the hopes of eventually landing a job in government relations.  I enjoyed the challenges and the grind of working alongside my team the previous summer and educating the legislators on the important issues they were faced with.  However, none of this went as planned due to my situation.  Yet, over the past year, I have begun involving myself in these types of activities and taking a leadership role for issues I care about, namely becoming more involved with the brain tumor community.  I have started The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund to provide support to the doctors and researchers at the Yale Brain Tumor Center and am a Director of the CT Brain Tumor Alliance.  Being a part of these two groups offers me the opportunity to do exactly what an advocate of the brain tumor community does – raise awareness.

2014 check presentation to the Yale Brain Tumor Center
2014 check presentation to the Yale Brain Tumor Center

Last year, when we held our concert, none of us knew what to expect as it was our first go at this and we were entering uncharted territories.  But the response was overwhelming and appreciated by everyone who supported and attended the concert.  This year, we set the expectations higher.  Our goal surpasses what we gave last year and we remain optimistic that we will present a larger check than what we wrote last year.

But I am asking for a final time for your support and help to come out and make this night be what I know it can be.  Please, if you’re local to Hamden, Connecticut, mark it down in your calendar – this Saturday, September 19th at 6:30 for Goodnight Blue Moon and Broca’s Area.  If you follow Broca’s Area, you’ve heard a lot about their upcoming music video, and here is a sneak peek  of “That Way”: 

What else can I tell you?  We have tremendous raffle prizes including football tickets, gift baskets, gift cards to restaurants, a gift card for pistol permit classes, a men’s and women’s watch and the grand prize, a 2015 VIP50, 49cc, 4 stroke engine street scooter valued at over $1,000 , just to name a few.  And if you’re unable to attend but wish to support our efforts, any little bit will go a long way.

I hope to see all of my followers there and look forward to meeting new faces for a great cause!

It’s The Final Countdown

Playing for the Cure, Brainstormin’ is well underway!  We are less than 100 days away, and the excitement is building.  The bands and venue are booked, the date and time are confirmed, letters have been sent out and sponsorships are continuing to roll in.  A huge thanks so far to our corporate sponsors including the Hartford Courant, Carla’s Pasta, Stop & Shop, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, ShelfSpace Marketing, LLC, Edge Technologies and the UNITAS Club of Hamden – just to name a few.  With all the support, we hope and expect to be able to surpass the $10,100 that we donated last year.  Even though the event is fast approaching, there is still time if you wish to support the cause.  And if you cannot attend, we have set up a site where you can make a donation.  http://www.youcaring.com/yale-brain-tumor-center-381093

The lineup of musical acts features Goodnight Blue Moon and Broca’s Area.  When we approached Goodnight Blue Moon, a successful bluegrass-meets-indie rock band, they eagerly jumped at the opportunity.   The band’s drummer, Nick D’Errico, is a longtime friend of mine and has shown my family and I a great deal of support since 2008.  He was also Stephen’s first drum teacher and an inspiration for him to study music and start Broca’s Area.   I am personally thrilled and honored to welcome Nick and Goodnight Blue Moon on the 19th and I hope that their fans in attendance will be inspired by our efforts with Yale and that this will be the start of a new long-lasting venture with the band.

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Left to right: Mike Carabello, Mary Corso, Stephen Cusano, Ghazi Omair, and Leo Catricala (Broca’s Area)

The second act is Stephen’s band, Broca’s Area.  On June 17th, the Connecticut Music Awards were held at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Hartford.  With their infectious soul/hip-hop tracks, Broca’s Area  took home the awards for ‘Best New Band’ and ‘Best R&B/Soul/Funk’.  I know that I speak on behalf of Stephen and the band when I say thank you to everyone who voted for them.  The band members are beyond excited by their wins and have since been asked to headline a show at Infinity Music Hall.   If you attended last year’s show, you’ll know how talented they are and after another year of playing together, they continue to gel.

If Broca’s Area’s Connecticut Music Awards wins weren’t enough to make a big brother beam, I continue to be so proud and impressed by their commitment to the brain tumor community.

So please, SAVE THE DATE!  Come watch two fantastic bands and support this great cause on September 19, 2015 at 6:30p.m. at the Outer Space Ballroom in Hamden, CT.  Together, we can and will find the cure to brain tumors and brain cancer.

Listen To The Music

Raising awareness and spreading hope – these are the two things that, as a brain tumor survivor, I hope to accomplish these days.  As I wrote about in a previous entry, Broca’s Area, a fusion/hip-hop band had their CD release party this past Thursday.  A packed house came to watch the band debut their album titled Clarity.  The night was full of great music (take a listen to Space, one of their original singles), an amazing live drawing 10647130_812098832172320_2219110831019678840_ncapturing the night’s vibe and a laser show.  It was a wild Thursday night (for me, anyway). Despite all the obvious revelry, the intangibles stood out to me most.

Over the years, it has become abundantly clear to me that my story is not only mine; I have shared every step of this journey with my family.  It was them who watched me spend weeks and months in the neuro-ICU and rehab.  It was them who nursed me back to health.  And it is still them who support me through every moment.  Words cannot express the pride I feel when I see how everyone has taken something so terrible and turned it into something positive.

When my brother Stephen came to me with the idea of donating a portion of CD sales to finding the cure and helping better the lives of those in need, I was honored and knew just where to turn.  One day in 2014, I was home exploring ways to connect with other brain tumor patients and advocates, when I happened upon the CTBTA website.  Within days of filling out a contact form, I was having coffee with the Executive Director and another Board member, sharing my story and ideas.  They welcomed me with open arms.  From that moment on, I have felt a renewed sense of purpose.

For me, the night was such a beautiful melding of my family who has been there from day one, friends and the family I’ve found in the CTBTA.  The pride I felt watching 11091202_812101065505430_9171527113053482358_nmy brother and his bandmates killing it on the stage was almost overwhelming – knowing how much work went it to this, not only for themselves, but for others is a true testament to how much we can accomplish. 11051865_812100148838855_6420674188541795924_nTo everyone who purchased a CD at Black Eyed Sally’s, or who purchased one previously or since then, we thank you!  To my new friends at Carla’s Pasta who have shown tremendous support and generosity, we thank you.  Because of all of you, finding effective treatments and the cure to brain tumors and brain cancer can someday be made possible.

Equally as exciting as watching the show was witnessing the spirit of my fellow survivors and caretakers.  As has been discussed over and over on this blog, a brain tumor diagnosis is devastating for the patient and caretakers.  But with strong spirits and perseverance, any obstacle can be overcome.  I send a big thank you to Susan, David, Tracey, Greg, Maria and Kim for being there with us on this special night.  Your enthusiasm and support are the reason that I volunteered and am now a board member of the CTBTA.  The passion that you have for this cause is unbelievable and inspiring.  Each of our stories is special and unique in their own way, but we are all connected by one common denominator.

For Stephen, music and this band were his clarity during a tough time.  For me, family and realizing what truly matters in life is my clarity and what gives me the drive to carry on and succeed day-to-day.  As I’ve explained before, music has also served as my clarity.  And as you may or may not have noticed, I write these posts based on music and songs.  So in case you missed it, mark your calendars for September 19th and join us for the Second Annual Give Back Music Festival: Brainstormin’ to benefit The Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund at the Yale Brain Tumor Center.  Let’s continue to focus on the good – let the music, laughs, and some cold beer bring some clarity to and hope for this devastating illness and those living through it.