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Why we walk for the National Brain Tumor Society

We’ve chosen the name “Team Parker” for the NBTS Annual Phoenix Brain Tumor Walk taking place (virtually) on Saturday, December 5.

WHY ARE WE WALKING FOR NBTS?

We walk because it became personal for all of us at the Giving Tree Dispensary. The owner’s close friend had a 11-year old son named Parker who unfortunately lost his battle with Brain Cancer in August of this year.

October 2019 Parker started feeling tired all the time. He went to the doctor and had a full panel blood test. Everything returned as expected – normal. A few days after that doctor appointment, he had double vision. No headaches. No nausea. Nothing else abnormal.

The day before Thanksgiving he went to the eye doctor, who told us to go to the ER. His brain was swollen. At this point the family knew he had a brain tumor.

They had no idea that it would encompass nearly half his brain. They had no idea that it had silently been lurking, symptom free, for years. They had no idea that he had a brain tumor while they were boogie boarding in San Diego in the summer of 2018. They had no idea he had brain tumor while he was participating in chess tournaments for the past three years. They had no idea that he had a brain tumor as he sat in accelerated and advanced classes at school. They had no idea that while they were hiking and zip lining across Hawaii over the summer, there was a dark behemoth of a monster growing stronger inside his head.

After the diagnosis, they did the standard of care – proton radiation for 30 days. It gave Parker some relief of his symptoms although the neuro-toxiticy presented a whole set of new ones. The family traveled to Sloan Kettering in NYC to have the mass (mostly necrotic/dead cells from radiation) removed. The rest of the tumor was dispersed in his brain, like water in a sponge. They had testing upon testing searching for mutations, fusions, proteins, ANYTHING that could be targeted by chemotherapy.

They enrolled him in a clinical study for the Optune Device, a medical device that had potential to slow down fast mutating cells. He wore it 93% of the time (22-23 hours a day) but after eight weeks, they learned the tumor had progressed. The family continued to fight for Parker until the end, with their ultimate goal to ensure that he was without pain and with peace.

We’re sharing Parker’s story because it’s our hope that his story of courage and bravery can increase awareness in order to help and hopefully find a cure for others.

Please register and donate to this year’s walk. Due to, and despite, the challenging and chaotic times we are living in right now, it is even more important to do so.

Very best. Stay safe.

Team Parker – Giving Tree Dispensary – Phoenix AZ

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