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It was early December, 2018 when in an instant and out of nowhere, our world was turned upside down. Derek became sick with what was diagnosed as a sinus infection. He started to feel better and then, suddenly horrible headaches followed and we immediately took Derek to the emergency room. Derek and his mom were talking to the doctors and we all thought it was probably just the flu or a really bad sinus infection. The PA was proactive, did a CT scan and then the devastating blow; Derek had a fast growing brain tumor that created swelling in the brain and the painful headaches and vomiting. He was taken to the hospital and two days later, Derek underwent brain surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. In a matter of days, the tumors spread.

Our Derek, who was once jumping out of airplanes in the Army and getting ready to attend college in 3 weeks, was now thrown onto the cancer battlefield, fighting for his life. Derek never left the hospital where he remained for 126 days, in diapers, unable to move anything but his left arm and requiring full personal care and nursing care. His battle continued with 2 more brain surgeries, a feeding tube, and six weeks of brain and spine radiation, strapped down on a board five days a week, forty minutes each day. You see, this was the only treatment that could possibly combat his tumors and give him a chance to survive. Derek had some of the best doctors at Duke Hospital and being so young and strong, we remained hopeful.

Derek fought courageously as the soldier he was and after all of the treatments, the tumors were gone and then in a matter of days, more tumors emerged and invaded his now exhausted body. There I was, his mom, in the back of the ambulance with my son, taking him to Hospice, his final destination here on earth. His family by his side, we wept and watched helplessly as Derek took his last breath, 7 days later on April 17th, 2019 at 5:48 am.   


There are no words to describe just how horribly gut wrenching brain cancer is and what it does to people, to little children, to strong men and women. To watch your loved one be devoured by such a vicious attack on one’s body, destroying their mental and physical capacity, is barbaric.


​Inspired by the life of Derek Lemieux, his mom, Holly, and sister, Nicole.


Finding A Cure For Brain Cancer

Brain tumors are one of the deadliest forms of cancer and is now the leading cause in cancer related deaths in children and young adults. Brain tumors are also the leading cause of cancer related deaths in males, age 20-39 years of age. There is no early detection, no prevention and no cure for brain cancer. Funding for medical research is critical.

Today, an estimated 700,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain tumor and more than 86,000 more will be diagnosed in 2020. There are more than 130 different types of brain tumors. The survival rate is poor, with many having less than a 2 year survival rate. The number of people inflicted with this vicious disease continues to increase. Despite these facts, there are only 5 approved medications and one treatment option. We are failing brain tumor patients and families miserably. There must be aggressive measures to find a cure for brain cancer and successful treatments that offer people better outcomes, prolong life expectancy and quality of life.

Funding is crucial to remove the barriers so scientists can take the research from the laboratory into the high quality facilities necessary so people with brain cancer can have access to groundbreaking clinical trials. Congress must fund the medical research that is desperately needed so scientists can develop and begin to offer medications and treatments to combat brain cancer so people not only can survive, but have better health outcomes and quality of life.




Fighting for a Cure



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