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It was early December 2018 when in an instant and out of nowhere, our world was turned upside down. My son, Derek became sick with what was diagnosed as a sinus infection. He started to feel better and then, suddenly horrible headaches and vomiting followed, and we immediately took Derek to the emergency room.  The PA was proactive, did a CT scan and then the devastating blow; Derek had a fast-growing brain tumor which turned out to be glioblastoma (GBM) stage IV, the most common, treatment resistant and deadliest tumor. Two days later, Derek underwent brain surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. In a matter of days, the tumors spread.

Our Derek, who was a healthy, young 27-year-old soldier, a self-taught DJ and music artist; full of life, so kind and loving, who just finished serving our country proudly for nine years in the Army, 82nd Airborne, and getting ready to attend college in 3 weeks, was now thrown onto the cancer battlefield, fighting for his life. 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. 

It has taken me three long years and I have put my pain to purpose. I am a first-time author, writing a book about Derek and our brain cancer journey. Please consider purchasing my book on Amazon to help our advocacy efforts for a fight for a cure and until then, funding for brain cancer research and clinical trials that give people impacted by this horrible disease, hope and a quality of life.


You can also join our annual D-Rex Defenders team with Angels Among us where all proceeds go directly to Duke Hospital for cutting edge brain cancer research being done at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.

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 the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths in adolescents and young adults, ages 20-39 years of age. Ninety percent of our active military members are under the age of 40. 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 88,970 more will be diagnosed in 202It is estimated more than 18,200 people will lose their life to a malignant brain tumor (brain cancer). 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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