In honor of National Brain Tumor Awareness month, individuals, schools, communities and organizations across our country committed to “Go Gray” in May to raise awareness and funding for brain tumor research and clinical trials. There are 120 different types of brain tumors and 1,000 shades of gray in between and in how they impact patients and families. However, in 30 years only four FDA approved drugs and one device have emerged as available treatments (National Brain Tumor Society).
Nowhere is there a bigger deficit in research than that of pediatric brain tumors. While such tumors are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among children and teens, the FDA has initially approved only two drugs for any childhood cancer in the past 20 years. In fact, half of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old (www.icareicure.org).
This year “Go Gray” took on a deeper meaning in central Indiana as many of us followed the story of Brooks Blackmore, a brave five-year-old boy diagnosed with an inoperable high grade brain tumor last June. Through Be Brave Brooks, his family shared the ups and downs of Brooks’ fight until its end on May 21, 2016 when six-year-old Brooks passed away.
To turn awareness into action, Brooks’ family is asking for donations to Prayers from Maria, the Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation, which is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatment, and cure for the deadliest childhood brain tumors. To donate, click here. In addition, Prayers for Maria offers two-year grants to fund childhood glioma research. Words for Good will provide its services pro-bono to researchers qualified to pursue this grant opportunity.
Words for Good is in awe of the courage, honesty and grace shown by the Blackmore family and knows the impact of their story will keep us Going Gray long past May. The family continues to share Brooks’ life through #beBROOKSbrave.