Team Amy's 8th Annual Walk to Fight Brain Tumors
Seven years ago we were confronted with the battle of our lives - my mom, Amy Marie Crabtree, was diagnosed with Brain Cancer (Glioblastoma Multiforme). Frustrated with our inability to take any action to help her, we gathered in Battery Park on September 28, 2008 to join a walk to find a cure, and our team (Team Amy) raised more money for the cause than any of the others; nearly $50,000.
A little over a year later, despite every aggressive therapy (surgery, radiation, multitudes of chemotherapy, biologics, nutritional modifications, vitamins/minerals...the list goes on), my mother lost her battle on November 3, 2009.
It is hard to believe, but it has been six years since we lost her, and sometimes life almost feels normal. I manage clinical research at a major cancer center and have a boyfriend who can tolerate me enough to live with me (we never thought this would be possible!). My oldest sister, Kathryn, is happily married and a recent graduate of UCLA Film School. My younger sister, Liz, is graduating from vet school at the top of her class and planning her wedding. The baby, Maddy, is Marketing and Communications Director at the Kittle House and is applying to graduate school. And our dad...well, he's finally learned to do his own laundry. Mom never got to know any of these things.
The Beatles were right - life goes on. But we each miss her every day, and I've come to realize that that will never go away. This past week, after a particularly challenging and life-changing year, I observed the anniversary of my mother’s death by myself. I took my dog for a long walk and reflected upon my life and the person I've become. I was 24 when I lost her, and I just celebrated my 30th birthday. I'm not the person either of us thought I would turn out to be, and I can't help but wonder if she would be proud of me. I know I'd be different with my mother here (she made everyone a better person), but I find myself wondering on an almost daily basis: what would her advice be?
This question guides me in the choices I make every day of my life. Anyone who knew my mother knows that her everyday-wisdom was more profound than any high level philosophy on life. She simply knew how to approach life in a positive and constructive way. She had an intrinsic wisdom that we all futilely strive to acquire. My mom was a very special and precious human being.
And there are thousands more just like her, unwitting and undeserving victims diagnosed with brain cancer each year. Sure - not all of them have her wisdom. Some of them are probably real jerks. But they matter to someone. Their lives are valuable and their unexpected absence will leave a hole in hearts, an empty seat at a graduation or wedding, and a void where there used to be unrelenting optimism and support. Everybody means as much to someone as my mom meant to all of us, and that is why we are inspired to keep fighting this deadly, insidious disease.
It seems preposterous, but in the past six years since my mom passed away, the medical community has merely inched towards improved treatments for brain cancer (my line of work is very closely linked to this type of research, so I have the inside scoop)! The treatments that were prescribed to her, in vain, are still considered the gold standard treatments. Brain cancer is rare enough that, even though it is almost universally fatal, it receives minimal attention in the world of research. It is our job to change that, and we implore you to come help!
As has become our tradition since 2011, we will gather in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation on the Sunday morning after Thankgsiving (November 29, 2015) to demonstrate our support for this important cause, and raise money for a charity that is dedicated to the fight against brain cancer.
Please help!.Even a few dollars will make a difference. You can create your own fundraising page by clicking “Become a Fundraiser” to help us spread the word among your social network, and we will award prizes to those who raise the most money (think dinner at the Kittle House)! As always, dogs are welcome on the walk (and encouraged!). The walk will be about 2 miles round trip. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Thanks for reading! Hope to see you all on November 29!