Volunteering with the ABTA allows me to touch someone’s life each day and remind brain tumor patients they are not alone. Spreading awareness and educating others on brain tumors is important to me because I lived 6-10 years of my life unaware of the tumor I had slowly growing inside of me.
I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma at the Columbus VA facility on March 24, 2015. I was there for a check-up as I had been having strange sensations located on the right side of my body. I started experiencing hearing loss, vision impairment and loss of balance. I was sent to The Ohio State University where I undergone three surgeries in three weeks to remove my brain tumor.
While I was undergoing intensive rehab, my friends and I came across the BT5K in Columbus, OH. As unsteady as I was, I got up on my feet and attended the event determined to learn more about the ABTA. We listened to the survivor speaker and watched the runners cross the finish line and by the end of the event I was passing out water as a volunteer. It was the most uplifting feeling I had since my diagnosis. You could not help but be inspired by the positive vibe in the air.
From that moment I did not waste any time becoming an ABTA volunteer. I formed a BT5K team and I am now the chair for the BT5K Columbus Planning Committee. I joined CommYOUnity™, the ABTA’s nationwide volunteer network, where I am a mentor, hosted my own fundraising event and, now actively advocate for brain tumor research. My friends tell me I have never met a stranger and by meeting individuals who have been touched in some way by a brain tumor, I feel I am able to make a difference by connecting with those in the community.