Julie Houston of the Brain Tumor Awareness Organization talks about her personal connection to cancer and why she attended the Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope.
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We’re really excited to be here because my husband is a six-year brain tumor survivor and he’s actually a two-time cancer survivor. He had testicular cancer 13 years ago, brain tumor six years ago and he had a treatment at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke that now is being offered at MUSC in the next few weeks for grade 4 brain tumor survivors. And so what our focus was in this organization was to take everything from our journey. When he was first diagnosed and all of these people that I met through the internet that were able to give me support help me find the clinical trial and the information put it together so that it would be in one place to try and reduce that burden on those families. And through that we have met so many wonderful national partners that we advocate with. I also advocate with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Patient Advocate Foundation to try and assist folks. But also Prime Pharmaceuticals, his riding on behalf of them and the many people that were in our corner in the upstate out there to Livestrong challenge and we knew from meeting the people that are doing the ride here the first ever cycling event in honor of a brain tumor angel that we had to be here so that we could support the efforts of what’s going on at MUSC and the Prime Pharmaceuticals and the ride for hope. Well my husband has always been a very independent and a community person. He was in the mass and a state certified the EMS instructor. He also was one of the four gentlemen on the entire response team for the state and when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor you know it ended his career. I always was self employed and had my own business and it ended my career. And our path was set on survival. And of course we had to navigate all these very difficult processes, all these losses that you have and those processes that really shutdown your access to care, your access to insurance. But we made it. We got through it because we found the right support partners, we were blessed by an awful lot of angles and we’re on the other side and what we can say is that there is hope and there are people out there and now we think that the real purpose just like the Lance Armstrong Foundation is to close that gap. And to make sure that people know there’s hope and that you can get through it and you can survive and you can have a great quality of life after that diagnosis. For me it's basically making sure that people know that they’re not lost, that they don’t fall into another gap, that they recognize who those partners are and support that they are able to have that burden taken off of them so that they can focus on their treatment, focus on their families and the now so that they can get through to the tomorrow.
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