Laura Williamson,a twenty-two-year-old brain tumor survivor, is an incredible young woman with a strong passion to give back to the brain tumor community. Laura began volunteering in the National Brain Tumor Society main office just a few short months ago, but quickly won over the hearts of our staff, constituents, and many others. Recently, Laura was awarded the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award for her dedication to the brain tumor cause. As part of their Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation selected Laura out of more than 400 nominees to be one of 26 special guests to attend the awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. At the ceremony, Laura was awarded a $10,000 grant in her name for the National Brain Tumor Society.
Katie Federico, our Director of Events for Massachusetts, was in attendance when Laura received her award and asked her a few questions about her life, volunteer work, and how it felt to be recognized as Myra Kraft Community MVP.
Katie Federico: You were diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of six, can you tell us a bit about your experience?
Laura Williamson: I feel like my life started when I was 6. This was the age I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My parents saw me using my left hand more and when they asked why I told them, “because it is easier.” They took me to Newton Wellesley Hospital, I had a CAT scan, and we learned I had a brain tumor. Since then I have been through numerous surgeries, a biopsy, a port put in, a shunt put in, my port taken out, an ITB pump put in, and a revision on my ITB pump. Unfortunately my doctors do not want to take my tumor out because doing so could make me blind. I was on chemotherapy for 6 months, radiation for 6 weeks, and steroids for at least a year.
K: Why did you decide to volunteer with the National Brain Tumor Society?
L: I cannot thank the National Brain Tumor Society enough for all of the tireless work they do to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for brain tumors. I am volunteering with them because I have the STRONGEST PASSION to give back to other brain tumor survivors. I know that a large part of [National Brain Tumor Society’s] work is going toward finding better treatments for patients with brain tumors, so that future patients can have more effective treatments available to them that will hopefully prevent them from going through the tough times that brain tumor survivors, such as myself, have had to endure.
K: Congratulations on winning a Myra Kraft Community MVP award! How does it feel to receive such prestigious recognition?
L: Words can’t describe how I feel to be a Myra Kraft Community MVP award winner. I am honored to have been selected. As a brain tumor survivor, I have been volunteering at the National Brain Tumor Society to give back to other survivors, patients, their families, and friends. Through all of the warm, supportive care I received, and still receive, I have learned how to find the positive in the negative and make the most of my life. By volunteering I can further reach out and help others in the brain tumor community. I know first hand that this support is so critical because of the difficult challenges we face on a daily basis. It is such an incredible feeling to be recognized as a volunteer, and I look forward to continuing to help others throughout my life.
We are lucky to have Laura as a part of our community and look forward to her continuing to work with the National Brain Tumor Society for years to come!