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From the CEO’s Desk: Reflecting on 2018

Greetings and happy holidays to the brain tumor community,

Before we turn over a new year, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our amazing community of supporters, advocates, volunteers, and partners for making 2018 another year of great progress and momentum in the effort to conquer and cure brain tumors. Though we know that, until we’ve found a cure, progress can never be fast enough for those fighting for survival and improvement in their quality of life, the seemingly small victories we win through scientific discovery, the development of a new treatment strategy, and improvements in policy and health care navigation create meaningful benefit for patients, survivors, and care partners.  

All of these little victories will continue to build, like the proverbial snowball rolling downhill, until this momentum brings us to a time when brain tumors no longer cause undue suffering. And it’s only through your dedication, your support, your passion, your spirit, that we can make this progress.

Indeed, together in 2018, we helped make some existent snowballs larger, while also starting some new ones.   

Unfortunately, in this community, we know that with these highs there are often lows. Among the estimated 16,000 Americans who sadly lost their lives due to a brain tumor in 2018 were some of our organization’s long-time supporters, dear friends, and national figures. This past year we had to mourn the loss of Senator John McCain, long-time advocate Michael Yutkin, Race for Hope DC co-founder Lionel Chaiken, and legendary neurosurgeon and National Brain Tumor Foundation forefather Dr. Charles Wilson. We grieve for all these individuals, as well as the many more that this disease has taken from us.

Moving forward, we will work even harder to help all those living with a brain tumor and push the field of neuro-oncology to make progress more quickly. We are going to focus on funding research leading to new treatments and will take “more shots on goal” by funding projects that are squarely aimed at producing new medicines and other therapies that extend survival and improve cognitive and functional symptoms for patients with both malignant and non-malignant brain tumors. We will focus on helping and uniting the brain tumor community. In doing so, we will wage an aggressive effort to make brain tumors a national priority with the Administration, FDA, and National Institutes of Health. Additionally, we will help patients and their care partners find the right care with the right medical experts. Finally, we will make collaborations and partnerships an even greater priority in order to leverage time, talent and resources.

To launch these projects, we will need your help and support in 2019 and beyond. So, whether it’s at an NBTS signature Walk, Race, or Ride; at a Community Fundraiser or Gray Nation Endurance race; at a scientific or medical workshop or conference; online during a webinar or social media chat; or through any number of additional venues, I hope to connect with you in 2019.

Finally, as we, together, think about our vision of conquering and curing brain tumors – once and for all – let’s live by Yoda’s quote, “Do or do not, there is no try.” In 2019, let’s go do it!

With sincere gratitude,

David F. Arons, JD

Chief Executive Officer

National Brain Tumor Society

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