Thank you for joining us throughout the month of September to honor and support children and families that have been affected by pediatric brain tumors, the leading cause of cancer-related death in children, as well as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children 14 years old and younger.
It’s clear the brain tumor community has an enormous stake in Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. And this year, we asked you, our community, to nominate your “September Superstar” — a patient, survivor, parent, sibling, advocate, teacher, hospital staff, etc. that has made a positive impact on the childhood brain tumor community through their actions, dedication, and spirit.
We had a number of amazing submissions, and while we’re not able to feature all of them at this time, we selected a few exceptionally noteworthy September Superstars to share with the community.
Annalise was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2018, at age 11. Although her surgery was a success, Annalise was left with some deficits — palsy in one side of her face, a ‘weightlessness’ in the entire left side of her body, double-vision, and other issues related to coordination. She worked hard at physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and throughout her entire diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, Annalise remained upbeat and positive. Annalise even started middle school as scheduled, achieving high honor roll, joining the Art and Best Buddies clubs, and performing in two dance recitals.
Upon the anniversary of Annalise’s surgery, she decided that instead of a celebration for herself, she wanted to help others. Annalise created her own team, “Positive Party,” to walk in the Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on September 14, 2019. The team raised more than $4,300, with Annalise leading the way, bringing in $2,781 herself.
Despite her own challenges, Annalise knows she has been fortunate to overcome many of the obstacles resulting from her brain tumor. As Annalise adjusts to her new normal, she didn’t just choose to put this experience behind her and forget, she made a conscious choice to give back, including reaching out to other local children experiencing brain tumors.
Chris Peabody and Cord Schlobohm
Chris Peabody and Cord Schlobohm have both endured the tragedy of losing a child to brain cancer. Over the past decade, both men and their families have turned their grief into action by engaging in a variety of efforts to support the fight against pediatric brain tumors. Their longstanding commitment to the National Brain Tumor Society has been demonstrated through their constant support of the organization’s research funding, advocacy for the brain tumor community, participation in nation-wide fundraising efforts, as well as their annual Maryland Impact Golf Tournament which was initiated to raise funds and awareness in the ongoing battle against pediatric brain tumors. This year’s event raised over $28,800 to benefit NBTS’s mission.
In 2004, while running the Marine Corps Marathon, BethAnn Telford felt a sensation in her head and over the next couple of months began to experience problems with her balance and cognition. After several weeks of tests, she learned she had brain cancer and that her life would forever be changed. After surgery, BethAnn had to learn to walk, talk, and move all over again. As her rehabilitation began, she was determined to run again. Six weeks after surgery, she ran her first 5K race and trained throughout the summer to run and finish the Marine Corps Marathon. But, the work that BethAnn is most proud of is her dedication, particularly to the brain tumor community’s youngest and most vulnerable community members. BethAnn founded Team BT as part of the Race for Hope – DC 5K Run/Walk and incorporates many child survivors as co-captains of her team. The team has helped raise $1 million over the years for brain cancer research. BethAnn is also a fierce supporter of pediatric brain cancer patients and offers a network of support to the children and their families during their treatment, serving as a mentor and role model to both the children and their parents.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a September Superstar during this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each story was inspiring and moving. We remain in awe of this community’s strength and dedication to raising awareness and fighting for better treatments and cures. You’re all, truly, September Superstars.