For over twenty years, Making Headway’s mission has been to address the full spectrum of needs facing children
with a brain or spinal cord tumor. Our programs provide the support and resources that families need, from the
moment of diagnosis through the months and years that follow. From friendly faces and comforting activities in
the hospital, to ongoing emotional and psychological support, to educational guidance and advocacy—Making
Headway’s trained professionals are there. We also fund cutting-edge medical research to find better treatments
and that may one day put an end to this devastating childhood disease.
Don’t just take our word for it. In a very special edition of our newsletter, families share their personal stories about
how Making Headway has impacted their lives. Read these stories and you’ll understand why Making Headway’s
work is unique and vital.
(If you want to receive the full newsletter, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are images you don’t forget when your child is diagnosed with a brain tumor. The look on your wife’s face as a doctor explains to her that, no, your son is not OK and won’t be going home from the hospital. The supernatural glow the tumor has when you look at that first image of his brain. The way a doctor idly twists a phone cord during a family meeting, sighs in a way that is so far from hopeful it doesn’t even feel in the same state as despair, and says, “So. Second opinions…”
Making Headway was a lifeboat off our lonely island of hopelessness. Our lives were changed irreversibly when Owen was diagnosed. But so, too, were they when NYU Neurosurgeon Dr. Jefrey Wisoff said he thought he could remove the tumor. And when the incredibly kind staff at Hassenfeld and Making Headway walked us through the resources at our disposal post-surgery. And when “Snowen” met Looney Lenny for the first time after surgery. And when we went to our first Family Fun Day on Father’s Day, 2009. And when we snapped a picture of Owen with Dr. Wisoff as he celebrated 10 years cancer-free.
We’re honored to be a part of the Making Headway community—a family of fighters, survivors, and angels. I’m not sure we would have made it off the island if not for them. “Thank you” seems inadequate to the task of expressing our gratitude.
My parents told me I swung my four-yearold feet to the side of the bed. I watched my legs dangle, while they held my IV tubes to follow me. Although I had been recuperating from emergency surgery (due to a complication during my radiation therapy), it was time to see if I could walk by myself. My parents said I had become weaker, trembling as they supported me, but I stood up.
My recovery has been long and often threatened. I understand how healing from brain cancer requires hope and help. Someone had once given me a little card with the poem “Footprints in the Sand.” I read it, probably like anyone reads it for the first time, and was surprised by the ending—because you do not see it coming when you read it for the first time. As a glioblastoma brain tumor survivor, I have many challenges. We all need to be carried sometimes, but on occasion, we have the ability to stand up and carry others.
Making Headway exists because it has understood this all along. When I trace my cancer journey, I see how Making Headway has been there to comfort, to educate, to encourage,
and to celebrate everyone walking this particular journey. To make progress, you need to walk forward, but to make headway, you need others.
I have remained in remission since my treatment in 2005. However, I have suffered cognitive and physical deficits, including mild hemiparesis, from the trauma of this diagnosis.
By surviving, my responsibility is to reveal my purpose, with gratitude.
Now eighteen, I am so appreciative and excited to be attending college. I have much to accomplish, so I am using my inner strength and gratitude to ensure that I can land on my feet—because when I do stand up, my diligence delivers, my tenacity triumphs, and I rise to overcome my challenges. Grateful for how Making Headway has carried me through, I smile knowing that sometimes I can feel sand under my feet.