Beginning tomorrow, Grant Reed of Bellview, Ohio will travel to Capital Hill to share his pediatric brain tumor personal story as part of the 2016 Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a partner with IFF and home to the Ian’s Friends Foundation Laboratories, is a member of the Children’s Hospital Association.
In 2012 at age 11, Grant was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor. Just days after his diagnosis, Grant underwent extensive brain surgery to remove the tumor. Following surgery, Grant developed Posterior Fossa Syndrome, which left him severely weak on his left side with an inability to speak, eat or drink. Because the physical effects of his surgery were so severe, Grant was admitted into the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Nationwide Children’s. After multiple weeks, Grant was released from the hospital walking, eating and talking. Undergoing a year of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Grant and his family began to adjust to their new normal in the summer of 2013.
However, the following winter, the cancer returned and Grant endured another brain surgery and intense chemotherapy and spent most of the first six months of 2015 in the hospital. Fighting cancer twice has strengthened Grant and his family. It has been a difficult journey, physically, financially, and mentally, but the entire Reed family has learned to cherish each day and are happy to share Grant is cancer free.
Grant and his family are hoping to do their part in advocating for additional funding of pediatric cancer research while in Washington, D.C. this week, June 21-23, 2016. Cancer is the leading cause of death among children in the United States. The therapies to treat it can cause the majority of childhood cancer survivors to experience harmful, life-long complications from their treatments. Yet, despite childhood cancers consisting of more than 150 types of cancer, pediatric cancers, as a whole, receive a small portion of the total NCI/NIH funding according to the Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research.
IFF is always fighting to help find cures for pediatric brain tumors. Nonprofits like Ian’s Friends Foundation provide the additional finances needed to support the most promising treatment options for our children. We will not quit until there is a cure – and neither will Grant Reed and his family.