Ten years ago, Oscar “Ozzy” Gutierrez was like any normal 18 year old; getting ready to move out of his parent’s house and go away to school. Just days before he was set to leave, Ozzy was shopping for necessities for his new Rancho Cucamunga condo and was struck with blurry vision and a headache that dropped him to his knees. When over the counter meds and rest didn’t help, Ozzy went to Rady’s Childrens to find out what was wrong, and a CT revealed a small, pen-tip-sized shadow on his left cerebellum. Ozzy was admitted immediately, and for 2 weeks underwent testing. It wasn’t until a biopsy was performed that Doctors could make a definitive diagnosis: Glioblastoma multiforme. A brain tumor. Cancer.
There are approximately 120 different types of brain tumors, and Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Brain tumors can be malignant or benign, and in either case, they can be life threatening due to their effect on brain function. More than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year. So at only 18 years of age, Ozzy had to make the decision to put all his plans on hold and undergo radiation treatment. Ozzy compared this time of his life to prison - waiting for the cancer sentence to be over so he could resume life as usual. But even after 6 months of treatment and a complete remission status, life doesn’t go 100% back to “normal”. There are still monthly - and then annual - MRI scans coupled with the fear that the brain tumor could come back.
Which is why GDM We Rise has chosen to support the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation and their Step & Support Charity 5K on Saturday, September 17th. The San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation [SDBTF] is a grassroots charity and runs primarily on donations and volunteers. The money raised from their Step & Support 5K will go directly back to pediatric and adult patients and their families to help with everyday needs. This nonprofit offers a number of different programs designed to relieve some of the everyday difficulties that come when you, a family member or friend has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. SDBTF holds monthly support groups, provides Financial Grants and assistance for everyday expenses, and transportation to and from doctor’s appointments or chemo treatment.
On September 17, we are participating in a 5K put on by and benefiting the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation. Since one of our own is a brain tumor survivor this cause hits close to home. We chose to participate in an event for this organization because of that, and as a team we want to come together on that day and show support not only to Ozzy but to all those individuals and families affected by a brain tumor diagnosis.
The race is Saturday September 17, begins at 9am and takes place at Liberty Station. We encourage as many who can to register for the event, get your friends & family to register, and run/walk with us. Register at http://bit.ly/GDM-SDBTF5K - Choose "Join our Team" - Follow the prompts to join the GDM we Rise team! All other information about the event is available at that website.
If you aren't able to participate in the actual event, we ask that you help us fundraise at our team page via http://bit.ly/SDBTFdonate!
After the 5K, join us at Meze Greek Fusion for Brunch, where a portion of the brunch proceeds with go directly to San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation!