Prior to July 5th 2015 our family was much like every other average suburban family and then that day our life took a turn that no one could see coming. Our backbone Kim, my wife, my three children’s mother who had never been really sick a day in her life, had been as I like to say in the hospital three times in her life to have three healthy children had a seizure that within days we would find out would be a low grade glioma. We later found out within a month it went from low grade to high grade and she was given a death sentence of glioblastoma or GBM. This is the same disease that took VP Biden’s son Beau, Senator Edward Kennedy and currently Senator John McCain and countless other men women and children. You see brain cancer doesn’t care what side of the political spectrum you’re on, if you’re black or white, the most devout religious person or a complete atheist. It kills indiscriminately and painfully slow to watch and I’d expect much worse to endure. It has statistics that are mind numbing. It is the leading killer of children worldwide and has a life expectancy measured in months not years and hasn’t changed much in three decades. It was in a corner of Perlman 9 Hospital Floor in the University of Pennsylvania hospital in September of 2015 just prior to her first awake brain surgery that would last 10 hours when Kim tried to give a $50 gift card to a young boy of 16 years old who while she was scared herself found out he was having his second GBM surgery. The hospital wouldn’t allow us to give him a gift card she had earned by getting extra MRI’s done each visit so Kim realized she needed to do more to help those less fortunate.
The phrase “little by little” comes from post her first surgery. You see Kim was always a “million miles a minute” type A personality. But then after her surgery when she struggled to speak, walk and do other daily tasks we all take for granted every day she started to say the phrase regularly. She would say “I’m going to walk around the hospital floor little by little. I’m going to pass my neurology tests Little by Little. It became so frequent that even the doctors and nurses started to call it out themselves.They wrote it on the board and it became her and eventually our mantra.
Once she passed away in late Feb 2017 I realized I needed to for my and my children’s sake help make Kim’s dream a reality so we aim to do that to help families struggling with a brain tumor or brain cancer diagnosis whether it be through funding treatments that they can’t afford, increasing awareness of the disease itself and helping increase funding so that it loses its statue as the leading killer of children worldwide. And we have faith we’ll get there Little by Little.