The Recipe for Joy
If you have heard my story before, please bear with me. This is for those who have landed on my team page and may not know what brought me here!
My name is Joy and I’m a brain tumor survivor who was diagnosed and had brain surgery 5 years ago this month! I was one of the lucky ones, if you can call anyone with a brain tumor lucky, in that I had a benign tumor. Unfortunately, it was attached to my brain stem. I had my tumor resection surgery at MD Anderson in Houston, TX in August 2013 followed by 19 surgeries and/or procedures to correct complications from the resection. These procedures have lasted over the last four and half years at Emory in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD and Mass Eye And Ear in Boston, MA. To say I’ve been through hell and back is an understatement. I have been tested to very limits of what one human can take. Along with being an advocate for brain tumor patients and caregivers, I’m also an outspoken advocate for mental health. You see, I saw no ending in site from these surgeries and all I could do was relate what was happening to me like being in a traumatic car accident. One day you look in the mirror and see yourself and the next day you look in the mirror and have no idea who is staring back at you. The complications from the resection surgery left me with left side facial paralysis, my eyes were locked dead set right, my jaw was locked shut for nearly two years, I had complete right side numbness, I had to learn how to correctly walk again and I could go on and on. With that, I had severe depression, hit rock bottom and wanted to end my life during my recovery. Because I had shut myself off from the world, I was blessed to have had a close friend who saw the signs and reached out to my family. With their support, I found the help I needed to learn coping skills and move forward with life. I am open and share all my struggles because mental illness should NOT be a negative stereotype. Someone who needs help should not be frowned upon or talked about negatively. Mental Illness cannot be helped!
Being a brain tumor survivor and advocate, I accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the work of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation which raises funds to support tumor research. Many of you know that the SBTF is near and dear to my heart. Not only do they raise money to fund research to help find a cure for brain tumors, they also provide a monthly brain tumor support meeting for caregivers and patients. These monthly meetings have given me the lifeline I needed to keep up the fight! With my love and passion for the Foundation and the amazing work they do, I sought out election to the SBTF board last year. I wanted to be a part of their success and to help the Foundation carry on their amazing work!
The largest fundraiser of the year for the SBTF is the 19th Annual Race For Research. It is a 5K run, 1K fun-run that will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. While this is the 19th year of the race, last year was the first year that I was able to participate in the race. At the very last minute, my mom, aunt and two cousins joined me, we signed up and had a blast!
With a little more notice this year, my wish is to have more family and friends join us at the race and to raise funds to help support research to find a cure for brain tumors. In true “Joy” form, if you join us for the race we will have team T-shirt’s and grey tutus for everyone 😊 Everything is better with a tutu 😉 Also, the SBTF is pleased to announce that the Race for Research may be used as a Peachtree Road Race qualifier!
If you can’t join us in the fun on race day, I HOPE you will consider donating to this amazing foundation. For information about this important fundraising event or about the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation and its programs, visit www.sbtf.org
FYI - it is faster and easier than ever to support me, and this great organization, by making your tax-deductible donation online. Whatever you can give will help- it all adds up to support funding to help find a cure for brain tumors!
My team name is “The Recipe for Joy”. What does “The Recipe for Joy” call for you ask? It’s simple!
It takes 1 cup of Courage
1 cup of Strength
1 Cup of Determination
Donate, particpate, or tailgate with us on Saturday, September 22, 2018. I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.
Wishing you all nothing but health and happiness!