Each person there knew someone with a brain tumor, whether they survived or passed away. There were maybe twenty people walking who were survivors of a brain tumor. Two teams had over one hundred people each walking for them, Team Isabel (who is a survivor) and Team Nate-Dawg, Nathan Newman, who is currently in the hospital in ICU.
Around 10:15 am this morning the crowd lined up behind a blue and white balloon arch and waited for the bells the ring. When it did, they crowd took off, as if each step they took was one step closer to a cure.
We walked twice around the Exposition park on the USC campus. I met many people along the way, each one more than willing to share their story with mine.
I had the opportunity to meet the aunt of Nathan Newman (who I had mentioned previously), Laurie Newman. She held a sign with her nephew’s picture and told me his story. He was diagnosed on July 13 of this year. Nathan wanted to walk with his family and friends but was in Intensive Care and was unable.
And then I met 22-year old Taylor Mulligan, who was walking for her father Lewis Mulligan who had an angioglioblastoma in his left temporal lobe. He was diagnosed on August of 2011 and passed away on September 12 of this year. In memory of her father, Taylor created Grey Matters and Well Wishes for Lewis Mulligan. Taylor told me that his journey was an eye-opener for her. She is now going to school to be a nurse in the oncology or radiology department. It is a good fit for her because she was her father’s caretaker when he was sick.
Each person walking today was determined to make each step count. They do not want anyone to suffer from a brain tumor.
I heard from many that you never know what can happen with a brain tumor. As one of Taylor’s teammates told me, “Some people are given a chance, others are given a stopwatch.”