Washington, DC May 1, 2007- The first week of May 2007, has special meaning for Poway resident Julie Hamill. That's the week brain tumor advocates across the country work to increase awareness and understanding of brain tumors. Activities are focused on raising awareness in local communities and with members of the United States Congress.
“Brain tumors are a disease of both the body and the soul," said Ms. Hamill. "They occur at the control center of your whole being - your emotional, intellectual and spiritual being. Right now, a brain tumor diagnosis is a death sentence, and the treatment process is barbaric. I would really love to see this change." Each year, more than 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor. Brain tumors are now the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under the age of 20 surpassing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and are the third leading cause of cancer death in young adults ages 20-39.
Julie’s mother Katie, a vibrant Poway resident who worked at the Stoneridge Country Club, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in May of 2005 at the age of 46. After a valiant 14 month battle, Katie passed away. Over 17 years ago, Julie’s granny, Agnes Hamill, was diagnosed with the exact same brain tumor. Sadly, the treatments offered to Katie were not much different than those available almost two decades ago. The mortality rate for those diagnosed with brain tumors has been unchanged in the past decade, and only two new treatments have been approved in the past 25 years.
For Julie and the rest of the brain tumor community, these statistics were unacceptable. The only hope for brain tumor patients lies in advancements in biomedical research, specifically brain tumor research. Julie shared this message with members of Congress on the Hill today, in meetings with the offices of Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52), and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC). On behalf of the North American Brain Tumor Coalition, Julie urged these members of Congress to protect the National Institutes of Health with a funding boost of 6.7%, to protect invaluable brain tumor consortia and SPOREs (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) from being eliminated by the National Cancer Institute, and to eliminate Medicare’s two-year waiting period currently enforced on individuals who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance.
The North American Brain Tumor Coalition (NABTC), a network of eleven brain tumor organizations, is sponsoring the 9th Annual Brain Tumor Action Week with activities around the country, including events in Washington, D.C. Julie and her family have long been involved with the National Brain Tumor Foundation, based in San Francisco, CA, which is a member of the Coalition. The National Brain Tumor Foundation is holding its 13th Annual Bay Area Angel Adventure Walk in San Francisco this Saturday, May 5 in Golden Gate Park. If you’d like to make a donation to the Foundation in support of brain tumor research, please visit www.braintumor.org.
"Getting involved in Brain Tumor Action Week is a great way to support brain tumor patients in our community and it sends a message to your elected officials that increased research is the best way to stop this terrible disease," Julie Hamill says. For more information on Brain Tumor Action Week, check out http://www.nabraintumor.org.
CONTACT: Julie Hamill (619)318-5822