‘Sharing Hope’: Meeting Helps Brain Tumor Patients Cope Today — and Look Toward the Future

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Two outstanding leaders in neuro-oncology will headline the agenda when brain tumor patients and their families meet July 8 and 9 for Â?Sharing Hope,Â? a conference organized by the American Brain Tumor Association. Scheduled for the Eaglewood Conference Resort and Spa, Itasca, IL, the meeting brings together more than 20 experts to share their knowledge with participants navigating this disease.

Two outstanding leaders in neuro-oncology will headline the agenda when brain tumor patients and their families meet July 8 and 9 for “Sharing Hope,” a conference organized by the American Brain Tumor Association. Scheduled for the Eaglewood Conference Resort and Spa, Itasca, IL, the meeting brings together more than 20 experts to share their knowledge with participants navigating this disease.

    The keynote speakers include: Mitchel Berger MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and Keith Black MD, Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Director of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Berger’s extensive brain mapping expertise identifies motor, sensory and language function sites so as to avoid injury during surgery. Dr. Black’s research has resulted in facilitating the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs directly into the tumor.

    Drs. Berger and Black will open the one and a half-day conference by discussing why it’s important to know about brain tumor biology and what’s on the horizon for new therapies, including stem cells. They’ll be followed by other experts who’ll delve into some of the diagnostic and treatment issues facing patients, such as choosing a clinical trial over standard therapy and eating to fight a tumor. During concurrent workshops, participants will be able to focus on diverse topics, from how to treat specific tumors to how to cope with the side effects — seizures, fatigue and memory loss — of their disease.

    On site registration is $60. Call ABTA at 800-886-2282 for more information. “We think this is a wonderful opportunity for patients to hear from leaders in the field and to exchange experiences, ask questions and network with others,” states John Hipchen, president of ABTA. “We believe participants will feel uplifted after coming together, learning from each others and “Sharing Hope.”

Beyond learning from health professionals, patients will have the chance to share their experiences with those who’ve been there too. Featured will be the “Hidden Under Our Hats Traveling Exhibit,” 1,000 hats honoring those who’ve lost the battle — and those still fighting it. Among the latter group is David M. Bailey, a nine-year survivor of GBM (glioblastoma multiforme), a high-grade malignant tumor that usually grows rapidly and spreads quickly. When he was diagnosed on July 4, 1996, doctors told Bailey he had just months to live. But thanks to aggressive treatment, and diligent follow-up, he’s been sharing his music and story ever since. Bailey will perform his folk guitar at this year’s “Sharing Hope.”

    The American Brain Tumor Association was founded in 1973 by two mothers who lost their daughters to a brain tumor. The Association remains dedicated to eliminating brain tumors through research while meeting the needs of patients and their families. This year ABTA research funding levels surpassed $1,000,000. The Association’s patient meetings continue to bring experts and families together in “Sharing Hope.” For further information on upcoming conferences in Dallas, TX (this fall) and Tampa, FL (early 2006), visit the Association’s website at http://www.abta.org.

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Peggy Kasprzak
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