When Frank Reimers decided to retire, he wanted his departure from 30 years in the fire service in Hillsboro, Oregon, to have some meaning. So he asked his union brothers and sisters to consider a significant donation to brain tumor research, since his niece was undergoing treatment for a cancer known as PNET or Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor.
Nineteen-year-old Nicole Callahan was first diagnosed at age 12 with the relatively rare disorder when she began suffering seizures. Her first round of treatments involved the surgical removal of the mass in her brain followed by six weeks radiation and nearly a year of chemotherapy. Her life returned to near normal for four years until she was about to graduate from high school in 2008. The day after graduation, she knew something was wrong again and the doctors confirmed the tumor had returned and spread to additional areas of her brain. More chemotherapy was attempted, but she could not complete it because it caused too much damage.
In July 2009, the tumor had spread to the opposite side of the brain, so a new treatment had to be found. That's when she began a new type of chemotherapy called Blood Brain Barrier Disruption which puts the chemo drugs straight into the brain, resulting in far less damage to the rest of the body. The courageous young woman has now had four rounds of this therapy and her physicians are excited by the progress seen with this approach.
Reimers' colleagues at Hillsboro Firefighters Local 2210 responded generously to Frank's request to help his niece and the organization that supports cancer patients such as Nicole. They donated $1,500 to the National Brain Tumor Society. That organization provides research and education for patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. If you want to know more about the National Brain Tumor Society, visit www.braintumor.org or call 1-800-770-8287.