Hi, my name is Zoe FitzGerald. I was diagnosed with an optic glioma when I was three years old. Until recently, I was very private about the fact I have a brain tumor; but now I feel the responsibility to do what I can to raise money for brain cancer research so other children can benefit from advances in treatment like I have. There were a lot of challenges with my first chemotherapy protocol. I felt nauseous all the time, had a lot of joint pain, lost my energy, and experienced severe bone marrow suppression so I couldn't go out in public much and had to quit preschool and dance. I also ended up getting a blood clot so I had to get shots twice a day for about a year and a half. That's not fun for a three year old… but you end up just getting used to it.
Then, I was able to have a break from chemotherapy for about three years until my tumor started to grow again. I was on another medication for about a year and a half until it started to damage my kidneys, so I needed to stop that medication. My tumor started to grow shortly after stopping that medication, and I was fortunate to quickly be accepted for a two-year clinical trial because the other treatment options were no longer available to me. The clinical trial drug was effective in shrinking my brain tumor by 25% while causing only minimal side effects, making it possible for me to stay in school and my activities.
So, advances in treatment are being made, but only through continued research. And research is only possible with funding.