Laura was my older sister. She played s massive role in the caretaking of our brother, Brett, as he battled his brain cancer diagnosis. My mom, Laura, and myself all lived on the floor at Children’s National for many months while my brother lived out his last days on this earth. Brett passed away in 2014.
In 2015 Laura had a seizure in the middle of the night. We called 911 and while we waited for the ambulance to come, I remember panicking and thinking, “she has brain cancer too.” How could we have guessed or known that? We got to the hospital, they did a CT, and said they, “found something,” They tried to give us the whole rundown of, “it could be anything,” but my mom and I knew. We looked at each other and whispered “WTF?” and just cried in the waiting room. I felt nauseous. I felt scared. I felt angry.
Laura was 26 at the time of her brain cancer diagnosis (Anaplastic Astrocytoma—same as our brother’s) and 29 when she died. She was the sweetest, most thoughtful person I’ve ever known. She wanted to do any and every experimental trial in an attempt to help anyone else down the road. She’s the reason our family got involved in a pretty cool genetics study at Children’s National that they’re still exploring today. It turns out the tumors both Laura and Brett had were potentially something brewing in their bodies in the womb. It took them different amounts of time in life for the tumors to show up and grow large enough to cause symptoms, but both were potentially born with this disease already growing.
I am honored to represent and remember Laura through this year’s Moab 240 race. She’s the reason I ever began running in the first place, and she’s the reason I will continue as long as my body lets me.