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Tennis for Tumors Tournament

May 9, 2007 01:34 PM


By: Brittany Truitt

In March 2006, I was diagnosed with a JPA (Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma) brain tumor. Initially, I was in shock. Here I was a healthy, active, 16-year-old girl. I had symptoms that were common to hypothyroidism. I certainly was not prepared for a brain tumor. However, by the grace of God, the incidental find of my tumor has proved to be a blessing in more ways then one. The first was that the resection of the neoplasm was complete. I was fortunate of the location. As for the second, I have an awareness of the hope that awaits many children that are afflicted with this kind of tumor. 
I had surgery on August 8, 2006 at Children’s Hospital Boston. I was fortunate to have had the chief of staff and very well known surgeon, Dr. R Michael Scott, to perform my surgery. Surgery was scheduled for 8 hours. My lesion was in the left cerebellar region of the brain and 2 cmm from the brain stem. I was extremely fortunate that it was not in the brain stem because brain stem lesions are much more involved. I was in the hospital for five days, two days in a hotel room and flew home on the seventh day. I was amazed at the support of family and friends.

My Aunt Angie, Aunt Sandy, and Aunt Holly flew up to Boston to be by my bedside. We had both laughter and tears, and in my case pain. I was never without company, even so far away. When my Aunts left, Mr. and Mrs. Tidwell and my brother came up. I was so thankful for the many cards, flowers, my Aunt Judy’s phone calls, Mrs. Rombola’s famous brownies, and a scrapbook made by my friends and family. All of the nurses were amazed to see so many flowers and gifts in one room. A funny thing that happened involved the pillowcase my friends made for me. They gave me a pillow case that each of them had signed before I left for Boston. While I was sleeping, the ink came off on my face leaving the words “Joe Kezele” on my cheek. When the nurses came in they would ask, “Who’s Joe?” I think my mom had to explain that one; I just smiled. 

My parents were amazing. While I know they put on a happy face for me, I could see the tears in their eyes. They never left my side. Someone was always with me. They were confident, and trusting. My dad was awesome and went to great lengths to make me happy. One night, he and Mr. Tidwell got on a subway, went to The Cheesecake Factory to bring back cheesecake, and two hours later returned.
After flying home, I continued to have many flowers and gifts delivered to the house. One of my favorite teachers, Mrs. B, came to visit me. I returned to school after three and a half weeks and even participated in cheerleading after six weeks. I was especially touched by how accommodating All Saints’ Academy was before, during, and after surgery. I am thankful and appreciative for the school’s interest and support of me.
Most recently, I have headed a fundraiser “Tennis For Tumors” named by my brother Brett. I appreciate the involvement of my friends who, have helped make this event possible. The committee includes: Myself, Chairman, Britton Alexander, Co-chair, Lindsay Moats, Secretary, Chase Maloney, Treasurer, Zach Drum, sponsor chair, Katherine Fitzwater, Leslie Rath, Lily Portlock, Morgan Walsh and Morgan Wampler as public relations. My mom and Mrs. Alexander have also been a big help and support in the success of the tournament. A special thanks for the help of family, friends, businesses, and interested individuals with their sponsorship that have made this fundraiser a huge success. I am grateful for the overwhelming response.

I am excited and feel proud to be part of the process that will help make available new research and technology for children and teens with brain tumors. I feel especially passionate to do what I can to make a difference. I am confident the way to better treatment is through advanced technology and research. It starts here and now. It takes a purpose, a dedicated spirit, a desire and heart to know it can happen.

I recently had my second MRI. The results showed full resection and no regrowth. I thank God everyday for giving me life. I hope my story will be an inspiration to others. God carried me during this scary time and gave me incredible peace. It was no accident or overlook on His part, but a part of his perfect plan for me.              

The results of the tournament are as follows :

Junior Mixed Doubles A Division:
Justin Cecil & Kelly Krieger defeated Eddie Matthews & Kari McCardle 8-5

Junior Mixed Doubles B Division:
Erika Fox & Alan Roberts defeated Chad Brooker & Austin Lindsey 9-7

Girls Doubles A Division:
Christina Chan-Pong & Shea Perez defeated Abby Martinez & Anna Martinez 9-8

Girls Doubles B Division:
Kathryn Phillips & Kate Martin defeated Emily Bandyk & Stephanie Bandyk 8-2

Boys Doubles:
Mike Simeon & John Smith defeated Thomas Holt & Martin Hemenway 8-2

Mens Doubles A Division:
D.J. Pate & Nick Phelps defeated Drew Hollis & Tyler Heath 8-3

Mens Doubles B Division:
Sam Portlock, Jr. & Drew Ireland defeated Sam Portlock & Frankie Portlock 8-2

Ladies Doubles:
Linda Ramka & Karen Bateman defeated Denise Maqueira & Faith Fournet 8-3

Mixed Doubles:
Joe Madden & Anita Simon defeated Mandy Knight & Dr. Anthony Rosa 9-8







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