This young man did something shocking on January 15, 2010. This story caught my eye because it was about a kid with brain cancer. A kid who liked soccer and cooking. A kid who died on my son’s birthday in 2010 – the year my son would be diagnosed with the exact same kind of tumor. But none of those are the reason that I’m sharing this with you.
Here’s his story if you want to read the whole article: http://m.michiganradio.org/?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com#mobile/10466
The shocking thing about Laurance Carolin is that he was the FIRST “child” to donate his brain to this hospital for research. That is significant to me, and it should be to you, too. Here’s why:
1. The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan has been around since 1905. So in more than a hundred years, no one had made the decision to let researchers study their child’s brain after death. Laurence and his parents made the heart-wrenching decision to donate his tissue to help others. It isn’t like organ donation. They knew it wasn’t going to directly save a person’s life. They had the VISION to understand that it could save thousands of lives down the road.
2. Tissue donation is rare. I’m working on this issue every day, and even I didn’t realize it was this rare. It is dependent on people being generous in one of the scariest times in their lives. I don’t know about you, but when I’m scared, I’m usually only thinking about myself and my family. Having the presence of mind to think beyond your current situation takes courage.
3. Brain tumor biopsies only yield very small samples. Because of the location, surgeons have to be particularly careful with tissue removal, and the result is frequently tiny pieces of tissue that are not useful for research. Having access to the brain post-mortem means that they can take larger pieces of tissue for study.
4. This hospital took the tissue to use for research. That might not sound significant to you, but it is. They could have said, “Sorry, we don’t have a program to do that.” I’ve heard of other hospitals saying, “Sorry we don’t have room to store it.” The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan found a way to make Laurence’s donation matter, and it may not have been easy for them.
5. You have the power to make donations like Laurence’s more significant. The whole point to Dragon Master Foundation is to build an infrastructure that multiple hospitals can use to collect, store and analyze this type of tissue. There are still places where the tissue not needed for diagnosis is simply discarded. And yet, at the same time, there are researchers who don’t have the tissue they need to do research.
It is a significant problem that we are just now able to solve. Technology is just getting to a place where it is somewhat affordable to build the type of infrastructure that researchers need. This database will help researchers at multiple institutions. They will have far greater access to the data they need to find better treatments, and ultimately cures.
I believe with all of my heart that this database will help researchers cure cancer. I can’t do the research, but I can help raise the money for them to have this resource. If you want to help, too, please get in touch with me. Everyone can play a part!