Leap-for-a-Cure is a grass-roots effort to benefit the Omaha community with better education, awareness, and treatment for brain tumor patients. Our family was placed in an unenviable situation when our daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer in April 2008. Shortly after her diagnosis and surgeries, we created Leap-for-a-Cure and have never looked back. Our efforts have raised over $500,000 since July 2008, and we continue to gain momentum.
Few people ever think the unexpected will actually happen to them, and we were no different. However, in April of 2008, the unexpected became our reality. Our daughter, Heather, was diagnosed with brain cancer, currently Stage 3: Anaplastic Astrocytoma. On April 24, 2008, she had her first of two surgeries to retract her tumor; her second surgery was June 12, 2008. Even though both surgeries were considered successful, the entire tumor could not be retracted. She completed 6 weeks of radiation with low dose Temador and then completed 11 months of high dose Temador (chemo). After 11 months, her body said, “No more!” She remains on what I refer to as the “wait-and-see” list. She now travels to UCSF every four months for her check-ups. She will be closely monitored for any changes for the rest of her life.
As a mother, I feel I need to do something other than cry and ask “Why Heather?” Of course we pray for Heather’s tumor to remain stable, but we also pray for medical advancements so that medical teams have the necessary knowledge to perform miracles. Research provides those advancements! When my father died at the age of 43 from brain cancer, the medical field did not have MRIs, CT-scans, chemotherapy, or other important diagnosis or treatment options available. Now, 50 years later, I pray that our daughter will live instead of die because of the advancements. Sometimes I think she is destined to be the living proof of medical research.
Leap-for-a-Cure was organized to help benefit research so that early detection and treatment plans can add years to lives and eventually cure the disease. Too often, people live their lives thinking that “it” always happens to “other” people. Our family is proof that the “other” person can easily become anyone. And because Heather’s nickname has always been “frog,” we wanted that reflected in the foundation’s name.
All funds collected for Leap-for-a-Cure are donated to improve treatment, education, and awareness of brain cancer in the Omaha community and especially at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center. All donations are tax deductible. We want this disease to give hope, not death, to its many victims.
So far, LFAC has purchased a much needed Functional MRI (fMRI) for Methodist Hospital, which is beneficial to anyone who has brain trauma or a tumor, and the first StealthMerge, which is beneficial for neurosurgerons during brain surgery. In addition, LFAC hosted and funded the first Brain Tumor Conference at Estabrook Cancer Center, which surpassed expectations in attendance and involvement. Most recently, LFAC donated $50,000 to the Tissue Bank at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center in 2011 and in 2013 purchased a $300,000 SteatlhMerge upgrade. Currently, LFAC is working toward a therapy pool for post-surgical patients at Methodist Hospital.
A very special thank you goes to the following people: Heather’s sisters Michele and Amy for purchasing the domain and helping organize the website ideas; Cousin Trent for creating the Leap-for-a-Cure website; and all of our friends and family for the continued support, prayers, and gifts to help us fight and win against this disease.
Each donation may be one small step for research, but many donations become one giant LEAP FOR A CURE!
Founded in July 2008 by the family of Heather Roberts, Leap-for-a-Cure is associated with the Nebraska Methodist Hospital Foundation. The organization was formed to provide improved awareness, education, and treatment for brain cancer patients at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center.