My connection to The Nick Gonzales Foundation for Brain Tumor Research began in April of 2021. I found this wonderful group of people when I was searching for a local brain tumor/cancer organization to support during Brain Cancer Awareness Month in May. I wanted to have an event at The Lounge to raise money and awareness for brain tumor/cancer research and support. During my search I found organizations that supported many types of cancer research but specifically brain tumor/cancer was harder to find. I connected a few brain cancer organizations including Head for the Cure and Grey Matters North Texas Support Group which I still work with today.
Then I connected with The Nick Gonzales Foundations for Brain Tumor Research, I knew immediately that I needed to work with them too. I met with Art, their Director of Operations and Cindy their president, they told me the story of why they began then foundation and I was in. Their story and mine had the same unfortunate ending, the loss of a loved one for Cindy it was her son and Art’s nephew, Nick Gonzales. For me and my family it, was my father Benigno Salazar Jr.
In March of 2020, we noticed a few irregularities in my father, facial drooping, slurred speech, and walking issues to name a few. We suspected a transient ischemic attack, sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke. We urged him to go to the doctor and see what was going on. The doctor said it was nothing since he didn’t see any of the symptoms we had described. He diagnosed my father with an upper respiratory infection and sent him on his way. We advocated for my father and insisted the doctor send my father for an MRI or something to see what was really going on. After seeing pictures of facial drooping, the doctor ordered the MRI. The MRI revealed a plum-sized tumor in my father’s right frontal lobe. A neurosurgeon and oncologist both recommended the removal of the tumor so they could have a better understanding of what they were dealing with. After the tumor was removed and the tests were run, the diagnosis was what we feared…brain cancer. Not just any brain cancer a GBM (glioblastoma multiforme) grade 5.
The doctors told us this was the most aggressive and evasive form of brain cancer there is and the prognosis was at best 18 months to 2 years. This was not the case for our father, a secondary tumor was being hidden by the first and our 18 months turned to 6 IF the chemo and radiation worked. Again, the cancer had other thoughts. Six months ultimately turned into 49 days. We lost our father on May 7, 2020. A brother, father, veteran, and papa was taken too soon. This loss was the driving force for me to do something, anything, to drive awareness around this terrible cancer.
Please visit The Nick Gonzales Foundation for Brain Tumor Research link below to learn how you can support this wonderful organization. Spread awareness and donate if you can.
If you or someone you know is in need of someone to talk to, support whether you are a caregiver or a survivor, please contact Grey Matters North Texas Support Group.
Also check out our links in the Events page of our website for gatherings and special fundraising events at The Lounge Coffee and Tea Bar.