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Brandon Knight is someone whose determination and drive is unlike any other. And that determination has kept him motivated and positive, even as he has battled brain cancer. He is married to Rachel and is the father to two children, Asher (6-year-old boy) and Banner (8-month-old girl).
In 2010, Brandon, who works at Dr Pepper/Snapple Group in Plano, at first shrugged off the headrushes, the mood changes, the difficulty sleeping and the sharp pains behind his left ear he had been experiencing. But he started to pay attention when people began asking about a limp in his right leg.
An MRI revealed a tumor the size of a small grapefruit on the left side of his brain that was diagnosed as a grade III anaplastic oligoastrocytoma (contains both abnormal oligodendroglioma and astrocytoma cells, is malignant and often recur as higher grade tumors). Surgery left Brandon with a paralyzed right side, but his determination took him from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane and then to walking and even jogging, a feat he accomplished at the inaugural Head for the Cure 5K race/walk held in Frisco in 2011.
More than six years after his brain cancer diagnosis, Brandon Knight is at work and ready to participate in another Head for the Cure event. The 2016 race will be held Saturday, May 7 at Oak Point Park in Plano. Online registration is available.
Since the first North Texas Race in 2011, the local Head for the Cure 5K has raised nearly $850,000 for brain tumor research in the U.S. This year’s goal is $200,000 for North Texas. Funds raised go to support the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative through the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and to UT Southwestern Medical Center.
About 612,000 people in the U.S are living with the diagnosis of a primary brain (malignant or non-malignant) or central nervous system tumor. The American Brain Tumor Association estimates about 64,530 men, women and children are newly diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumor.
“Most people know a family member, friend, work associate or acquaintance who has battled a brain tumor,” said Shari Nederhoff, chairwoman of the HFTC North Texas event. “This race gives each of us an opportunity to help find a cure for this awful disease.” Nederhoff said that many people race on teams specifically supporting someone who has struggled with a brain tumor. “We could see more than a hundred teams this year,” she said.
The North Texas Head For the Cure race was initiated by friends of Stevie Patrick, a Frisco resident and Texas Boot Camp instructor, who was diagnosed with grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma, a cancerous brain tumor, on May 15, 2010. Stevie’s friends and family wanted to not only support her, but ultimately help find a cure to brain cancer. Together, they approached Head for the Cure, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and money to support brain cancer research and created the inaugural North Texas Head for the Cure charity 5K. Stevie was treated at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and continued to battle her illness until she lost the battle in September 2013.
This year, medals and prizes will be awarded to the top overall male and female finisher, the top overall Masters (40+) male and female finisher and to the top three male and female finishers in all age groups.
Individuals, teams or donors can sign up to participate at headforthecure.org.
Highlights from last year’s North Texas race:
HEAD FOR THE CURE 5K
When: Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m.
Where: Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, Texas 75074
Cost: Register online here.
- General registration: $25 until March 29
- Last chance registration: $03 until May 4
- Day of registration: $40
- Kid run: $15 until race day
Head for the Cure
Head for the Cure is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and money to support brain cancer research through the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC). Led by the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the BTTC is a network of NCI-accredited medical centers with the expertise and the desire to participate in state-of-the-art clinical trials investigating new treatments for malignant brain tumors. Headquartered in Kansas City, Head for the Cure’s inception started with a 5K run/walk in memory of Chris Anthony, a former Allen resident, who lost his battle with a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor in 2003. Since its inception, Head for the Cure has raised more than $5 million for brain cancer research. The 5K events are not only successful fundraisers, but unique tributes to those who are fighting brain cancer and those who have lost their battles. Their memories carry on through the teams that formed around them, and the teams return year and year to celebrate their legacies.