Call to boost brain cancer re­search


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Tim Slater

TARRYN Craw­ford is de­ter­mined to raise aware­ness of brain cancer so more fund­ing can be­come avail­able to fight the dis­ease that claimed the life of her hus­band, Ja­son, in May.

Mr Craw­ford fought a three­and-a-half year bat­tle against glioblas­toma mul­ti­forme cancer. He was di­ag­nosed on De­cem­ber 4, 2012 af­ter hav­ing a seizure at work.

“Our lives were turned up­side down in in­stant,” Ms Craw­ford said. “I’ll never for­get that phone call. He had never had a seizure and was fine the night be­fore.

“The last three-and-a-half with Ja­son with brain cancer have been a con­stant bat­tle be­tween want­ing to make sure that you are try­ing to beat it but know­ing deep down that there is no cure.

“That was very hard for me as a per­son who likes to know there is an is­sue and this is what I need to do to solve it. The last thing that I can do for him is his legacy to raise aware­ness.

“As an or­phan dis­ease it’s ex­tremely rare but it has hit our fam­ily twice – now his fa­ther is suf­fer­ing from the con­di­tion.”

Or­phan dis­eases are de­fined as those that af­fect fewer than 200,000 peo­ple na­tion­ally.

Glioblas­toma mul­ti­forme is ex­tremely ag­gres­sive and lethal.

Ms Craw­ford said af­ter his ini­tial di­ag­no­sis and surgery in late De­cem­ber 2012, he was given a prog­no­sis of be­tween nine and 12 months to live.

Their daugh­ter, Makaydee, was just 10 months old when Mr Craw­ford was di­ag­nosed.

“He was never a quit­ter and al­ways thought that he was go­ing to beat the dis­ease,” she said. “Right up to two days be­fore he passed he had plans for the fu­ture.”

Three years later to the day – De­cem­ber 4, 2015 – his fa­ther Al­lan was di­ag­nosed with the same dis­ease.

Ms Craw­ford said re­search was try­ing to pin­point the causes of the dis­ease, but more fund­ing was needed. “It’s ex­tremely rare for his dad to also have the con­di­tion and sup­pos­edly not have a ge­netic com­po­nent, not that they’ve found.”

Ms Craw­ford said Ja­son had scans through the pub­lic hospi­tal sys­tem af­ter his ini­tial di­ag­no­sis.

“They thought it was a low­grade tu­mour so they gave him some seizure med­i­ca­tion and dis­charged him. They said ‘you’ll be fine, we’ll do surgery some­time in the fu­ture’.

“I wasn’t very happy about that so we got a pri­vate neu­ro­sur­geon and the tu­mour was re­moved on De­cem­ber 28.

“The pathol­ogy re­port came back on Jan­uary 9 as grade four cancer with a sug­gested sur­vival rate of nine and 12 months so he did ex­tremely well to get three­and-a-half years.”

Ms Craw­ford said the fam­ily was lucky their pri­vate health in­sur­ance cov­ered part of the $30,000 bill for in­fu­sion in­jec­tion.

“With­out that he would not have had ac­cess to some of the treat­ments,” she said.

“We knew it wasn’t go­ing to save him but in terms of qual­ity time with Makaydee, who was only 10 months old when he was di­ag­nosed and was four when he died, at least she’s got three years of really good me­mories.”

To con­trib­ute, visit www. cure­brain­\tribute\ ja­son-craw­ford.

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