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Runners Go Gray in May to raise awareness of brain tumors

Team Donald was one of many groups that took part in last weekend's Go Gray in May 5K to support brain tumor research and treatment. The team is comprised of Alexandria Police Chief Donald Sullivan and his family who participate in the race each spring. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 02, 2018
BRISTOL — Approximately 160 runners and walkers took place in the 2018 Go Gray in May 5K run/walk at Kelley Park last Saturday morning, bringing awareness to brain tumors and showing support for those undergoing treatment for a variety of such illnesses.

Among the participants once again was Alexandria Police Chief Donald Sullivan and his family, who are all part of Team Donald, showing love and support for him. Joining him for the event were his wife Heather, four of their five children, his father, siblings, nieces and nephews and other family members and friends.

In March of 2012, Sullivan was diagnosed with Oglioastrocytoma, a tumor that grows primarily between the brain and skull, affecting secondary motor control functions in the body. While there is currently no cure at this time, the tumor is treatable and does not spread to other parts of the body.

Since that time, he has taken part in each Go Gray in May event except for one, which occurred just a few days after he had undergone a second surgery to remove the reoccurring tumor.

"This race is all about supporting those with brain tumors. There are a lot of people here today who have been affected by brain tumors, those who have them and their family and friends," said Sullivan.

The race was sponsored by Medical Reimbursement Specialists of Bristol and money raised that day will benefit the National Brain Tumor Society, which is committed to finding better treatments, and ultimately a cure for brain tumors.

Among the statistics they have gathered are that nearly 700,000 people in the United States alone are living with a brain tumor while nearly 16,000 deaths occur as a result of them each year. For children, brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, surpassing even leukemia.

Over the years, NBTS has provided funding to a number of research programs and presented bills to Congress that could help improve the lives of those with brain tumors. They currently have five programs underway to fund new research projects and are assisting in the battle against pediatric brain tumors. NBTS is also advocating for even more advanced research, expedited approval for treatment when a tumor is diagnosed, and better access to health care services.

To learn more about the National Brain Tumor Society or find ways to support their mission, visit them at their Web site, www.braintumor.org, find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/braintumors or follow them on Twitter, @NBTStweets.

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