May is recognized nationally as Brain Tumor Awareness Month (BTAM) each year. It is a time to raise awareness of the devastating impact of a brain tumor diagnosis, on the individual, family, and larger community.

Brain cancer accounts for about 15% of pediatric cancers. Brain and CNS tumors are the second most common type of cancer in kids. Treating pediatric brain cancer is very complex. The brain controls vital functions, so symptoms can vary widely. Additionally, surgery to remove the tumor is not always possible. There are several areas of the brain that cannot be operated on because of the chance of critical damage, especially in a child’s developing brain. Other areas of the brain are inaccessible. Treating brain tumors is also complicated because of the blood-brain barrier — it protects the brain from toxins or pathogens circulating in the blood, but that means it also prevents chemotherapy and other drugs from getting to the tumor.

It’s understandable to feel powerless against a disease like brain cancer, but you can make a positive impact! Here are ways you can help kids with cancer this Brain Tumor Awareness Month!

Support Greg’s Brain Tumor Awareness Fundraiser in honor of Eli

Eli was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was not quite 3 years old. Today, Eli is in kindergarten and will be turning 6 next month. He has endured harsh cancer treatment for more than half his life and is currently on an experimental therapy.

Eli’s older brother Greg is in 5th grade and has seen first-hand the challenges Eli faces. For Brain Tumor Awarness Month, Greg decided that he wanted to raise money for kids’ cancer research in Eli’s honor. Greg presented to his entire school about the importance of raising awareness of brain tumors. He then worked with fellow students and teachers at Independence Elementary to create two spirit days to raise money. Kids paid 50¢ to wear silver and gold one day and another 50¢ to wear their pajamas to school.

Greg’s presentation was also shown to students at Smoky Hill High School, who were so inspired that they created a fundraiser during their Spirit Week leading up to prom. Students are donating money when they purchase prom tickets and Kona Ice will also donate $1 from every shaved ice sold after school one day.

You can contribute to Greg’s efforts to fund research in honor of his brother Eli by clicking here.

Shop to support Childhood Brain Cancer!

Mary is 5 years old. She was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) in October 2020. DIPG is an incurable cancer that only affects kids. Mary is participating in a groundbreaking CAR-T clinical trial at Stanford’s Children’s Health.

Mary’s mom and friends of her family are dedicating a portion of sales from their local businesses to support desperately needed brain cancer research.

On Sunday, May 23rd, Mother Tucker Brewery in Louisville, Colorado will host a shopping event from 2-6pm. Click here for more details.

You can also shop all month long online:

Brain Cancer Awareness Collection – Sputzy’s Stitches and Stuff

Danjela is 16 and a high school sophomore. She was 11 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She has endured difficult treatment for the last 5 years, but the cancer keeps returning. Danjela is in the midst of receiving treatment for her 6th relapse. Her cancer has a very unique mutation that is not well understood, so research is the only way to find a treatment that will get rid of her tumor for good.

Danjela’s mom Jennifer explains, “We are so blessed to have an amazing team of pediatric oncologists right here in Denver that not only treat our children, but are constantly studying and researching new therapies and treatment options. Even in the five years since Danjela’s diagnosis, so much has changed. But for Dani, we still wait and we still hope.”

Jennifer has a very popular Etsy store called Sputzy’s Stitches and Stuff featuring all handmade items. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of any cancer awareness items during the month of May will be donated to research! Go Gray in May with a face mask, cup cozy, keychain, or scrunchie!