Making a Difference: Family starts Brain Tumor 5k in family member’s memory, raises $235k for National Brain Tumor Society

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 5:52 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Doug Pink of Lancaster appeared to be a healthy 57-year-old when his life, and his wife LuAnne’s, changed in an instant in 2013.

LuAnne Pink said, “He was driving his car and had a seizure. And that led us to St. Mary’s...and the diagnosis. "

Doug had a highly aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).

LuAnne will never forget hearing the diagnosis. “Yeah, you don’t expect it. Someone so healthy to be diagnosed with something like this.”

He died only five months later. LuAnne said, “To watch your husband finally give in to this horrible disease was devastating. We lived such healthy lives we thought we were doing everything right and then to be hit with glioblastoma brain cancer. Devastating! Doug loved to exercise, he was a pilot, we owned our own plane that he loved to fly. Everything we went through those 5 months are still fresh in my mind. I don’t think I will ever forget the sadness.”

LuAnne’s daughter-in-law, Erin Pink, said, “I remember when we got the phone call about Doug’s diagnosis. Something that the family talked about is we felt very alone. We didn’t know anybody who’d gone through this.”

At the time, there was no brain cancer fundraising event in Wisconsin. So, in 2014, the Pink family started the Madison Brain Tumor 5K in Doug’s memory. It’s raised nearly $235,000 for the National Brain Tumor Society over the past 7 years....and not only brings families facing a brain tumor diagnosis together, it brings them hope.

LuAnne said, “I think he (Doug) would be amazed. I think he would really be amazed. We’ve joined a community of all the families who have lost a loved one. It’s amazing the support and friends that we have made in the last seven years.”

Erin added, "For her to have to tell the story about what happened over and over, I think she's been able to be of support to so many of these families, who are just starting to go through the process. So, we've enjoyed being able to create that support for other people. You should know that you're definitely not alone. We've met so many families, and there is a lot of support out there. We hope that families going through this can all reach out and be a part of the event and support each other."

Looking back on all of the 5K fundraisers since her husband died, LuAnne said, “You know, it’s just amazing. It’s awesome to see 700, 800, 900 people all gathered together for the same cause. It’s to find a cure. It’s to offer support. To give hugs to people that have been through the same experience. Out of something tragic, we’ve made something good.”

Like so many events, the Madison Brain Tumor 5K is being held virtually this year. You can contribute or find out more about the organization at this link.

Wednesday, July 22 is Glioblastoma Awareness Day. To find out more about it and the National Brain Tumor Society, click on this link.

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