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Members of the awareness team (from left), Kristin Davis, Chris Grundner and Joe Harris, proudly display their Brain Tumor Awareness Movement T-shirts. Photograph by Sandra KimballCreating a Movement

Foundation takes brain tumor awareness movement national.

 

The Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation’s 4th annual Get Your Head in the Game Walk in April was also the public announcement of the national launch of the Get Your Head in the Game Brain Tumor Awareness Movement. The announcement came a year after the Delaware-based foundation merged with the National Brain Tumor Society.

 

Chris Grundner, the foundation’s founder and husband of the late Kelly Heinz-Grundner (who died of a brain tumor at the age of 31), says Get Your Head in the Game is not just an awareness campaign, but rather an awareness movement aimed at helping people to learn the facts about brain tumors and encouraging them to take action in the fight against the disease.

“For the movement to be successful, we need members of the brain tumor community to become message bearers for us in a grassroots way,” Grundner says.

Grundner says an estimated 210,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with either a primary or metastatic brain tumor each year. Grundner says the foundation struck a responsive cord in Delaware from the beginning.

“There had never been a walk organized in Delaware for brain tumors,” Grundner explains of the inaugural 2008 event. “We figured it would be successful if we drew 500 participants and raised $50,000.” Instead the walk drew 2,000 participants and raised $200,000.

“Yes, it happened faster than I expected,” admits Grundner, “but I also knew from Kelly’s experience that people with this disease want to fight back.”

While the National Brain Tumor Society has done a good job with advocacy (in addition to leading the way with research and patient support), it never had a formal awareness program prior to merging with The Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation, Grundner says.

“There are so many people who have been affected by brain tumors who want to get involved, but have never felt they had a real opportunity to do so,” Grundner says. “The fact that the movement is now going national means that people across the country will have the opportunity to take action in the fight against brain tumors.”

For more information, visit GetYourHeadInTheGame.org.

 

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