His quest for cure becomes crusade
Phil Baumann has taken his fight against brain cancer public through CureFest, a daylong fundraiser that took place on July 28 at Humble Civic Arena.
When Phil Baumann was diagnosed with brain cancer in September, well-intentioned people kept asking him, "How can I help?"
"The help is finding a cure," Baumann recounted matter-of-factly.
So that's what his wife, Misty, and his sister, Lynn Beckwith, decided to do. The pair organized CureFest to raise both awareness and funds for research into brain cancer. The event was held July 28 at the Humble Civic Arena and included performances by several local bands, a motorcycle and car rally, silent and live auctions, and family activities.
Proceeds will be donated to the brain cancer research center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
"I've got quite a forced education" about brain cancer, said Baumann, who has been living with glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, for 10 months.
GBM has been considered "not treatable," with an average survival rate of 14 months, but Baumann is quick to point out, "I feel great; I look fine. I try to make it to work every day."
Baumann also had some encouraging news recently and is cautiously optimistic about an injection he received of a virus developed to kill cancer cells.
"In a way, I'm fortunate," Baumann said. "My last MRI, I got encouraging words. It seems to be somewhat smaller."
The next step toward a cure is stem cell research being planned by the Brain Cancer Research Team at M.D. Anderson, which needs $1 million to fund the next phase. Money raised by CureFest will benefit that research.
Baumann said he and his family wanted to hold CureFest to help others who suffer from brain cancer, some of whom he got to know in his time at M.D. Anderson.
"Cancer touches so many families. When it touched my family, I wanted to do something," Baumann said.
The family decided to organize CureFest in December. "It's escalated ever since," said Baumann.
According to Baumann, of all the cancers people are afflicted with, brain cancer draws the fewest research dollars. While 1 in 9 women will eventually get breast cancer if they live long enough, "there are (only) 10,000 new cases (of brain cancer) a year," Baumann said. Consequently, drug companies are less interested in investing money in a cure.
"There are pink ribbons everywhere," said Baumann, who is not minimizing breast cancer awareness, but wants to increase brain cancer awareness. "I want to see gray ribbons."
NAME: Phil Baumann
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: The inspiration behind CureFest, an annual event held to raise awareness and funds for brain cancer research at M.D. Anderson hospital.
FAST FACT: Baumann enjoys "playing hard" by riding bikes, playing soccer and spending time in the pool with his family.
Ann C. Fisher is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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