GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Valley residents appeared for a cool, wet morning exercise last Saturday to support brain cancer battling efforts by walking or running a 5K course outside the Holzer Sycamore Clinic on the Gallia County Hike and Bike Trail.
According to husband and wife duo Gabe and Tina Stewart, the funds raised by the course were donated to the “Angels Among Us” program with the Duke University’s Brain Tumor Center in North Carolina. The run was done in honor of Gabe as he received his treatments from the same facility.
“They have a state-of-the-art research facility,” Gabe said.
“Angels Among Us is a big 5k they do down at Duke University and all of that money supports brain tumor research,” Tina said. “They’ve been on the national news lately in support of a treatment against polio. It’s very promising, so this money supports that and other clinical trials.”
Gabe said this was their fourth annual 5k and they typically have the event in September. Collectively over the years, the event has raised roughly $60,000 in support of research efforts.
“We have a lot of help putting the event on. OVB (Ohio Valley Bank), GKN (GKN Sinter Metals) and Holzer (Health Systems) are big supporters and all of our volunteers,” Tina said.”We have a committee that meets throughout the year and helps do mailings and callings to gather support.”
Gabe is a five-year brain tumor survivor.
“In 2010, he was told he had a GBM grade 4. That’s the worst kind and highest grade of brain tumor. He was told he had a 20 percent chance of living two years and he’s at five years with a good clean MRI,” Tina said.
Gabe said it was “our turn to give back.”
“Every prayer list we see says cancer, cancer and cancer, so that’s why we do this. We want to do our part of trying to give back because there are people who have done so much for us,” Tina said. “There would be times we’d be in North Carolina for months. Our house was taken care of and our kids were driven back and forth.”
Gabe added right after his wife’s comment about how he was grateful for the small things like his “lawn being mowed” by volunteers and supporters.
Gabe said the event started when a group of individuals who were trying to start a community-wide organization focused upon health and wellness. The event became the first event that the Community Council for a Better Lifestyle hosted. According to the Stewarts, the council dissolved somewhat but the 5K event was still able to exist with support from the event’s committee.
“I think it would be nice to mention that treatments that are being discovered through (similar efforts) are being transferred to other cancers as well,” Tina said.
“Immunotherapy is where this is going,” Gabe said.
“It’s like activating your own immune system to fight the tumor,” Tina said.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.