Beth was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor known as craniopharyngioma when she was a college sophomore. After six weeks of daily proton therapy, which lasted from one to two hours each, Beth’s tumor is now smaller.
When Beth realized she was sick, doctors either didn’t believe her or couldn’t determine what was wrong. For several years, she kept a thick notebook of thoughts, online research and test results in an effort to solve the mystery of her symptoms. With her parents’ support, she pushed a California specialist for an MRI. The brain scan showed what Beth had always suspected, a brain tumor.
Beth immediately started researching the best place for her treatment. Her search led her to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which offered her a treatment plan that included proton beam therapy in Florida, which would shrink or kill Beth’s inoperable brain tumor while preserving her quality of life.
Beth colorfully compares her first proton therapy treatment session to watching a scene from a science fiction movie unfold around her. Although the pristine white walls and state-of-the-art equipment conjure up images from the future, the technology will soon be a reality on the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital campus. The hospital is currently building the world’s only proton center dedicated solely to the treatment of children.
“It’s exciting to hear that St. Jude is building its own proton therapy center,” says Beth. “St. Jude has given Beth hope, and that was more than any other therapy could offer,” says her mom.