Tara MitchellPress release from National Brain Tumor Society

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, nearly 700,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain tumor — and an estimated 69,000 will receive this devastating diagnosis this year, with more than 4,000 being children.

One of those young people was Old Bridge resident Tara Mitchell (pictured). In the early part of her senior year in high school, she began to suffer unbearable headaches and double vision.  A shocking diagnosis revealed a brain tumor, which required several surgeries and yet stubbornly returned.

Explaining that she has “become accepting of the cards I’ve been dealt,” Tara decided that “my fire is lit” — and that fire led her to become involved with the NBTS, where she functioned as the acting Volunteer Chairperson for its New York City Walk. That experience tasked her to help spearhead a walk in her home state — and on the morning of Saturday April 2, the Asbury Park boardwalk will be the setting for New Jersey’s first-ever Brain Tumor Walk. Starting at the Sunset Avenue Pavilion just north of Convention Hall, the event is one for which the organizer hopes to draw the participation of others similarly afflicted by brain tumors — as well as a support network of family members, friends and neighbors like Red Bank’s Karen Zerbo, contact person for the Walk and a close personal friend of the Mitchell family.

Volunteers are being sought to help make the first Central Jersey Brain Tumor Society Walk a success, as well as additional sponsors to join the primary sponsors, Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and News 12 New Jersey. Go here for specific information.

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, brain tumors do not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of race, age, or gender. Brain tumors are often deadly, impact the quality of life, and change everything for patients and their loved ones. With only four (4) FDA-approved therapies today, treatment options for patients are limited and no cure exists.

The National Brain Tumor Society is the only brain tumor organization to fully integrate research and public policy initiatives; partner with leading experts in academia, industry, and government to understand current challenges; and identify opportunities for scientific advancement and collaboration. Additionally, as part of its work to find a cure, the National Brain Tumor Society mobilizes volunteer advocates across the country to raise awareness and support for public policies which aim to strengthen research and provide access to essential health care for all those affected by brain tumors.

Individuals looking to support the brain tumor cause and help increase awareness beyond this event can take action by becoming an advocate, making a gift, hosting a community event, or sharing their personal experiences. Go here for more information, and  for details and updates on the April 2 event.