More than 23,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with brain cancer and other nervous system cancers each year, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Here at the HEADstrong Foundation, we have had the privilege to help families who have been affected by brain cancer. One of these families is the Geary’s.

Gemma’s Story

In late February, Gemma Geary was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. In March, her doctors performed a craniotomy, in which they accessed Gemma’s brain via the skull to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Her medical team had hoped to remove half of it, but, as it turns out, were able to eliminate 75 percent of the tumor from Gemma’s brain. Rehab followed surgery, which was then followed by six weeks of treatment. Meanwhile, the Geary’s had to find a place to stay while in Philadelphia for treatment and recovery. They were searching for an environment that felt more like home during their extended stay in an unfamiliar city. They decided to stay at Nick’s House.

“We couldn’t have been happier here,” Butch said after he and Gemma had moved out at the end of May. “It was like going home from the hospital every day. Until you go down this road, you have no idea what it’s like. Nick’s House made things so much more bearable. The best part for me was coming downstairs to get coffee and breakfast and speaking with the other patients and caregivers about their days and treatments. Just talking about everything … the stories over the weeks kept coming, and every time we talked, we found more commonality in what we were going through.”

Nick’s House

Nick’s House provides a place to stay for families like the Geary’s. Every month, more and more families are forced to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to pursue the most sought-after cancer treatments. Nick’s House isn’t a medical facility, but it’s a guest house to meet the unique needs of patients and their families. We are committed to keeping families together as they fight. When our founder, Nick Colleluori, was battling cancer, his family experienced the many financial and emotional stressors that cancer can bring to patients and their families. Nick created the HEADstrong Foundation from his hospital bed to help families that have been affected by cancer.

Not only does our foundation support these families have been affected by cancer, we provide a safe and comfortable place for them to stay if they have traveled from out of town. As home to the top-ranked neuroscience and cancer care facilities for brain tumors, many families come to Philadelphia seeking treatment. When you donate to the HEADstrong Foundation you become a part of our family. We are extremely grateful to the many donors who have and continue to support Nick’s vision.

Since our inception in 2007, HEADstrong has had the honor of helping 15,952 patients. With May underway, we want to empower Heroes like Gemma battling brain cancer. By volunteering your time, starting a fundraiser or making a donation, you help strengthen our Heroes and the HEADstrong cause. Visit our website today to learn all of the ways you can join the fight!

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