“It’s just glioblastoma diagnosis, chemo, radiation, and that’s the standard of care, and it hasn’t changed,” said daughter Ilyse Schwartz. Tammy Schwartz and her daughters, who cared for Michael Schwartz while he was dying, expressed frustration that such a deadly disease is treated basically the same as it has been for decades. The Schwartzes knew they had to do something. They raised $100,000 and donated it to the national Glioblastoma Foundation, which is headquartered in Durham.
Her husband, Michael, was an active 61-year-old when he was found to have a tumor on his brain stem in September 2020. He passed away on Nov. 15. “This happened to him out of left field. It was horrible,” said Tammy Schwartz.
“It was the fastest decline,” she said. Often, decline and death come quickly.
She says one of the biggest challenges isn’t just funding research, but connecting patients with that research. They often don’t learn about clinical trials until it’s too late. The Glioblastoma Foundation is trying to do a better job of making those connections. More On This “We do know a lot about this cancer,” Kwatra said. “We just haven’t been able to apply it in a way that helps patients live longer and gets us to a cure.”
Gita Kwatra, CEO of the Glioblastoma Foundation, said the mission there is to transform the standard of care. Brooke Schwartz said, “We basically said that we want to figure out a way to fund any sort of research that will go towards glioblastoma, specifically brain stem glioblastoma, because it’s so rare.”
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