Dear Friends and Family:
On October 1, 2003, our son and brother Gary passed away at the age of 24 after courageously fighting glioblastoma. His passing was less than seven months after we learned of his diagnosis.
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and most common type of brain cancer, attacking approximately 40,000 people each year. It is the leading cause of cancer-related death among children and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among males aged 20–39. Just 8.2% of all patients diagnosed with glioblastoma survive more than two years after the initial diagnosis. Despite these horrific statistics, progress is being made towards a cure, but more work needs to be done to eradicate this illness and the devastation it leaves behind.
Our family decided to do our part by creating Voices Against Brain Cancer to advance the progress towards a cure and support the medical research and clinical trials critical to the eradication of this disease.
Adam Lichtenstein, left, and Gary Lichtenstein, right
Over the past 30 years, very little progress has been made to treat brain tumors. Only with cutting-edge scientific research and funding of clinical trials will we be able to effectively fight against this disease. VABC aims to promote this type of research within the medical community by working with those doctors that are committed to curing and treating brain tumors.
Additionally, the Foundation will help fund the various wellness programs that assist patients and families struggling with brain tumors. These organizations provide everything from group therapy sessions to home-cooked meals. The support they provided to Gary and our family during our difficult time was immeasurable.
Gary wasn’t afraid of anything. He truly believed he could beat his brain tumor, and he made us, and so many of his family members and friends, believe that too. Courage and faith are contagious, and during that brief time when Gary was living with cancer, he helped redefine those words for all of us that were so close to him. Instead of hiding in a corner and cowering from it, Gary embraced life with a vigor that made all of us smile and believe. Instead of hopelessness, he made each day feel like a gift from God. There was no time to fear, no time to be sad – there was too much to do.
The Lichtenstein Family. Gary is second from left.
It is with this spirit that we will push for research and novel treatments for brain tumors. Gary was a compassionate and good-natured son, brother and friend, with a bright future ahead of him. Although we could not save Gary from cancer, perhaps his Foundation can save the lives of some of the thousands that will be diagnosed this year as well as save their families the extreme pain and sadness that we have endured since first learning of Gary’s diagnosis. It is our hope that the work of this Foundation can continue the legacy of courage, persistence, and determination begun by its namesake.
Please click here to read stories about Gary Lichtenstein.
The Lichtenstein Family
Voices Against Brain Cancer
Pictured above, from left: Mario, Dora, Dana, Adam, Deborah and Eric Lichtenstein