At Zubifi, Inc., we are focused on helping others, whether that be with our customers, their customers, or our community at large. We aim to give back in a big way to our community so you can feel confident that your subscription to our service not only is helping your business, but that you are part of a team that is making a big difference in people’s lives.
On June 13, 2011, Nicki was diagnosed with a primary malignant brain tumor (Astrocytoma, a grade 2 brain tumor). She was only 31 years old.
Her symptoms began in late spring of 2011. There was numbness and tingling in her right side and overall tiredness/exhaustion. At times she also experienced random involuntary movements in her right side which were extremely painful. This prompted a visit to her primary care physician.
Nicki’s primary care doctor was able to connect her with Dr. Peter Clarke, a local neurologist. At the time Dr. Clarke wasn’t taking new patients, but he agreed to see Nicki anyway. After her MRI showed concerning news Dr. Clarke canceled all his appointments that day and called Nicki into his office. He spent the rest of the day talking to Nicki and her family and explaining the grim findings that she had a malignant brain tumor. To understand the importance of this diagnosis you should know that right after meeting with Nicki, Dr. Clarke personally drove more than an hour to Duke University Medical Clinic to hand deliver Nicki’s MRI scans and analysis.
The next morning around 7am Nicki got a call from Duke University Medical Clinic that told her that Dr. Allan H. Friedman, a neurosurgeon with the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center, had already reviewed the MRI from the night before and wanted to see her immediately. (Dr. Friedman is the neurosurgeon that operated on Ted Kennedy and is a legend in his field.)
You see, brain tumors are pretty nasty things. Since the survival rate of the most common form is so low, urgent action is required and extremely important. Even a one or two delay in treatment could significantly reduce the likelihood for meaningful improvement on the length of survival. That is why Dr. Clarke personally drove Nicki’s MRI results to Duke and why Dr. Friedman called Nicki in immediately.
It took less than a week for all the additional scans, planning, prep, and approvals to come back for the surgery. As you can imagine, brain surgery is no small task. Then, on June 21, 2011, Nicki’s tumor was mostly removed via a craniotomy performed by Dr. Friedman. Following the surgery Nicki has had many follow-ups, additional MRIs, and repeated visits to Duke’s Cancer Center. She is currently under the care of the industry leading Dr. Annick Desjardins whose work has been featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
So where are we now? Well, Nicki still has part of her tumor remaining. (As is the case with most tumors, the entire tumor cannot be removed because it has “tentacles” that grow around healthy tissue. In many other cancers the surgeon can remove the cancer and the surrounding tissue to ensure that all the cancer cells were removed. With brain tumors this extra healthy tissue is critical to the functions of the brain. Removing too much could have catastrophic consequences.)
Today, Nicki considers herself to be one of the lucky ones. Her symptoms/seizures are mostly controlled through medication. Her quality of life has not significantly degraded, and most importantly she has been given the gift of time. Her tumor has not grown significantly since being removed, but she still goes every four months for another MRI. The oncologists have explained that it is likely the cancer will one day begin growing more rapidly and could transition to a higher grade. Statistics show astrocytomas usually turn into a higher grade tumor and eventually become a glioblastoma (grade 4). She leans on her faith and family each day for support.
While Nicki’s symptoms are currently manageable, this disease is considered terminal. At each visit to the oncologist she awaits the dreaded news that the tumor has grown, spread, or changed for the worse. There is no cure available, and even with radiation or chemotherapy the chances of ever being considered “cancer free” is not realistic with today’s treatment options. Adding to that is the emotional toll of the fight that Nicki and those with brain cancer endure every day and with each oncologist appointment wondering if this will be the time when the tumor changes.
As you probably can imagine, that leaves little room for hope...
So we ask for your help to find a cure. This journey will not be easy or quick. It will require perseverance, courage, and dedication. And it will require support of people like you both financially and with your thoughts and prayers.
Help us give back HOPE.
To achieve our goal of giving back we are donating a portion of our profits each year to the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke Cancer Institute to help further their efforts to find a cure for brain cancer. Currently, the most common form of primary malignant brain tumors, glioblastoma multiforme, has a five-year relative survival rate of only 5.6%. This disease affects people from all ages and walks of life. John McCain (Arizona Senator who ran for President) and Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Massachusetts Senator) are both examples of people who lost their battle to this dreaded disease within 18 months of diagnosis (which is the unfortunate case with most diagnoses for this disease). There are an estimated 700,000 people in the United States living with brain tumors and an estimated 86,000 more will be diagnosed in 2019.