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Phinney nurse walking for brain cancer cure

Phinney Ridge resident Christie Morrison believes so strongly in her boss’s mission to cure brain cancer that she is gathering all her bridesmaids during her bridal shower weekend at the end of May and participating in the 2nd Annual Seattle Brain Cancer Walk.

“I think it’s important just to start now, even yesterday, searching for the cure,” she says. “These patients are the most inspiring patients that I’ve ever met. I’ve been a nurse of all kinds of different modalities, from hospice to OB/GYN and now neurosurgery. And this is the most touching for me. I stand behind Dr. Greg Foltz; he is so determined to find the cure.”

Founded by Dr. Foltz, co-director of the Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment and neurosurgeon at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, the walk raises funds to support his research to find a cure for the 22,000 Americans each year who are diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Christie is Dr. Foltz’s nursing supervisor and has worked with him for five years. She and her fiancé participated in last year’s fundraising walk. This year Christie hopes to raise at least $1,000. Last year’s inaugural Seattle Brain Cancer Walk brought out 500 participants and raised more than $120,000 to support research for new treatments.

Participants will walk around the Mercer Island High School track for several hours on Saturday, May 30; 100 percent of the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk proceeds benefit Dr. Foltz’s brain cancer research.

“It’s very energetic. There are a lot of teams walking together. Last year a bunch of my co-workers walked together,” Christie says. “Just the atmosphere alone, just the energy alone is touching.”

Currently, Dr. Foltz is working on genetic mapping of tumors. Samples of nearly every brain tumor that is surgically removed at Swedish goes to Dr. Foltz’s lab for genetic mapping. “There is so much respect for this man,” she says. “Everyone knows he will be the man who will find a cure for this.”

Brain cancer is one of – if not the – deadliest forms of cancer. Survival rates are just one to two years. “Sometimes brain tumors can be asymptomatic but there is some presenting symptoms that brings the patient to their primary care physician or ER,” she says. “It could be dizziness, seizures, headaches or even cognitive issues like memory loss or speech issues.”

Christie and her friends host charity Christmas parties each year. Last year they sold $1 raffle tickets at a party – and raised $700 for brain cancer research.

“Just knowing that even the smallest donation…I know I’ve touched somebody’s life. That’s the most important part to me. I’ve become attached to a number of our patients. The walk itself is quite emotional,” Christie says.

For more information, check out the walk’s website. You can send donations to the Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122. And if you want to join Christie’s team – Grey Matters – you can call her at work at 206-320-2800 or email her.

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