Why I Walk | Aubrey

Aubrey was diagnosed with a Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma of the brain stem in 2005 at the age of three. She had brain surgery at Mayo Clinic, where they were able to remove about 50% of her tumor. From 2006 through 2014, she was on and off four different chemo therapies to slow the growth of her tumor. She had four more brain surgeries in 2015 and 2016, and her brain tumor has now been stable and dormant for about three and a half years. 

As a result of her surgeries, Aubrey is deaf in her left ear, has a paralyzed vocal cord, and some chronic nerve pain in her neck and shoulder from her incisions. She has had over 105 brain and spine MRI’s, many other related surgeries, and hundreds and hundreds of hours of physical therapy. That said, Aubrey attends Madison Technical College and will be a sophomore in the vet tech program there. She has her own apartment, nannies for a few families, drives her car, enjoys a very active social life, and is an all-around “normal” young lady. 

Unfortunately, this summer, Aubrey was diagnosed with three new cancers. She had surgery this month to remove an extremely rare sarcoma from her abdomen and pelvis, which included a complete hysterectomy and loss of her right kidney. Fortunately, the radical surgery was successful in removing all visible tumor, and she will now likely start immuno therapy to keep the sarcoma at bay.

Aubrey plans on being recovered enough to start back to her vet tech program on August 31. She will have to monitor both her brain tumor and these new cancers for the rest of her life, and is very thankful to have the amazing team that she does at Mayo. Aubrey regularly speaks at brain tumor research fund raisers, and participates in patient advocacy activities both in Rochester and the Twin Cities.