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Keeping the Faith

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Linda Hofstad never made it to her MRI appointment in August 2010 to see why she was having such bad headaches.

Instead, she collapsed at her home in Alaska the night before and was taken by ambulance to an Anchorage hospital. Within hours doctors had operated on her and found she had brain cancer. Her Mom and Dad quickly flew to her side from Kansas to be with Linda, her husband and three children. Her initial diagnosis was Glioblastoma Grade IV cancer.

From the beginning Linda decided to battle her cancer HEAD ON. When her doctor gave her little hope, Linda thought, “he doesn’t believe in me,” and promptly found a doctor who did.

As Linda recuperated from major surgery in Alaska, her extended family and friends back home in Kansas more than 3,700 miles away decided to show their support for her by organizing a 2010 Head for the Cure team.

Linda’s Light Team Walk spread over three continents and two months, starting in Afghanistan, then to Germany, crossing the ocean to Georgia, then Texas, on to the Kansas City Head for the Cure event, and Washington state, then with a twilight walk in Anchorage by her mom and dad. Two months later the Linda’s Light team ended the Team’s walk at the Head for the Cure Walk in Lawrence, Kansas. All the while Linda was telling the team, she would be there to walk with them in 2011.

After the lab analysis of her cancer, Linda’s diagnosis was changed to a Grade III: Anaplastic oligodendroglioma tumor.

Linda went through several more procedures to take care of cerebrospinal fluid leaks related to her surgery then began radiation and chemo. After about five months of treatment, her MRI revealed another peanut-sized tumor. Once again, Linda took it upon herself to meet this cancer HEAD ON.

When her surgeon suggested surgery and her oncologist suggested a more aggressive chemo would work just as well, Linda decided she wanted that tumor GONE NOW and opted for another surgery in May 2011. She was out of the hospital the next day and helping in her husband’s dental practice in Anchorage the following week. She then started on yet another round of chemo one week on and one week off for the next three months.

Her strength and perseverance were rewarded with an MRI in July 2011 showing NO tumor.

She continues her chemo for another six months to keep the cancer at bay. Her first step toward meeting her aspirations to walk with the Linda’s Light Team came about when her oncologist gave her the okay to travel to Lawrence in October 2011 for the Head for the Cure event.

Along with caring for and spending time with her three teenage children and husband, Linda is still looking forward to the day when she can participate in the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day in Alaska, take another trip to Europe, and several years from now she envisions retiring somewhere on a sunny, warm beach.

Linda’s strength, determination and positive attitude in tackling this disease HEAD ON has been an inspiration to all of us! The Linda’s Light Team wants her to know we will never let her walk alone in this battle.