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Keeping the Faith

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Submitted by:
Kim and Al Waldorf

In 2011, our son Mitchell suffered from severe headaches at the age of 16. An MRI revealed a golf ball sized tumor growing from his left ventricle. Resection was inevitable and recovery was difficult. It was a Meningioma; benign, but very aggressive and very rare for Mitchell’s age. There were few case studies of reference. Mitchell would have to remain on seizure medication accompanied by an MRI every 3 months. The trips to the surgeon and medical facilities became dauntingly familiar. At 6 months, the growth returned. In Oct of 2012, Mitchell had his 2nd brain surgery in 10 months. Again, Mitchell suffered through a difficult recovery only to find he lost his peripheral vision. Soon after, Mitchell started having troubles; sight blacking out; speech not right. Something was wrong. Mitchell’s brain had a negative reaction to a surgical gel used in the last surgery. Immediate attention was critical. In Nov of 2012, Mitch had a 3rd brain surgery in a year’s time. Holding his head high he took the news like a champ; leaving a message on Facebook. “I have no fear, I will stand tall, and I will push on”. The follow-up MRI showed a small spot. Surgeons were unsure if it was residual tumor or scar tissue so it was monitored. After 3 years, in Nov of 2015, the growth returned. In Dec of 2015, Mitchell underwent a 4th brain surgery. Last Nov 2016, at his 1 year follow-up, Mitchell was declared tumor free; only a heart-shaped hole where the tumor was. His faith, courage, and strength have been unbelievable. He has taken on the challenge face to face, always with a smile and positive attitude. He wears his scars with pride. Mitchell has been a leader to other youth; speaking to them and encouraging them that no matter their circumstances, they can get through it. Mitchell tells us this is HIS story. It is his cross to bear. It has made him who he is and he wouldn’t change anything. He is truly an inspiration to everyone around him. He is our HERO and our SURVIVOR.