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Keeping the Faith




On August 23, 2009, Wally Armstrong was enjoying a relaxing day at the lake with his wife and friends. As a result of unusual behavior, Wally ended up in the hospital to have a CT scan. The results revealed a lump on his brain. This lump turned out to be cancer, which was the start of a new journey for Wally, his family and his friends.

Wally underwent surgery to remove the lump. The pathology report came back and showed that the cancer extracted was a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer that starts in the brain and does not spread outside of the brain. Following the surgery, Wally went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments and an additional therapy called Avastin. Through the process, Wally physically felt the highs and lows of treatment, but remained positive and inspirational all throughout. With the turn of the new year, Wally had follow-up MRIs, which came back clear — encouragement for Wally and all of his supporters. Then, in June 2010, he learned that three to four new tumors had re-formed in the same area and in new areas of his brain. Wally is currently undergoing a treatment called TVAX immunotherapy — it’s a Phase I investigational treatment for individuals with Grade III and IV types of brain cancer. Participation in the therapy will last approximately two years.

The doctors continue to compliment Wally’s good health, in light of the cancer, and encourage him to enjoy doing the things he loves most. Wally, 61, and his wife, Paula, live in St. Joseph, Mo., and are the parents to Wally Jr., 39, and Shea, 29. Wally is officially retired from the United States Air Force – Missouri Air National Guard, 2008. His hobbies include classic car restoration, traveling, antiquing and golf.

Wally and his entire family are appreciative of the genuine, intelligent and patient doctors and staff at St. Luke’s for helping him through this journey. Life changed quickly for the Armstrong family after August 23, 2009, but they’re all in it together.

Wally lost his battle with brain cancer December 7, 2010