Brain cancer survivor, other patients to walk at Head for the Cure on Belle Isle

Henry Ford Health is changing the game when it comes to battling brain cancer - and you don't have to be a doctor to join the fight.

"It was just unreal like it didn't feel real when they said I had a mass in my brain," said Sarah Sand.

At just 24 years old, Sand got earth-shattering news. She had a cancerous tumor in her brain that needed to be removed.  

"Once in a while I get emotional about it, but for the most part it's just kind of become part of my life and I live with it," she said.

It’s that kind of attitude that’s gotten her through, and her team at Henry Ford Health who she trust to do what’s called an awake craniotomy. Essentially, brain surgery – that she has to be awake for.  

"They were all so great keeping my calm to get me through it, they were talking to me and making jokes," she said.

The surgery was a success but Sand needed follow-up radiation and chemotherapy. And for this condition, there is no cure.  

"Navigating which treatment to do when, is the easy part," said Dr. James Snyder, Henry Ford Health. "The hard part is giving someone like Sarah to maintain control of their life. "

Snyder, a neuro-oncologist, is one of the doctors on this Henry Ford Health team. He’ll reunite with Sarah and hundreds of other brain cancer patients this Sunday at Head for the Cure, a fundraising event and walk on Belle Isle.  

"What's really cool for us is to meet our patients outside the very serious enclosure of that clinical space," he said. "And meet their families and meet their kids."

"This coming Sunday on 9/11 will be three years since I had the surgery," Sand said.

Head for the Cure raises funds for clinical trials and research to continue studying brain cancer research, to benefit survivors like Sarah.  

"Just try to stay positive and hopeful that they will find more treatments, and find a cure," she said.

Jessica Dupnack will be there, to emcee Sunday’s event on Belle Isle starting at 8 a.m. and it is not too late to come. For more information on how to donate and/or register CLICK HERE.

Brain cancer survivor Sarah Sand.

Brain cancer survivor Sarah Sand.