My brother, Cooper Peterson, was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1 on February 26th, 2015, just a couple days shy of 11 months old. Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a condition characterized by changes in skin coloring (pigmentation) and the growth of tumors along nerves in the skin, brain, and other parts of the body. At that time he was also diagnosed with a brain tumor, more specifically a bilateral Optic Glioma – a tumor that grows on the optic nerves. Due to the aggressiveness of this tumor, Cooper was immediately started on chemotherapy. Within about six weeks of starting chemotherapy, Cooper lost his vision to the tumor. He is completely blind. After nine months of chemotherapy, Cooper’s tumor had grown substantially and was causing fluid to build up in his brain (hydrocephalus). . A biopsy of his tumor at that time showed it to be a Diffuse Fibrillary Astrocytoma. Neither surgery nor radiation are an option for treatment of this tumor. Currently Cooper is seven years old and is entering into the first grade this August. He is on a chemotherapy regimen and has three out of four ventricles in his brain shunted. Cancer and Neurofibromatosis has greatly affected his life and ours, but Cooper is not letting blindness or cancer get into his way. He greets the day with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
Brave the Shave has been there every step of the way supporting and encouraging us. Whether it has been helping out with travel costs and hotels while were in Minneapolis for appointments or just a phone call to find out how were doing. The research side of this organization, the Andrew B McDonough B+ Foundation has been funding cutting edge research specifically for pediatric cancer.