Brian Hagg grew up in Crystal Lake, IL and graduated high school in 1997. He went to Colorado State University where I met him and became friends in 1999. We were then roommates for 2 of my 4 years at CSU.
Brian has spent his professional life helping others. He first worked for a non-profit called Foothills Gateway, working with people with cognitive disabilities.
He then spent winters in Breckenridge CO at a non-profit called Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and took people, mostly kids, with disabilities skiing. For example, taking a blind person or someone that is wheelchair bound skiing for the day. He would guide them down the hill.
Brian even helped a child win gold medal in the Special Olympics for downhill slalom skiing on a seated mono-ski at Copper Mountain, defeating the 4-time champ.
During the summers he was a counselor for boys ages 10-18 at Camp Kooch I Ching, on Dear Island, just outside of International Falls, MN. Here he was not only a camp counselor, but also helped to lead backpacking and canoeing excursions into the wilderness.
His current position is at Crossroads Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in Ogden, UT.
As you can see, Brian has spent much of his adult life helping others and now he needs ours.
Brian has been taking classes at the local university, Weber State in Ogden UT, to further his career in behavioral health. One day in February 2013, Brian got up to leave class, and felt very dizzy and experienced numb and tingling sensations in his right foot and hand. He sat back to down to recover. When he got home and told Laura, his fiancé and the mother of his 1 and 3 year old girls, what had happened. Laura thought they should go to urgent care. This was on a Wednesday afternoon.
They went to urgent care where the physicians perform an MRI. Thursday morning Brian got a call saying he'd better come in for the results and was advised not to come alone. He was then told that he had a large tumor on the lower left part of his brain, and that emergency surgery was necessary. Brian was told, based on the location of the tumor, that he may lose his ability to speak, his short term memory, and balance. He checked into a hospital in Salt Lake City that night and was in surgery at 7 am Friday morning. Needless to say, this was a very scary time for Brian and those aware of his condition.
The surgery went pretty well and the doctors had positive things to say. When Brian woke and was asked his name they he responded positively, with memory and speech. Included in the good news was they suspected the tumor was benign based on the appearance. They also said the "got most of the tumor" out.
The recovery was slow, but eventually Brian came around. The test results on the tumor weren't available until a week and a half after it was removed from Brian's head and everyone biggest fear came true. The tumor was malignant and has been classified as a stage 3 brain tumor, Anaplastic Astrocytoma to be specific.
The plan was for Brian to start chemo and radiation 6 weeks after surgery. However, physicians in Phoenix were able to view the results of Brain's surgery and thought they could do much better. They informed Brian that his first Surgery left 30-40% of the tumor and they were very confident they could do much better as this type of surgery is their specialty. They also wanted to move relatively quickly as it was be less traumatic to go back in before much more healing occurred.
In late March Brian went in for his second brain surgery. This time the physicians said they got it all. However, they haven't downgraded his cancer as there are still cancerous brain cells. Brian just recently started Chemo and Radiation, in May, and is enduring the fight of his life.
Obviously, the costs associated with treatment are climbing quickly. These costs combined with Brian's inability to work have created a hardship for the family.
If we all can give a little it will greatly reduce unneeded stress in this tough time.
Thank you for your support. Love and Good Vibes,
- Gary and Christina VanBorn
- Roland Nordstrom
- Rachelle Calacsan
- Courtney Berg
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