Unfortunately, 2017 hasn't been quite as brilliant for the Sharples family as everyone would have hoped. As you may know,  in August 2007, when Steve was only 31 & he and Kelly had only been dating for 2 years, Steve was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was identified as an oligodendroglioma and he underwent two brain surgeries (including a 9 hour awake craniotomy). Following those surgeries, he had radiation and chemotherapy. Last year, on 1/8/2016, Steve had two Grand Mal seizures (one of which Violet sadly witnessed & at only 4 years old had to help her mother stabilize her convulsing father & call 911). After some unsuccessful medication trial and error at home in Florida, in February 2016, Steve was hospitalized in Grand Rapids, Michigan (where his 2007 brain surgeon Dr. Kost Elisevich now is the head of neurosurgery). Steve underwent a myriad of testing at that time and the consensus was that scar tissue was moving around in his brain at the 2007 surgery site and that movement caused seizures. Big relief, right? Since February 2016, Steve has been on a medication called Vimpat to control these seizures. Since 4/2016, Steve had some "break through mini seizures or seizure activity." He continued to suffer with daily headaches and irritability. The Sharples were scheduled to and did return to Grand Rapids for Steve's annual MRI & EEG, on 1/4/2017. The family (Steve, Kelly, the now 5 year old superstar Violet & the not even 2 year old sweet Summer Soleil) arrived in Grand Rapids along with the world's worst blizzard. On 1/5/2017, they met with Dr. Elisevich and Dr. Burdette (epileptologist). Very sadly and unfortunately, in the location of the original 2007 tumor, a new mass/tumor was visible. Talk about a throat punch. After 9.5 years in remission, Steve's brain cancer is back, with a vengeance. Steve had another emergency brain surgery the next day. Steve made it out of surgery with no clear disabilities (motor control was an anticipated problem but there have been no deficiencies). Post surgery, the new tumor was analyzed. Steve now has stage 3 brain cancer, specifically an anaplastic astrocytoma. Steve is supposed to start his fourth round of chemo in a few days & the doctors are maxing out his dosage for the next 9-12 months. The chemotherapy, unfortunately is taking much the same toll on Steve in 2017 as it did in 2007, which means it is next to killing him from the inside out. Because of the body's blood brain barrier, chemotherapy for brain cancer is taken orally and absorbed by through the stomach. This medicine causes every form of GI distress, seemingly simultaneously. The family discussed the devastating side effects with Steve's doctors & initially were assured that more could be done to alleviate Steve's pain & nausea than was the case in 2007. Then, the cancer pathology report came back & the consensus changed: blast this cancer as hard as possible and deal with the vomiting, diarrhea & constipation. This family is proud & private, so they've preferred to keep to themselves during the last few months, trying to circle their wagons and take care of each other and their children. Steve has been a leader and has worked through his sickest days with a positive attitude. Violet and Summer will know only a life with their father living with and fighting brain cancer. They will always know what a fighter their dad is, and Kelly has tried to make sure that every day, they make happy memories for all of them to hold onto.  Steve's most recent MRI results were learned yesterday, 5/22 /2017.  The news was not what they hoped to hear. The tumor has returned, and is twice the size that it was. Chemo is doing nothing.  They are waiting to hear from the surgeon, but another trip to Michigan and another surgery are in the very near future for this family.  They were so hopeful that this MRI would bring positive results, and as you can imagine, they are devastated by this latest setback.  Probably unsurprisingly, Steve's medical expenses are crushing the family with unexpected debt. Please consider helping this family during their difficult time.  They have so much on their plate right now, and if we can help, even just a little bit, we can help to alleviate this one stress factor in their lives. 


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Organizer and beneficiary

Jennifer Romanoff DiBlanda 
New Haven, CT
Kelly Sharples 
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