Help Dave fight a brain tumor!

My name is Vanessa and I am asking you to help save my brother’s life. Dave is battling a massive, life-threatening, partially malignant, astrocytoma brain tumor.

Over two neurosurgeries last December and this January, 80% of the tumor was removed. The surgeries were followed by 6 weeks of combined proton therapy and chemo treatments. Dave will continue with monthly chemo and MRIs every other month for a year and then regular MRIs for years afterwards.

The tumor is the big, gray mass on the left.

I’m reaching out to ask for your help. Please consider a donation of any size to help Dave cover basic living expenses and his portion of current and future medical costs. Your donation will go to The David Carlson Special Needs Trust that was created specifically for Dave’s medical care.

Dave is studying to be a neurologist or a neuropsychiatrist at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He’s halfway through his 3rd of 4 years of med school. Last Thanksgiving Dave told us he’d scheduled an eye exam because of his recurring headaches and vision problems. The exam showed swollen optic nerves. Dave was sent directly to the Emergency Department.

Everything changed for Dave and our family when an MRI revealed the huge tumor. Deep and dangerously close to Dave’s brainstem, it had shifted the midline of his brain, infiltrated critical areas and damaged others. Immediately, Dave was hospitalized for surgery.

The surgical risks included incapacitating brain damage, paralysis, and complete vision loss. Fortunately, most of the tumor was safely removed. However, Dave has some permanent visual field loss. He can’t drive and may never be able to again.

Dave after surgery and later at the Proton Radiation Center 

The good news and what makes us so very hopeful is that a recent MRI shows tumor shrinkage – very unusual, especially this early in treatment. There are ongoing medical advances too. Dave has a recently identified genetic marker that indicates a better prognosis. All this, along with his impressive progress and his resilience has us very encouraged that Dave can beat this.

Dave with friends shortly after his first surgery

 While Dave focuses his energies on getting better and on his studies, 
(Yes! he is already back in med school with a modified schedule), I've stepped in and created this campaign to help bring Dave some relief from the financial pressures he's facing from his two surgeries; proton radiation; chemo for a year; co-pays for meds, including those to prevent seizures; medical insurance premiums; a hospital sponsored driving rehab program if Dave’s vision improves enough to make him eligible; and study aids.

If anyone can beat this and use his experience to help others, it’s Dave! As a proud little sister, I must say his list of accomplishments is long: starting a business, designing and teaching a unique MCAT curriculum to help others realize their dream of becoming a doctor, co-authoring scientific research papers for peer reviewed journals, leading a Congressional District voter registration team in the 2008 election and attending a National Convention as an elected delegate, to name just a few! Dave’s also a gifted artist and a great guitarist.

Dave with Mom ringing the bell after completing his proton treatment 

I’ve heard Dave say, more than once,

“I want to get better, I want to be a doctor, and
I want to be an inspiration to people and help them.”

Please help give Dave a second chance in life so he can pursue his dream and continue to serve. Your kindness and generosity will contribute to the success of an empathetic, compassionate, wise doctor who knows firsthand what it’s like to be a patient needing life-saving treatment.

 Those of you who know my brother know he’s a big boxing fan who draws inspiration from pro boxers who persist in spite of the odds. This quote from Rocky V is one of his favorites – and in my opinion so perfectly sums up Dave’s philosophy and how he leads his life,

“Going in for one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference in life.”

Thank you in advance for helping Dave continue to make a difference.  Please share his story with others who may be moved to help.

A selfie of our family I took on Mother's Day

On behalf of Dave and our family, I thank you from my heart.

- Vanessa

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 7 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 9 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 28 d
  • Ruby Vella 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 1 mo

Organizer and beneficiary 

Vanessa Carlson 
Organizer
La Jolla, CA
David M Carlson Special Needs Trust 
Beneficiary
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