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Monday, October 29, 2012 - 'Cancer will not bring me down. It will not define who I am!'

   
Cancer survivor Jason Edwards spreads a message of “HOPE” in the fight against cancer.
Cancer survivor Jason Edwards spreads a message of “HOPE” in the fight against cancer.
Enduring months of excruciating headaches, the only relief that Jason Edwards found was from taking Excedrin. The help was only temporary as the agonizing headaches would not subside.

Jason was out shopping with his wife, Melissa, when he started to lose his balance. Soon after, at his son’s ball game, he noticed that the sounds of the horns and whistles were tormenting, but he withstood the pain until the game was over. When Jason finally complained about the pain he was enduring, Melissa insisted they go to the emergency room.

More Than a Headache

After initial diagnostic testing at Parkwest Medical Center, a nurse told the couple that a neurosurgeon was on his way to speak with them. On Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, Jason Edwards was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme Grade 4 (GBM), one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. The tumor was so advanced the neurosurgeon was concerned that without immediate surgery, Jason might only have a few days to live.

“I am in the fight for my life and I will not give up.  Cancer will not beat me,” recalled Jason of the first thoughts that went through his head. The following morning Jason was in the operating room.

“After the surgery, that was the best I’d felt in a long time,” Jason recalled. “My doctor looked at me and said that I was lucky to be alive.”

The fight was not over for Jason, but he had a huge support system of family and friends. Friends arranged for Jason and his family to have meals sent to them on a nightly basis during his treatment. Strangers they had never met were bringing them home-cooked meals. Friends and family helped with grocery shopping and transporting their children.

“The support has just been unbelievable,” said Jason. “We are just so grateful for all the help we have received.”

With that help, Jason has been able to enjoy being a husband and father with a whole new perspective. Jason and Melissa are high school sweethearts who have been married for 22 years. They have a 19-year-old daughter who is a sophomore soccer player at Carson Newman and a 13-year-old son who attends Grace Christian Academy.

Giving Back with BUDDY’s

Last year Melissa convinced Jason to sign up for the BUDDY’s Race Against Cancer.

“I wanted to give back and help fight this horrible disease,” said Jason. “It was incredible to see the number of people that support the event. I was amazed to see good friends come out and support my cause and those same friends coming out to support others. It just shows that you should never give up hope.”

For the second year, Jason’s Team Edwards will raise funds for the Thompson Cancer Survival Center through the race.

“This is more than a race, it’s a race against cancer. I want people to know that cancer will not bring them down! It will not define who they are!” says Jason. “I am determined not only to fight for myself but to help in the fight for others who can’t afford or do not have access to cancer screenings. This is a worthy cause and we all need to band together to help fight cancer.”
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