Local family raises money for American Brain Tumor Association

By: Chloe Leshner



Hundreds of people supporting a Taunton woman who beat brain cancer at a fundraiser this afternoon. She hopes Senator John McCain’s same diagnosis will bring more attention to the disease.

McCain’s diagnosis this week certainly put the public’s attention on glioblastoma but for the past 3 years Kendra Pittsley has been making southern New England more aware, holding events to raise money and awareness for the aggressive form of brain cancer, after her own battles with the disease.

Just like her shirt reads, Pittsley is a brain tumor warrior, beating cancer twice and turning her battle into an opportunity to help others, raising thousands of dollars for the American Brain Tumor Association.

"People shouldn’t die from brain tumors just because of a lack of funding. So if there’s not going to be money from the government, someone needs to make a difference and try to raise money," says Pittsley.

She knew something was off in 2007.

"I started having headaches and seizures so it was a rather scary experience and brain surgery, I was scared about it and then I wasn’t expecting it to come back a year later," she adds.

With most cancers, the prognosis is better the sooner it’s caught.

"When we catch them early its easier to remove surgically. Often we find them before they’ve invaded or destroyed critical areas of the brain," says Neurosurgeon at Lifespan, Dr. Steven Toms.

That the case for Senator John McCain who had surgery earlier this week to remove a glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain tumor doctors have been working to advance treatments on.

"We’ve been moving the bar and getting longer survivals, we’re even getting people out to 5 years survival which was unheard of when i started in this field," says Toms.

Pittsley hopes McCain’s diagnosis will shine a brighter light on the disease and even help improve outcomes.

"When they get it then people pay more attention to it, when someone in the public has it," says Pittsley. 

This is the third year Pittsley’s family has put on the fundraiser drawing kids and families in with dancing, games and raffles. She says the event has gotten bigger each time and that they plan to have it again next year.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017