In 2002, BEHEADSTRONG was originally established by a group of brain tumor survivors, families, and friends to provide support to the Kansas City brain tumor community. Since that time, it has become an integral part of the entire cancer community as well.
MARK NEWSOME’S STORY
Mark Newsome, one of the original founders, moved back to his birthplace of North Carolina in 2012. He wanted to continue serving those individuals and families with a diagnosis of brain tumors by establishing a new non-profit organization in the Triad area.
With that, TriadBeHeadStrong was established in 2013, and is a volunteer-based 501©3 nonprofit organization. For Mark, life totally changed in February 2001.
“I was a successful executive in the prime of my life”. He says. “I had just returned from a snow skiing trip when I experienced a grandma seizure. It was all a blur – very surreal—as I was taken to the hospital for an MRI (little did I know that this would be one of dozens of MRIs in my future). After several agonizing days, the results came in. I was diagnosed with an Analyplastic Astrocytoma Grade III brain tumor and given less than three years to live. I was terrified. Here I was in my late 30’s having to face my own mortality. My journey was just beginning and yet I had no idea what was ahead of me: research, phone calls, inquiries, treatment options, finding the right facility and best surgeons. I did eventually have surgery, 33 rounds of full brain radiation, daily oral chemo treatments and six rounds of intravenous chemo.”
Mark knows that he made it through a difficult time only with great medical care and a strong network of family, friends, and prayer.
“Through a combination of visualization, holistic care and staying active with yoga, I was actually able to complete a 5k run during my treatment,” says Mark. “I took my diagnosis as a challenge to beat the odds.”
He then had to figure out what God’s plan was for his life going forward.
“I knew I wanted to give back and help others who were facing the life changing diagnosis of a brain tumor. I originally founded the organization of BeHeadStrong in Kansas in 2002, and it continues to help many individuals in that area. After moving back to my hometown of Greensboro, I wanted to continue the mission to help others right here where I grew up.
President: Michelle Reece
Treasurer: Lisa Kellner
Secretary: Rene' Summerlin
Fundraising Chair: Pat Newsome
Co-Chairs Community Outreach & Relations