Thousands raise money for brain cancer research

Posted at 4:00 PM, Aug 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-27 18:47:32-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly 5,000 people participated in the 15th Annual Head for the Cure 5k Sunday. The event is one of the largest 5k’s in Kansas City, typically raising around a half million dollars for brain cancer research.

It started out rainy, causing a short delay to the start of the 5k.

"Kansas City, this is our bread and butter. We raise about a half a million dollars typically. That's their goal,” said Jenna Heilman, Executive Director for Head for the Cure.

That money goes to support brain cancer research, helping people like Brad Eastman.

"I was a 31-year-old runner with 23 years of running experience and I was told those words 'you have brain cancer,’” said Eastman.

It’s been a long road for Eastman, but today he is cancer free. The father of two said Head for the Cure played a big part in his treatments.

The foundation has raised millions of dollars for top brain cancer research centers since 2003.

"Everything that has happened to me over the last 4 years has been a bi product of research in the neuro[logy] field,” said Eastman.

Eastman experienced 30 rounds of innovative, clinical-trial proton therapy at one of the cancer centers that receives funds raised by Head for the Cure.

But, those fighting for a cure say there’s a lot more work to be done.

"There are over 120 different types of brain tumors and only a handful of medications and treatments available for folks,” said Heilman.

Funds raised at the event will go towards several research facilities working on clinical trials and new treatments.

The hope is to help the more than 600,000 people in the U.S. living with a diagnosis of a primary brain or nervous system tumors.