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Brain Cancer Health Center

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The Faces of Brain Cancer

Three survivors of brain cancer similar to that affecting Sen. Edward Kennedy tell how they're coping.

Jim Owens continued...

He found renewed resolve each time."The cancer is not going to run my life. I am going to reclaim my life and live my life."

"I'm having the best spring I've had in years," he says. With his brother, he is training for the Ride for Roses in Austin in October, an event sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. In 2004, he rode with Armstrong, a cancer survivor, on a coast-to-coast benefit bike tour.

To help others, he blogs and posts info on his own web site, Jim's Journey.

This spring is especially sweet because of his latest MRI results, Jim says. "I've had two MRIs in a row and we have heard the word 'reduction,'" he says, meaning the tumor is shrinking again. "We haven't heard that word since 2003. I'm so thrilled and so happy."

To Kennedy, he would say: "Have hope. You are going to have a lot of statistics thrown at you. Don't listen to the worst-case scenario. Look at all your options, including new drugs. The biggest thing is to really have hope."

Maria Hartmann

Maria Hartmann, 59, Miami, Fla. Diagnosed in 1998 with malignant glioma.

"I was at my house, with my mother-in-law, and the World Series was on. My husband was at the game."

The seizure hit."I was convinced I was epileptic," Maria says. The battery of tests run on her once she was rushed to the hospital suggested otherwise. The doctor told her she had a glioblastoma.

The surgeon at the University of Miami removed what he could and inserted a thin wafer to deliver chemotherapy.

"After that came conventional chemo and radiation twice a day," Maria says. "I was 49."

"I told myself, either I live or I die. I knew I was not going to die. I had a lot of faith. I am very strong. I said, 'I am not going to let this get me.'"

Part of that strength, she says, comes from her immigrant parents. "I was born in Cuba, and I came with my parents as a political refugee. It took a lot of guts for my family to leave everything and come here. I say, for my sister and myself, that was our first lesson in courage. My parents were very strong; I never heard any complaints in our house. They gave us strength."

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