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Hudson -- A foundation which was born from a head-to-head collision on a soccer field in 2012 has raised more than $400,000 in its first year to help fund brain tumor research.
About 800 people took part in two days of fundraising which began with a May 3 dinner and auction at the Fairlawn Country Club, and carried over to a 5K run and fun walk at Western Reserve Academy May 4.
The proceeds will benefit the Blast Glioblastoma foundation founded by Joe Blanda and his family after a tumor was found in Joe's brain after he suffered a concussion during a soccer game.
"There was a total of 280 participants registered at the WRA event, many of them brain tumor patients or families of patients from northeast Ohio," according to Dr. Joe Blanda, Joe's dad. "My son Joe, who initiated the Blast Glioblastoma foundation, and I were both very happy with the turnout and very excited about what this means for brain tumor research."
Blanda called the fundraiser for the first-year foundation "one of the most successful fundraisers of all brain tumor events throughout the country."
Joe's tumor was found during a routine CT scan in the emergency room after his head collided with that of a player from the opposing team. Doctors found a mass in his brain which was later diagnosed as glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.
The tumor was removed and Joe was placed into a research study along with 21 other patients from across the country. However, the study was cancelled due to a lack of funding.
After the cancellation, Joe asked his parents to help organize a foundation to help raise money for brain cancer research.
"The foundation has raised $400,000 to date which will be enough to fund several brain tumor research projects," Blanda said.
According to Blanda, brain cancer research does not get the same amount of attention and funding as other forms, even though 10,000 people in Northeast Ohio have been diagnosed with brain tumors.
He has received clean brain scans for 18 months, Joe said. However, he also knows it could reappear any day.
"Any day I could go in there and my MRI could not be clean," Joe said. "And that's not good."
However, each scan has been clean and Joe intends to run track in college.
"I was so lucky getting 100 percent removal," Joe said. "A lot of brain tumor patients don't get that."
That was the reason for the foundation, Joe said, to help others.
"There are so many good research possibilities that just need funding," Joe said. "It is one of the top leading causes on death in youth today -- I think that it is very underrated and needs a whole lot more attention."
The top three men's overall winners were: Timothy Lewis (18:34); Yousef Elkurd (18:41) and Max Borrmann, whose time was not listed.
The top three women's overall finishers were: Susan Hulse (23:42); Elizabeth Downing (23:59) and Layali Jadallah (24:47).
For more information on the foundation and for a scheduled of future events, visit the website