Karen and Cecil Rosen first learned of the Race for Hope DC at a Brain Tumor Group meeting, which they have attended monthly at INOVA Life with Cancer since Karen was diagnosed with a GBM in 2004. Karen and her family celebrate her life and her determination to live every day to the fullest and enjoy every moment. “Karen’s journey has been a roller coaster ride with some very extreme ups and downs,” explains her husband, Cecil. “All the while, she never lost the ability to love family and friends and to feel blessed that they are on this journey with her.”
Karen has undergone surgeries/resections, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as a bout with meningitis. She has recently recovered from her fifth craniotomy and has entered into a new treatment for her recurrent GBM. Despite all of the challenges, in Karen’s words she has, “stepped back into the sunlight after being in a dark, cloudy, foggy, scary place.”
Cecil comments, “Throughout all of this, Karen has had a wonderful attitude and winning spirit.” Family and friends have been a very intimate part of the Rosen’s adventure. Cecil developed and maintains a website for Karen on CaringBridge and updates it almost weekly to keep her large support group of family and “extended family” informed of her progress. On the site, Cecil and Karen share their determination to make 2007 a year of celebration. They honor living, learning and togetherness – especially as this year marks Karen and Cecil’s 40th wedding anniversary. They are also committed to making the 2007 Race for Hope a banner year for their team, Karen’s Crew.
The Rosens have had a team in the race every year since Karen’s diagnosis, and she has walked across the finish line under her own power each year. Karen’s immediate family and her extended family at Virginia Tech (where she was a professor in their graduate program in marriage and family therapy) have been wonderfully supportive and are an active part of her Race for Hope team. For the Rosens, the Race for Hope is a way to be actively involved in supporting brain cancer research. “We desperately wanted to do something to help the larger cause and figured this was something we could enjoy doing together,” Cecil explains.
In 2006, The Crew grew to about 80 walking and running team members and raised over $15,000! “We had a great time and our sons, Jeff and Mike, got their friends to participate and raise money,” said Cecil. Karen’s surgeon, Dr. Alessandro Olivi, and nurse, Dee Glass-Macenka, from Johns Hopkins also walked for Karen’s Crew.
“When I teach I learn – about myself, about the subject, about people, and about how to teach – that’s what makes it so much fun for me.” Karen states. “I believe that every relationship has a mutual benefit for both parties and perhaps that is why Cecil and I get a wonderfully lifting feeling from participating in the Race for Hope. The mutual support and association with other survivors and caregivers is simply exhilarating.”