Daniela George, a Cutler Bay resident, is one of a number of people honored by Voices Against Brain Cancer, receiving the Courage Award at the inaugural Join the Voices! Miami Run/Walk on Sunday, Mar. 8. In February 2011 George, wife and mother of two, had breast cancer surgery.
In April 2013 it was discovered that the cancer had metastasized to her brain. She fell into a three-hour coma and upon waking neurosurgeons performed surgery as soon as they could. That tumor was found to be encapsulated and was removed. She was hospitalized for a week then sent to Baptist Hospital’s inpatient rehab facility to learn how to walk again and do other simple everyday tasks.
Another brain tumor was found in September 2014 during a followup MRI. On the same side as the original tumor, it was also found to be encapsulated and was removed during a craniotomy. She is now continuously monitored by her breast cancer oncologist at UM/Sylvester, as well as her radiation oncologist.
“It meant a lot to me that my family and my friends were always by my side, and that they were and still are always there for me,” George said before the VABC event. “My faith gets me through this, and I believe to always see everything from the positive side.”
George is being honored by Voices Against Brain Cancer for her bravery and determination to help others who are battling the disease, by encouraging them to never give up hope. She is driven to reach out to other patients facing the illness.
“I like to pay it forward, and I can help others to learn from my experience,” George said.
The Join the Voices! Miami Run/Walk charitable event at Tropical Park featured a 5K run, 3K walk, family activities and live entertainment. A special presentation honored the memory of David Menasche, former Florida teacher and author of The Priority List who recently lost his battle with brain cancer. Funds raised will go toward research for the University of Miami’s Brain Tumor Initiative and the Miami Children’s Hospital Brain Cancer Initiative.
Voices Against Brain Cancer was cofounded by Miami resident Mario Lichtenstein in memory of his son, Gary, who lost his battle with brain cancer on Oct. 1, 2003. Since then, the organization has united other patients, survivors, their families, caregivers, prestigious doctors and celebrities in their drive toward finding a cure.
“I couldn’t save the life of my son, but perhaps I can save the lives of others,” Lichtenstein said.
George said she is honored and grateful to be receiving the Courage Award, and she offers this advice to anyone stricken by the disease: “Never give up; get a second opinion; keep on fighting; don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer.”To make a donation or for more information, visit www.jointhevoicesmiami.org.