Keeping hope alive

Tyler DeMarco Foundation to hold first Fore Hope Golf Tournament

Tyler DeMarco's wish to find a cure for childhood brain cancer and enhancing care for local families is still going strong.

The Tyler DeMarco Foundation, formed by Tyler's parents, Don and Pam DeMarco, is holding its inaugural "Fore Hope" Golf Tournament on Monday, June 20, at the Western Turnpike Golf Course to raise funds to help fight childhood cancer. Money raised from the event will go toward supporting childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children's Hospital and to assist in creating private, specialized chemotherapy rooms at the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center. Tyler lost his four-year battle with medulloblastoma in February of last year, leaving behind his parents and older brother, Ryan, now 17.

"We certainly wanted to do something that would be able to raise money for our goals and were approached by two volunteers that were golfers that wanted to do this," said Don DeMarco, Tyler's father. "We have been very happy with our sponsor participation and the golf participation was slow to start. We are very happy with our response but it can always be better."

Tyler was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common malignant central nervous tumor, at 9 years old in 2006 at the Children's Hospital in Albany. He successfully went through the delicate surgery to remove the majority of the tumor from his brain. What followed was six weeks of daily radiation treatment to his brain and spine. Then he continued to have one year of aggressive chemotherapy and had several blood transfusions.

After completing initial treatments, he enjoyed 11 months of remission, but relapsed in late March 2009. An MRI revealed the cancer had returned and metastasized to his spinal cord and other areas of his brain. There is no cure for recurrent medulloblastoma, but St. Jude's accepted him as the first of three patients to participate in a "phase one" clinical trial.

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