GRAND BLANC — No one is happier to enjoy an ice cream cone – and serve them – than Kate White, a survivor of “the most deadly” form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.
White and her husband, Rick, own Ziggy’s Ice Cream in Grand Blanc. Last weekend, with the help of several members of her Henry Ford care team serving as guest ice cream scoopers, she raised about $9,000 to support two causes that are close to her heart – Henry Ford’s Hermelin Brain Tumor Center and Game On Cancer.
“I received such exceptional care from my Henry Ford care team; they saved my life,” said White. “My husband and I wanted to give back in some way, so when we hard about Game On Cancer, we decided to do a fundraiser at Ziggy’s to help patients undergoing cancer treatment. We wanted to give back to a cause that means so much to us and we are very thankful for the wonderful support from the community.”
Celebrity ice cream scoopers included James Snyder, D.O., neuro-oncologist; Lisa Scarpace, program manager of the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center; Adam Robin, M.D., neurosurgeon at Henry Ford Health System; and Vrushali Dabak, M.D., medical oncologist at Henry Ford Health System.
“While cancer, especially brain cancer, is one of the scariest diagnoses a person can receive, it’s important to remember that treatment options have come a long way in recent years and continue to improve through research and innovation,” said Snyder.
“The support of our donors and members of the community at events like this one at Ziggy’s has had a tremendous impact on research and providing assistance for patients who need it as they go through treatment.”
White was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in May of 2019 after experiencing severe and consistent headaches she believed were caused by stress.
Eventually, the pain got so severe she had to take migraine medication each morning to get through the day, which ultimately led to her diagnosis when her symptoms worsened.
After undergoing an “awake” craniotomy by Dr. Robin, White completed six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy under the care of Mira Shah, M.D., radiation oncologist at Henry Ford Hospital and Dr. Snyder.
While her road to recovery hasn’t been easy, she is back to working full-time and feeling like herself again. She suffered from short-term memory loss after the surgery and wasn’t sure if she would have the cognitive abilities and stamina to continue her work as a doctoral student.
But with the support of her professors, colleagues, family and friends, she is back in school to complete the Ph.D. she started before her diagnosis, while also running Ziggy’s Ice Cream.
“I am positive that I am here today to tell my story because of the fast action and outstanding treatment provided by my Henry Ford care team,” White said.
“This experience has made me much more empathetic and grateful to be alive. If my story can offer hope, optimism and the willingness to be brave in the fight, then I feel like I am giving back to those who’ve cared for me, those who are also on this journey, and those diagnosed after me.”
Game On Cancer is a partnership among Henry Ford Health System, The Detroit Lions and The Detroit Pistons that provides assistance to cancer patients and supports critical cancer research funding. Now in its sixth year, Game On Cancer has raised more than $5 million, thanks to the support of donors and fundraiser participants.
To learn more about how you can help support patients at Henry Ford Cancer Institute, visit henryford.com/GameOnCancer. — L.R.