Valley Voices

Ian Johnson and Robert Ryan: Dan Brown Legacy Fund helps brain tumor patients here

An excellent and informative article by sports columnist Marek Warszawski appeared on the front page of The Bee on Feb. 1. The article focused on former Fresno State wide receiver Stephen Shelley, his battle with a brain tumor, and his inspiring positive attitude.

Mr. Shelley is a local hero, with his dedication to working with kids in need of help in the Fresno-Clovis area and demonstrating his commitment to improving lives of others in the Central Valley. A strong community is held together by those with the willingness to help their fellow citizens.

We were so surprised and disappointed to hear about the struggles he and his family have endured, in large part because his treatment took place in San Jose. Anytime you or a family member face an illness there are always difficulties and challenges that accompany that time in your life. The added burden of having to travel or relocate makes it much more difficult and that may not have been necessary for this family.

Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research offer many new services in critical areas of care that were very recently only obtainable far from home. The neurosurgeons of University Neurosciences Institute in Fresno, which is part of UCSF Fresno and affiliated with Community Medical Centers, provide care and treatment for nearly all types of brain tumors.

We offer the very same care that people in our community, such as Mr. Shelley, have had to travel for in the past. We also work in collaboration with local medical and radiation oncology specialists to provide comprehensive pre- and post-operative care for these patients, including chemotherapy and radiation treatments when needed.

Another member of the Fresno State football family, defensive coordinator Dan Brown, suffered from a brain tumor, and was forced to travel out of the Central Valley for treatment as local care was not available at the time. Since then, and in part with the assistance of the Dan Brown Legacy Fund, neurosurgical care in the Fresno area has grown exponentially.

In addition to brain tumors, the most advanced care is available for the treatment of brain aneurysms, brain arteriovenous malformations, strokes, pain syndromes, all types of spinal disorders, and other neurosurgical conditions, using the latest and often minimally invasive procedures and provided locally in state-of-the art facilities.

All this can be done at local hospitals, close to home. Physical therapy and continued care are offered in town as well.

Community Regional Medical Center is the only place in the Central Valley — from Sacramento to San Francisco and Los Angeles— that is equipped with a biplane angiography machine in a hybrid operating theater. These technologies can enable the neurosurgeons in our group to provide the advanced treatment of clot retrieval to open up the blood vessels of the brain for acute stroke. These new advances in medical therapy are available to the people of the Central Valley, right here at home. As well, the rehabilitation processes can be undertaken at Community Regional Medical Center and other facilities in the Fresno-Clovis area.

We understand the many stresses that arise when dealing with a medical condition, and one of our aims is to provide care in a local setting to keep patients close to their homes, families and support systems. We are proud to live in the Central Valley, and provide advanced care to its residents. One of the goals of the Dan Brown Legacy Fund was to improve access to world-class treatments for neurologic disease without the need to travel.

We hope that increased awareness of local services will allow more people like Mr. Shelley to have the option to remain at home for care in the future.

Our goal is to help our community, at home.