DETROIT TEAM SPOTLIGHT - TEAM NYEHOLT

September 6, 2019

Each year, teams participate in our annual Head for the Cure 5K - Detroit. Team Nyeholt participates to celebrate Shaun Nyeholt's story and courageous battle with brain cancer. By participating in this event, you are helping fund research and programs to support the brain tumor community. Learn more about Team Nyeholt below!

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Team Nyeholt walks to celebrate Shaun Nyeholt’s story and continued battle with brain cancer. After brain surgery, 10 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and three years of physical/occupational therapy, Shaun’s cancer is still present and being managed with his team of doctors at Henry Ford on an ongoing basis. But despite all of these challenges, Shaun continues to live his life to the very fullest and be a source of hope for everyone who meets him, especially after hearing about his journey with brain cancer and the surgical side effects.

In October 2016, Shaun had a grand mal seizure which landed us in the ER where we discovered he had a brain tumor. After a craniotomy which removed about 95% of the tumor, we were told it was a grade 3 anaplastic oligodendroglimoa - brain cancer. He spent the next eight months doing chemotherapy and after monitoring his progress and the tumor growth, the decision was made to do 6 weeks of daily radiation and chemo treatment. He was nauseous, lost his hair and was beyond exhausted during treatment.

Not only did we receive the news he had cancer that October, the brain surgery removed a portion of his brain controlling movement initiation. While we knew this going into surgery, it was beyond terrifying afterward when he couldn't speak or move his right arm or right leg. He immediately started physical, occupational and speech therapy to rebuild the neuro-pathways in his brain to regain movement and the ability to talk. Due to Shaun’s incredible strength and perseverance, he was saying single words and standing with assistance within a week. After two weeks he was saying phrases and then sentences, and started walking with assistance. When we were released from the hospital a month later, he could walk with a walker and speak normally, although he still battled with aphasia now and then. Two months later his thumb moved for the first time, and he then started on the long battle to regain movement in his shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and fingers. It's been an extremely long and hard road from this aspect and one he continues two years later - still going to therapy, dealing with occasional aphasia, and working on connecting all the broken roads in his brain to regain movement in his arm/hand. 

Despite all of the challenges in the last three years, Shaun has smiled through it all. He has handled this with grace, acceptance and a warrior spirit. In his words - "I can't understand people who give up. You just take a day at a time and handle whatever comes at you - that's how I've always lived. Why would cancer be any different?" And with the arrival of our son Will in April 2019, we have even more of a reason to celebrate life and to raise awareness and money for brain cancer research.

 

- Sarah Nyeholt