Fatherhood and Cancer
- Michael Hugo, a 37-year-old dad with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer, wants to make sure he’s around for his daughters’ big moments. So he asked Tim McGraw for help making a song to play at their future weddings.
- Tim McGraw helped make the young dad’s dream come true. The singer’s own dad passed away from glioblastoma in 2003.
- Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer, . It technically does not have a cure, but standard treatment typically starts with surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
- Facing cancer as a parent can be overwhelming, physically and emotionally. But having children who depend on you can also provide more motivation to fight the disease with everything you’ve got.
Tim McGraw answered the call.Read More
“If we are running on a treadmill in the gym and you’re next to me, we’re racing,” he said of his competitive nature. “You may not know it, but we’re racing.”
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Even still, Hugo wants to be proactive. He’s writing letters for his daughters to open on their birthdays and other milestones, but he really wants to be a part of the their wedding days.
“I did the daddy-daughter dance in Wellington, and that was awesome,” he said. “That kind of made me think, ‘Man, I want to dance with my kids at their wedding.’”
That’s when he shared a video asking McGraw to do him the honor of filming a duet of McGraw’s song “My Little Girl,” so his daughters can watch it on their wedding days.
“His dad passed away from glioblastoma, and he wrote that song, ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ It hits me hard,” Hugo said.
It’s true. McGraw’s own father, Major League Baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, died in 2003 after bravely battling the disease. The music video for Tim’s emotional song “Live Like You Were Dying” included a clip of Tug playing in the 1980 World Series.
Tim McGraw Steps In
Sure enough, Tim McGraw, 55, stepped in to help. After hearing about Michael Hugo’s story from social media, McGraw reached out to the devoted father.
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“Thanx to everyone who shared Mike Hugo’s video on social media and tagged me in the comments,” he wrote on Instagram. “So glad we were able to actually get together in person, meet this amazing family, and make it happen! Mike is saving the videos for his daughters’ future weddings… what a special thing to be a part of.”
The video is being kept private for now, but Hugo’s daughters will surely treasure that video when the time comes.
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme, is an aggressive form of brain cancer. It’s considered the most aggressive primary brain tumor, and it doesn’t technically have a cure. Standard treatment for someone with GBM usually starts with a surgical resection. Depending on where the cancerous brain tumor is located, surgeons can either remove the entire tumor or a portion of the tumor before following that up with radiation and chemotherapy.
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Thankfully, however, brain cancer treatment options are expanding with research. Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist at Duke University Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet about progress being made.
“You are not dead just because you’ve been diagnosed with a glioblastoma,” he said.
Dr. Friedman and his Duke colleagues are looking into a new therapy that combines the modified poliovirus and immunotherapy in the form of the drug pembrolizumab (brand name Keytruda). Keytruda is a checkpoint inhibitor, and checkpoint inhibitors are designed to specifically target proteins found either on immune or cancer cells to prevent their binding together.
“The modified poliovirus is used to treat this tumor, by injecting it directly into the tumor, through a catheter. It is designed to lyse the tumor and cause the tumor cells to basically break up,” he said. “I think that the modified poliovirus is going to be a game-changer in glioblastoma… but I should also say that its reach is now extending into melanoma soon to bladder cancer.”
Facing Cancer as a Parent
Battling cancer as a parent can be incredibly overwhelming. Fearful thoughts about leaving your children may start circling your mind and add an additional emotional burden to your plate.
Telling Your Kids You Have Cancer ‘When it Comes to Your Kids, You Want to Protect Them’
Like Michael Hugo, Gina de Givenchy knows what it’s like to face cancer with children. Her daughter was 12 when she battled breast cancer.
“I felt it was important to mask it because I really wanted her to know that I was going to be OK,” she said. “I didn’t want her to see me weak and sickly.
“When it comes to your kids, I think you always want to sort of protect them.”
The pressures of parenting are always present no matter what’s going on with a mother or father’s health. But feeling that pressure may just be the thing that helps you fight the disease with everything you have. For colon cancer survivor Jovannie Lorenzo, this proved to be true.
Facing a Cancer Diagnosis as a Single Parent: “I Knew I Had to Fight for My Life”
“I knew that I had to do everything possible to be here for my children,” the single parent of three told SurvivorNet. “They are my saving grace. They are the reason I wake up every morning. They are the reason why I fight every single day and I make a choice to be positive, to be happy, and to move forward.”
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