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Patient raises money in honor of her cancer doctor

FamilyA patient appreciative of her doctor, Thomas E. Coyle MD is raising money for brain cancer research at Upstate. Debbie Gregg of Cazenovia is about halfway to her goal of raising $35,000 in honor of Coyle and his dedication to the field of neuro-oncology.

Gregg was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, brain cancer in January 2008, and Coyle has cared for her since then. He is a professor of medicine and neurology specializing in brain tumors and conducting research into the cellular mechanisms underlying the development and treatment of malignant brain tumors.

“I had no symptoms. I never had headaches,” Gregg said. “Just one day, thank God a friend of mine called as I was walking out the door to drive somewhere. As I was on the phone with her, all of a sudden I had a seizure.”

Today she has five lesions or tumors, “and they have legs that go out like a spider,” Gregg described. They are inoperable. She has undergone radiation therapy and continues to take chemotherapy. She uses a cane on stairs, a walker throughout her house and a wheelchair if she travels any distance. For someone who was active all her life, playing tennis, running and bicycling, Gregg said the inactivity is most frustrating.

“I just want to get up. I‘ve never been one to sit still. I‘ve always been very active,” she said. “I can‘t even garden. That was my therapy, being in my garden.”

Donations to Debbie‘s Brain Cancer Research Fund, at www.foundationforupstate.org/teamdebbie, are tax deductible. If she reaches her goal of $35,000, Gregg will have one of the infusion rooms named after her in the new cancer center.