In the Spring of 2012, Blaise was an ordinary 10 year old boy. He loved playing golf, basketball, football and baseball. There was never a day he wasn’t thinking or dreaming sports. His favorite teams were the UNC Tar Heels and the Boston Red Sox. If you knew Blaise, you could tell he was an avid tar heel fan because he wore Carolina blue everthing. Blaise was always the team leader and always had a smile on his face; he was a very happy young boy.
During a baseball game Blaise’s parents noticed his lack of strength, his inability to use his right side of his body properly and also noticed that he wasn’t himself. The same week Blaise’s parents had taken him to the local emergency room because he was having stroke- like symptoms on his right side.
Blaise and his parents soon learned that he had a brain tumor and needed to be transported to Duke Medical Center immediately. After hours of anticipation and worry, the doctor explained the diagnosis- Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG has been called the worst news a doctor could give a family. It is a tumor that grows among the nerves in the brainstem. Because of the location, surgery isn’t an option due to the vital functions of the brainstem. The prognosis for Blaise was that he would live for nine months.
After days in the hospital, Blaise had surgery to place a port for chemo and he started the standard course of treatment- six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation is done in hopes for the tumor to shrink temporarily allowing the child to have a greater quality of life. The shrinkage usually lasts for months but the tumor usually comes back with vengeance. Research hasn’t been able to find an effective treatment for the recurrence of the tumor.
Blaise and his family made plans for all of his dreams to come true and that is exactly what they did. Some of Blaise’s adventures included: a trip to Hawaii, trip to Disney, cruise to Mexico, trip to Boston and to California for the TV show "Let’s Make a Deal.” He also got to meet Phil Mickelson and Phil Ford, whom he developed a personal relationship with. Phil attended several of his treatments and also came to his 12th birthday party.
In the Summer of 2013, Blaise’s tumor started rapidly growing back. Desperate to try and help Blaise, the family got Blaise accepted for a second round of radiation. This round of radiation helped some and allowed Blaise to have a few more months to accomplish things on his bucket list. Knowing we didn’t have much longer we knew Blaise had always dreamed of meeting LeBron James, who plays for the Miami Heat. The community came together and started tweeting, writing letters and calling everyone they knew who could help. Our hard work and dedication finally paid off and he got to travel to Miami, Florida to meet the WHOLE team! That was Blaise’s last trip before he really started going downhill. His family got to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years with him before he earned his angel wings on January 3rd, 2014.
Blaise’s journey is one that no child should have to ever endure. During this difficult journey Blaise always had a smile on his face and never once asked why me. He did everything with a positive attitude and he had the humor of a comedian.
With that, The Team Blaise Foundation was created. Blaise’s family wants to give back to families/foundations that were so generous to them. Without the generosity of others, Blaise’s family wouldn’t have had the opportunity to create lifelong memories that were made while fulfilling his dreams. We hope to help children’s dreams come true, like Blaise’s did.