This week’s #WomanCrushWednesday goes out to Dr. Alex Milloff Butler, who’s on a mission to raise money for a type of brain cancer that’s so rare, its genetic makeup wasn’t even identified until about five years ago.
It’s called Oligodendroglioma – Oligo for short. Dr. Butler was diagnosed in the spring of 2019. She and her husband have two young children. They sat them down, one at a time, to tell them Mommy has something in her head that doesn’t belong there. Her oldest, who was seven at the time, asked a powerful question that’s been at the forefront of Dr. Butler’s mind since her battle began – “What are you going to do about that?”
So she began reaching out to and consulting with everyone she knew in medicine – from oncologists to pediatricians and everyone in between. She was getting conflicting information from experts, because the tumor is so rare, the science behind it just isn’t there. Not yet, anyway – but Dr. Butler is determined to change that. She heard about Consano, a crowdfunding platform for medical research (and one we’re proud to be long-term partners with!). She recognized it would be a great way to raise money for research, and to give people who wanted it the opportunity to help her. (She certainly didn’t need any more casseroles!)
So she started a fundraising campaign through Consano – so far, it has raised more than $60,000! She’s also working with the nonprofit Oligo Nation and the National Brain Tumor Society – in October, she’ll participate in a virtual Boston Brain Tumor walk. She’s from New England and has family in Boston. Dr. Butler is also the recipient of this year’s Consano Ripples of Hope award – an honor that went to Tom Brokaw last year!
There’s no cure for Oligodendroglioma – yet. Dr. Butler had surgery in the spring of 2019, where doctors got most of the tumor out. She had chemotherapy and had to relearn how to walk and how to use her left hand. She has frequent MRIs and can’t currently practice medicine, so these days she’s laser-focused on fundraising. She wants to help herself – to have more time with her husband and two beautiful boys – but also to help people like her, who are fighting a cancer that’s so rare, only about 10-15,000 people in the country are living with it today. There’s no other choice – she’ll have 20 more surgeries if it means she’ll be here. She wants people to work together, rather than parallel, to fight this thing. Can you join her in the fight?