The Promise of Hope: Charlie Glass Sarcoma Research Foundation

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Kathleen Glass Burk made a promise to her father, Charlie Glass, in his final days to find more experimental treatments, to find a cure so people could survive longer. “If I had one thing to do over, I would have fought harder and done more to find an experimental drug for him. I will continue my journey to fight for those diagnosed, to give them hope. I can’t tell you how much it hurts to feel so helpless watching someone who has no option, suffer when they are so ready to fight.”

   Nothing hurts worse than to lose someone you love, not to be able to do anything, watch them slip away from you day by day.  Daddys are especially hard to lose for daughters who love them so very much. Kathleen is making good on her promise to her Daddy.  She has started a foundation to fight the awful type of cancer that took her Daddy away. The Hope Promise, Charlie Glass Sarcoma Research Foundation is in its infancy, but has set a course to raise funds and awareness of a rare cancer, in adults, that gives you three to five years, at best.  Children get this cancer, but it is treatable in children. With adults, it is a death sentence. “The doctors said that it would be a miracle for Charlie to survive 3 years.  We continuously watched sarcoma patients, Charlie’s friends at MD Anderson, not win the battle with sarcoma due to the lack of experimental drug options. Despite the negative outcomes and repeated diagnosis, Charlie was not a quitter. The glass was always half full and never on the verge of empty, no matter how hard the fight was.” Kathleen went on to say, “Daddy was a healthy and active business and family man who was diagnosed with severe diverticulitis. However, those were just symptoms produced by something much bigger than today’s research could handle. He was diagnosed with sarcoma. His first tumor, 11 pounds and the size of a football was treated through radiation and removed by the amazing sarcoma team at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. MD Anderson accomplished the impossible not once but twice when Charlie’s second round of sarcoma came back with 23 tumors in his abdomen, almost impossible to treat. Sadly round 3 was too much for Charlie to survive, the aggressive cancer and damage from treatment overcame him.”

When the tumors came back in round three, resources for treatment were running out. He HAD to be diagnosed with the rare cancer that is so underfunded and had no cure or real treatment plan. It was a 3-year survival rate at the time. No treatment, no clinical trials, nothing. Time was running out. “The worst thing you can be told, there is nothing left for us to do, was exactly what we heard.” Kathleen added, “However there was one more option, we could go to Canada for more chemo, but we learned that more chemo could either cause more cancer because it breaks down the body causing more vulnerability for cancer to take hold, or could destroy the cancer. Every single family member of Charlie’s began researching every option, every doctor, every possible life change Charlie could make that could save him. Was it worth the risk? So many unknowns for this cancer. He chose to go to Canada for treatment, then when that didn’t seem to get it, tried Mexico. Flying back to Houston, Charlie got extremely ill and had to be taken by ambulance where we discovered everything was shutting down. He no longer could eat and had to eat from a feeding tube making him weaker, in return making the trip to Houston for another surgery impossible. Memphis was recommended for surgery.”