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A cancer survivor in Woodstock hopes to help another cancer sufferer be a survivor -- with the help of the public

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Brittnie, husband Tim Gray, and 17 month-old Pippa, seen outside their Woodstock home. The family is grateful for community and medical support during the 18-month struggle for Brittnies and Pippas lives. Brittnie wants to give back by organizing an April 30th Half Marathon, with all proceeds going to another mother with cancer.  Life can bring so many unexpected events; Woodstock resident Brittnie Gray knows this well. When she and her husband Tim were expecting their first child, the unthinkable happened.

Brittnie was twenty weeks pregnant in the summer of 2020. She began having discomfort that she thought that was normal for pregnancy. But when it became more severe she went to the Emergency Room, where the doctors told her she was having liver failure.

After being checked into the Providence ICU, scans showed she had tumors throughout her lungs, liver, kidney, and pancreas, and a life-threatening tumor pressing up against her heart.

They knew that any chance of saving Brittnie's life, and that of their unborn child, depended on immediate treatment. Her OB and Oncology team came up with a plan with the least side effects for both mother and her unborn baby. They both experienced four rounds of chemotherapy, a liver stent placement, and many lab draws and IVs.

On October 24th of 2020, their daughter Pippa was born, at 32 weeks of gestation. She spent 42 days in the Intensive Care Unit after emergency surgery, and then went home when she could breathe without a ventilator.

Brittnie's blood cancer, however, continued to progress. There seemed to be little hope of saving her life. The family of three, though, continued to live together with as much happiness and hope as they could muster for their own sake, and that of their new daughter.

A clinical trial treatment called CAR-T developed at OHSU attracted their attention, and Brittnie transferred her care to a team at OHSU. After immunotherapy and radiation, the tumors pressing on her heart shrank enough for the medical team to feel comfortable moving forward with the CAR-T treatment.

CAR-T is becoming known as a favorable future cancer treatment, and it quickly began to work in Brittnie. It will continue for twelve months inside her body, with no need for additional treatments.

Brittnie grew stronger as days progressed, and she and Tim began to wonder how they could show their gratitude for all of the support they had been receiving from nurses, doctors, and friends, during the very difficult eighteen months they had spent going through treatments – and staying a combined total of 100 days in the hospital.

They decided to organize a Half Marathon as a benefit to raise $15,000 for another mother with cancer. Brittnie's OHSU medical team has selected a single mother with a three-year old child. The mother has the same Lymphoma and oncologist as Brittnie.

So, the "B Strong Half Marathon" will be held on Saturday, April 30th, starting a 10 a.m. at the Homestead Schoolhouse, 4121 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. To raise the needed funds for the beneficiary, the race registration fee is set at $60. To register, and learn more about B Strong, go online – www.eventcreate.com/e/bstonghalfmarathon

And you don't have to run to help. To show support, but without running, donations are greatly welcomed. Pay by Venmo account: @BStrong-HalfMarathon, or Pay Pal Brittnie Gray at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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