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Even a Rare and Fatal Brain Tumor Couldn't Stop Katie

March 19, 2017

The story of Katie Corun, as told by her mother, Kathy.

I would like to first thank GBMC for the opportunity to tell my family's story to such a dedicated, professional and caring institution. GBMC is among the very best hospitals, in my opinion.

In the fall of 2011, my daughter lost part of her vision in her right eye during a neurology lecture. She had been married only nine months and was fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse. She was seen by a neuro-ophthalmologist at a Baltimore hospital, evaluated and sent for a brain MRI. In short, she endured a nine-hour brain surgery, only to get a biopsy. She was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma, a rather rare and fatal brain tumor that was malignant and inoperable.
Katie and her husband, Ron

Soon after, she was evaluated and treated by a group of specialists at the brain tumor center at Duke University in North Carolina. Due to the distance between her home in Harford County, Maryland and Duke, she had to find a local oncologist that would agree to treat and follow her. We were very fortunate to have GBMC agree to take her as a patient.

Dr. Gary Cohen began a care and treatment program in late fall of 2011, which continues to this day. I can't think of a more professional, brilliant, courteous and kind man than Dr. Cohen. He has taken such good care of my daughter, and has been a huge champion in her welfare as she fights to live the most normal life possible. My son-in-law is at every appointment with my daughter and it is obvious that Dr. Cohen doesn't just treat my daughter, he is very concerned and attentive to the well-being of my son-in-law as well.

I never thought that physicians were great at treating and caring for the entire family unit, but it's apparent that Dr. Cohen is not the average physician, by any measure. He is calm, very kind, dedicated, and continually goes beyond the scope of a physician. He has always been prompt and available after his normal business hours, which has been very reassuring to both my daughter and her husband.

As for the Emergency Department staff, that too, has been more than amazing. My daughter has had the best care and treatment from the understanding physicians, nurses, radiology team and supporting staff members. It seems they remember her as she has unfortunately landed in the ED on several occasions over the past three years.

She has been on the oncology floor as an inpatient on several occasions. The care and treatment she received there was amazing. They are true professionals and have been so kind and caring. Their attitude and ethic has made her long stays endurable.

On a couple of occasions, my daughter has had care and treatment by a few other physicians at GBMC. They are as follows: Dr. Michael Sellman, Division Chief of Neurology; Dr. Niraj Jani, Chief, Digestive Disease Division and Dr. Marc Dubin, Otolaryngology Specialist. Again, these physicians are tremendously kind, caring and experts in their respective fields. Collectively, they have given my daughter the best care and shown the most concern of any physician we have dealt with on a local level.
Katie with Dr. Michael Sellman
Katie with Dr. Michael Sellman
Katie at the infusion center
Katie, with her always positive attitude in the Infusion Center.

During my daughter's course of treatment she received IV chemotherapy for two years. Every other Friday she would visit the GBMC Infusion Center and stay for hours. An amazing group of kind nurses and support staff work there. Calling my daughter by her first name and taking away the normal fears that any cancer patient would experience was first class all the way.

I'm not too sure where my family would be without the care and treatment my daughter has received from GBMC. We are happy to report that my daughter, Katie, beat all odds! She is a full-time nurse and working on a medical surgical floor in a Harford county hospital. In just a couple of days, Katie will celebrate being brain tumor-free for two years. Her past MRI scans show no tumor re-growth and she has regained her vision back.

Thank you to all of the staff and support teams at GBMC for all of your care and help with what has been the most difficult time of Katie's life. We continue to seek out treatment at GBMC and return for continued monitoring of Katie's brain in hopes that she remains a healthy, happy and productive member of society.

Lastly, I can't think of anywhere in the Maryland area that would provide such care and genuine concern to a fragile, complex and frightened young lady diagnosed with a brain tumor. GBMC stands high on my list as the very best hospital. My daughter is alive, working full-time and is brain tumor-free as of March 8, 2013. I have so much to be thankful for...thank you GBMC!!!
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