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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyApril 23, 20184min355

Last summer, we told you about Denver City Council President Albus Brooks celebrating one year cancer free.

He had won a battle with Chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer of the bone. He won a battle with a 15-pound malignant tumor in his back, after two surgeries lasting some 20 hours. And Brooks, who represents Denver’s District 9, had defied the odds, leaving the hospital several days early following surgery, returning to the helm at the Denver City Council after just four weeks of medical leave and even snowboarding after being told he would never be able to hit the slopes again.

Unfortunately, Brooks is preparing for another battle with cancer, announcing on social media earlier this week his cancer had returned. He’ll undergo surgery to remove a grape-size tumor the first week of May after doctors discovered it during a checkup, according to his post. Read Brooks’ full social media post below:

Nearly two years ago I was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare form of skeletal cancer. One year later my family and I celebrated a full year being cancer free. Today, I write to share some difficult news.

During a recent check up this month, doctors found another small tumor. In 2016 the tumor in my body was the size of a cantaloupe; this one is the size of a grape. My surgery to remove the tumor is scheduled for the first week of May, after which I will be recovering for two weeks at home.

I share this news with you the same week that I will be a guest speaker at CancerCon, a conference uniting young adult patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates. While this recent update certainly changes a few details in my life, it definitely does not change my message of hope and resilience.

My story is not defined by cancer, yet cancer has shown me the powerful beauty of human capacity.

Like the capacity of individual grit when forced to fight for your life. Cancer does not discriminate, and I’ve met countless people who have had to engage in this same capacity for resilience in their own fight. My strength comes from those that have suffered and survived, as well as those who have lost their lives.

More than anything else, I have witnessed the capacity my family has to love fully. Their capacity to bring me joy and peace knows no limits, and it is with them that I will find my greatest encouragement in coming months.

It is in that spirit that I ask for Denver to keep me in your prayers. But not just me – there are people in our community that are going through the same thing, but don’t have the public position or fancy title. Because of this, they are often more alone. Don’t forget about them.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 20, 20175min1353

 

When a U.S. House committee holds the first-ever hearing on Down syndrome research next week, Colorado’s groundbreaking work and generous philanthropy will be in the spotlight.

The House Health and Human Services Subcommittee is scheduled to hear testimony on science and discoveries on major diseases next Wednesday morning.

More specifically, “on current and future research funding priorities to accelerate scientific discovery that will benefit individuals with Down syndrome and lead to new therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other major diseases.”

On a five-member panel of experts, three are from Colorado: Michelle Sie Whitten, founder, CEO and president of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and Frank Stephens, the Quincy Jones Advocate for the Denver-based foundation, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as Dr. Joaquin M. Espinosa. executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The congressional committee will hear about a project at the Crnic Institute at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Campus about connections between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s and other major diseases.

The Crnic Institute Human Trisome Project will recruit 1,000 people with Down syndrome and 500 people without it, so researchers can sequence and study several layers of genomics. The institute has enrolled 300 people in the project’s first 11 months.

“People with Down syndrome have a different disease spectrum,” Espinosa said in a statement. “The Crnic Institute HTP will allow us to redefine Down syndrome from the least scientifically understood condition to one of the best understood conditions. In addition, it will provide unprecedented understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune conditions, cancers and other medical conditions that people with Down syndrome are either very predisposed to or protected from, eventually enabling the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.”

Researchers so far have found that people with Down syndrome will develop the same pathology as Alzheimer’s, but nearly 40 percent will never get dementia. Less than 1 percent of people with Down syndrome will ever develop any solid-tumor cancer, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and other forms of the disease.

The bioscience technology company Biogen has committed more than $500,000 plus in-kind support for the research project, with $1 million from the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and a matching $1 million from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

The National Institutes for Health is bracing for the possibility of budget cuts requested by the White House, and it’s counting on Congress to push back.

The lead federal agency on medical research has a budget of $34.1 billion this year. President Trump wants that lowered to $26.9 billion in his first budget. The House approved $35.2 billion in its budget bill last month, and the Senate figure is $36.1 billion so far.

The subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee has 30 Republicans and 22 Democrats, but none of them are from Colorado.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated to include Frank Stephens’ residency.)


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Jared WrightJared WrightApril 11, 20176min387

Trumpcare was defeated and the Affordable Care Act saved from repeal last month thanks in large part to the American public. They spoke out passionately on behalf of the ACA in phone calls and emails to their members of Congress. They raised their voices at events like the community forum in Denver where 1,000 of my constituents showed up, the rally that I held where 500 people attended and the listening session where men and women of all ages told their stories about how the ACA has changed their lives for the better.


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Jared WrightJared WrightDecember 13, 20164min1762

President Obama has just signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. This landmark legislation makes significant investments in biomedical research. It will lead to new treatments for some of the most vexing medical challenges, including diseases that touch many Americans, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. But without health insurance coverage, millions of people might not be able to access the new treatments that we worked so hard on a bipartisan basis to enable under Cures. No amount of ground-breaking discoveries will save people who can’t afford to pay for treatment.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 22, 20164min246

Colorado is falling short supporting policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer. According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Colorado measured up to recommendations in only 3 of the 10 issue areas ranked. The report was released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.