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Getting Inside the Heads of Capitol Hill
Date:5/5/2009

Bobby Murcer Mobile MRI Unit in Washington, D.C. for Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Provides Free Brain Scans to Members of Congress, Staff and Government Agency Officials

NEW YORK, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Road to Early Detection Campaign, a project of The Brain Tumor Foundation (BTF), has brought the "Bobby Murcer" Mobile MRI Unit to Capitol Hill. On Monday and Tuesday, May 4th and May 5th, the Unit is parked on Maryland Avenue and 3rd Street SW on the north corner, opposite the U.S. Botanic Gardens and has conducted a record 60 brain scans.

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL), who was instrumental in helping to bring the Mobile MRI Unit to Washington, D.C., and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) join Dr. Patrick J. Kelly, President and Founder of The Brain Tumor Foundation, in front of the Mobile Unit to highlight the importance of early detection and in recognition of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Free MRI brain scans have been offered to members of the House, Senate and their staff as well as government agency officials for the two days that the Bobby Murcer Mobile MRI Unit is parked in Washington, D.C.

"Unfortunately, I know the heartache associated with losing someone to cancer, as so many Americans have also experienced," says Rep. Aderholt. "Early detection is the key to treating most diseases and illnesses, and even more so when it comes to brain tumors. That's why this Mobile MRI Unit has the potential of being such a powerful tool in fighting tumors and detecting cancer."

"I wholeheartedly applaud The Brain Tumor Foundation's early detection screening program for brain tumors, using quick, safe, radiation-free MRI brain scans," says Rep. Engel. "These brain scans will provide important health information early on, when treatment is most successful. I have encouraged my colleagues to come see the Mobile MRI Unit while it is on Capitol Hill."

"Regrettably," explains Dr. Kelly, "by the time brain tumors become symptomatic, most are incurable. With our best modern treatments, all we can offer is a small gift of time. After 40 years of doing brain tumor surgeries, I am firmly convinced that early detection is the best insurance that treatment will be effective and that more lives will be saved."

We believe that possibly half of all brain tumor patients could have their tumors successfully removed for good if they were detected early, before physical symptoms become apparent. And the only way to detect a tumor early is through the use of MRI brain scans. We have grown accustomed to routinely checking for breast, colon, prostate and other cancers -- why not brain tumors?

The Road to Early Detection Mobile MRI Unit focuses on outreach to communities -- particularly for those under-served in the five boroughs of New York City. It is set up in places where people work, study and live in order to make brain screenings, and thereby early detection, accessible and cost free. A successful campaign in New York City will be used to launch a nationwide effort for affordable brain scans. The Road to Early Detection marks the start of the first-ever national campaign promoting early detection of brain tumors.

In the six months that the Mobile MRI Unit has been traveling, over 1,200 people have received brain scans. Although the scans are meant as a screening tool for brain tumors and not a means of diagnosis, degenerative diseases and other abnormalities including MS, aneurisms, and Alzheimer's have also been discovered.

With each new location that the Mobile MRI Unit visits, the demand becomes greater and the waiting list for appointments grows larger. Road to Early Detection has many more miles to cover as The Brain Tumor Foundation works to expand the campaign coast-to-coast by providing the public with affordable brain scans through mobile and fixed centers.

"This two day stop at Capitol Hill is meant to highlight the importance of early detection," explains Dr. Kelly, "We thank 38lemon.org, an organization created by David Welch -- an advocate and strong proponent of Early Detection who lost his battle with brain cancer this year -- for the support that made it possible for us to bring the Mobile MRI to Washington, D.C. At the same time we express our gratitude to Congressman Aderholt for paving our way to the Capitol and easing the Mobile Unit into its new parking spot."

For the most up-to-date information regarding the whereabouts of the Mobile MRI Unit visit www.roadtoearlydetection.org.

The Brain Tumor Foundation, is a not for profit organization established in 1998 that guides and supports patients and their families during the turbulent times when their lives are touched by a brain tumor while working to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of brain tumors. BTF offers support groups, medical referrals, peer matching programs, sponsors the annual Brain Tumor Awareness Day conference in NYC, in addition to its informational website, www.braintumorfoundation.org.

David Welch, a great friend to The Brain Tumor Foundation lost his battle with brain cancer on January 7, 2009.

David fought his illness with courage and dignity. Through his efforts and the development of his website, 38lemon.org, David shared his personal battle and encouraged and inspired thousands of others also living with brain cancer. So named because of his diagnosis of a lemon-sized brain tumor at age 38, David received the James S. Elkin Memorial Award for Humanitarianism for the creation of this site which educates the public about brain cancer and provides a platform for those with brain cancer to communicate with others suffering with a similar diagnosis.


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SOURCE The Brain Tumor Foundation
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