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Robbie, Brain Cancer Patient

Meet Robbie

Brain Cancer Patient Nancy, Mother & Caregiver

“Life hands you a challenge and you just have to know how to go with what is there.”

Cancer is an undeniably serious disease. But you wouldn’t know it talking to Robbie. A perpetual jokester, he lives to make people smile.

But his sense of humor took some time off when he began noticing unusual symptoms at the age of 19. They started with terrible headaches and double vision. Believing it might be due to poor vision, he got his eyes checked.

The eye doctor suspected something far more serious. Robbie’s next stop was his local ER, where an MRI indicated glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer within the brain. After intensive chemotherapy, whole head radiation and two surgeries at an area hospital proved ineffective, he was sent to Moffitt Cancer Center.

At Moffitt, Robbie was part of a clinical trial, taking an experimental drug in addition to six weeks of radiation. To date, the results have been promising—and Robbie’s courage and mental approach have certainly helped. “Life hands you a challenge and you just have to know how to go with what is there,” he says.

Understandably, his mother was beside herself with fear. “I think the worst thing a parent feels is you have absolutely no control,” she says, adding, “and you don’t have any time to think about it.”

The biggest thing that helped was Robbie’s knack for making her laugh—even at the most inappropriate times. “He cracks me up all the time,” his mother says. “Even when we went to treatments.”

Robbie’s ability to control his fear with an infectious sense of humor comes from a place even he can’t explain. Perhaps it’s something very simple: he just believes in himself. 

His mother recalls what Robbie said to his Moffitt doctors early on. “Robbie was like, ‘You don’t understand. I don’t lose. I’m beating it. So, what do we do next?’”

Now that’s some serious courage.