By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month, and a group of Minnesotans are Heading to the Hill to advocate with other survivors.

The force behind this movement is a woman from Royalton, Minnesota who has battled brain cancer for 17 years. Audra Popp used a positive attitude and hope to help herself and others fighting to find a cure.

Audra Popp is a 17-year brain cancer survivor. She’s had six surgeries in that time, each one an attempt to rid her of a rare form of brain cancer called Anaplastic Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma.

“In 1996 I had a gran mal seizure,” she said.

It wasnt until Audra had more headaches in 2000 that doctors used an MRI that showed a mass in her head.

“My tumor’s now called anti-plastiplomorfied,” she said. “It’s a rare tumor. Only 1 percent of brain tumors are that type.”

While fighting to save her own life, Audra also has been focused on finding a cure.

“It’s harder to treat,” she said. “There are only five pretty standard, FDA approved treatments for brain cancer, and I’ve exhausted all of them.”

Audra joined Brain Together for a Cure, a group focused on raising awareness about Brain Cancer. Last year she took members of the group to Washington, D.C. to spread awareness. This year, she will return to ask for help.

“We are hoping for increased funding for brain cancer research,” she said.

Audra has spent this 17-year journey helping others who are battling brain cancer. She uses her CaringBridge site to help others stay hopeful. That message falls in line with the motto she’s adopted that keeps her going..

“With hope, all things are possible,” she said. “Good or bad things happen to everyone, but what matters — what defines us — is how we handle them.”

Audra’s sixth brain surgery was just four weeks ago today. She has some issues with paralysis but with rehab is walking and ready to Head to Capitol Hill to advocate for herself and other cancer survivors.

Right now, her cancer is gone, but she continues to fight for money for research.


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