My name’s Jack Guarino. I’m a 19 year old from the Washington, D.C. area. When I was 14, I was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor located in the roof of my brain stem. I immediately had surgery at Children’s National Medical Center because the tumor was blocking the drainage of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus). Six weeks after this procedure, a new mass appeared on my follow up scans. Due to this sudden growth, I underwent two biopsies to determine if my tumor was malignant, both of which were unsuccessful. Because of the risks involved with the locations of the masses, my doctors decided to wait to perform another biopsy and monitor their growth via frequent MRI scans. The amazing news is that my tumor has remained stable ever since!
Following my diagnosis, I suffered from a prolonged period of depression and anxiety. Not only was it hard for me to come to terms that I was living with an inoperable tumor in my head, but I also found it extremely hard to connect with my friends and family because they were unable relate to what I went through. Moreover, throughout my treatment, I never met a single young person who was going through something remotely similar to what I was experiencing that I could talk to. I wanted to work with TCA because I do not want any adolescent or young adult cancer patient to struggle in the ways that I did. It’s my hope that together, we can completely transform the way we treat AYA cancer patients.
Currently, I am a second year student at the University of Notre Dame where I am double majoring in Finance and Political Science. In addition to my work with TCA and other non-profits, I enjoy golfing, hanging out with my friends and family and supporting the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion, Washington Capitals!