Local students to raise funds for brain cancer

By: Elizabeth Scussel | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 4, 2015

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — A group of local students is inviting the community to walk hand-in-hand for a cure at the fourth annual Mind Over Matter 5K Walk/Run.

The event will kick off at 7:30 a.m. May 10 at Bloomfield Hills Middle School.

Involved in the event planning are the Pilibosian sisters, of Bloomfield Hills — Mary, 18; Susie, 17; Emilie, 15; and Maggie, 12 — and the Grombala sisters, of Beverly Hills — Colleen, 17; and Emily, 12.

“We feel we have created an awareness in our community among not just adults, but teens. I feel we are doing something really good, and we can’t thank (enough) all the people who support us every year,” said Susie Pilibosian.

To date, the ladies have raised nearly $25,000 to fund awareness and research for brain tumors. Last year alone, the team raised $10,000.

Proceeds benefit the Brain Tumor Fund — a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 by Michigan-native neurosurgeon Dr. Tony Asher.

The BTF provides support to science and clinical research efforts involving brain tumor clinicians and leading university centers. It seeks to create opportunities for the development of novel treatment options for brain tumor patients and their families.

Last year, the money raised was matched by the National Brain Tumor Society and earmarked for designated research in the name of Mike Rado —  a former Lahser High School swimming coach who lost his battle last year.

Asher is a Brother Rice graduate and the Pilibosian girls’ uncle.

“We see the incredible things he does, and we wanted to help. It makes us feel great to do this,” said Emilie Pilibosian.

This year’s event is dedicated to 12-year-old Emily Grombala, who suffers from an ependymoma — a recurrent type of tumor that arises from the tissue of the central nervous system.

Grombala — who is currently a sixth-grader at St. Regis Grade School in Bloomfield Hills — has undergone multiple surgeries for the condition, and said living with a brain tumor has been quite a challenging feat over the past few years.

“But I’m thankful for all my friends and family who support me each day, and I look forward to this walk every year,” she said.

The ladies agree that the Bloomfield community has been more than supportive, and currently the event has 10 local sponsors, as well as a slew of local sports teams participating, including the girls lacrosse teams from Bloomfield Hills and Marian high schools.

“The generosity is endless,” said Teresa Pilibosian, the girls’ mother. “It feels so great to be able to donate this money. We have learned a small amount of money can make such a difference in any research. We don’t know how or when this terrible disease will be cured, but we are doing what we can. We  know that when Emily Grombala says she looks so forward to this event, that’s what matters. Thats what makes you feel incredible. She’s the champion.”

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Bloomfield Hills Middle School, located at 4200 W. Quarton Road. The cost is $15 per person and $50 per family. Leashed dogs are welcome.

For more information or to make a donation, visit  www.active.com/donate/mindovermatter2k15.

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