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Doctors, kids throw punches for cancer

2 February 2014 By Stephanie G-Munguia, Staff Writer One Comment

When Towson 1994 alum Beth Fisher’s husband was diagnosed with brain cancer, the two did not give up.

Instead, they decided to ‘keep punching.’

“We just wanted to raise some money to go towards research [for brain diseases],” Beth Fisher said.

Beth Fisher and her husband Daron Fisher co-founded the nonprofit organization Keep Punching after her husband was diagnosed in August of 2010.

Though Daron Fisher died of brain cancer in August 2013, the work he began with his wife lives on.

The organization funds research by Dr. Fabio Iwamoto, a neuro-oncologist that now works at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Iwamoto, along with pathologists and other researchers, follows many cases that deal with brain cancer in order to find a cure or at least medication that will help patients’ longevity, Beth Fisher said.

In addition to funding research, Keep Punching also works to help those who are affected by brain diseases.

“We’re not like a Make-a-Wish organization. We want to help people who have brain cancer or had brain cancer and have kind of side effects. Daron lost use of his left side from the radiation in 2010,” Beth Fisher said. “The aftermath from [radiation] didn’t set in until a couple years later. So that’s like the other chapter of Keep Punching, but we still want to fund research because that’s also extremely important.”

Keep Punching also inspired Beth Fisher and Daron Fisher’s children to do their part.

After Daron Fisher’s death, his children Alana Fisher, 11, and Emory Fisher, 8, formed Keep Punching, Jr.

The two gathered some of their friends and planned events where all proceeds went to the organization.

Keep Punching, Jr. raised $1,000 from selling homemade calendars for people who wanted to organize their radiation and chemotherapy appointments.

“In October [2013], we went [to New York] to present [Dr. Iwamoto and his researchers] with the check of $1,000.  [The Institute] is really fascinating like it’s $3 million for just one microscope. It was pretty wild,” Beth Fisher said.

In 2012, the American Brain Tumor Association reported that for every 100,000 people in the U.S., approximately 221 people survive following the diagnosis of a brain tumor.

There are two types of brain tumors: primary brain tumors and metastatic brain tumors.

Between the two types, metastatic brain tumors are the most common. Daron Fisher was diagnosed with a primary brain tumor that was already at Stage 4.

“Generally with people in Stage 4, I believe the average is nine to 18 months survival. Because we had such cutting edge treatment and we had the means to get supplements, acupuncture, physical therapy and all the things that insurance doesn’t really cover, [Daron Fisher] fought a really good fight,” Beth Fisher said. And his fight is one that will be remembered.

“I remember throughout all of his therapies and doctor appointments, he was always using metaphors like ‘Let’s give it an uppercut’ or ‘Knock this out.’ He used all sorts of boxing metaphors,” Beth Fisher said.

That’s where Keep Punching got its name, Beth Fisher said.

When Daron Fisher was a young boy, his uncle attended a premiere for the boxing movie “Rocky II,” where he was able to get an autograph signed by actor Sylvester Stallone, Beth Fisher said.

Stallone wrote “To Daron: Keep Punching! Signed, Stallone.”

Keep Punching, Inc. is a local organization and is planning events that will occur in May and later in the fall.

To find out more about Keep Punching, Inc., go to keeppunching.org or facebook.com/Keeppunchinginc.

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