Childhood Cancer Heroes

You are here

Brian Thomas

  • Spinal Cord Tumors

Click the images to see them larger above!

Learn more about
Spinal Cord Tumors

Get the facts about Spinal Cord Tumors and how our research projects are making a difference.

Learn More »

Brian Thomas was a normal 16-year-old.  He loved to play the drums, guitar and sing. He enjoyed going to high school where as a junior he had loads of friends and was backup quarterback for the football team. Brian was very athletic and could have easily played college football. In January 2010, Brian couldn't play his guitar anymore because he started experiencing weakness in his left hand. Long story short, he had a cancerous tumor in his upper spinal cord, an oligodendro glioma. It was removed, but doctors couldn't get all of it because of where it was located in the spinal cord. A very painful recovery followed including two months in the hospital, radiation and chemotherapy, and some corrective surgeries.

Brian made it to senior year. His friends made wristbands in an ivory color (to represent spinal cord cancer) with the words BT6 (football jersey was #6), COURAGE PERSEVERANCE HOPE written on them. These were the words that they felt Brian lived by.  Naturally, Brian was unable to play football anymore, which was heartbreaking, but he continued responsibilities as Captain of Sterling Heights High School Stallions Varsity Football and mentored the younger players. At the end of senior year, the cancer returned with a vengeance. By May he was paralyzed from the neck down. He missed prom, graduation commencements and all of the fun senior year experiences. We remained hopeful for help, but no one in the medical profession knew what to do. On July 31, pneumonia set in and he was admitted to the hospital, where he passed away on Sept. 29, 2011.

Cancer took away everything Brian loved – football, his guitar, his voice, and little by little - his life. But what we were about to learn, was that through his amazing legacy, more lives were touched and inspired by Brian than you could imagine. We would soon find out how those three words – courage, perseverance and hope – would have incredible meaning to many people. We have the COURAGE to move on; the PERSEVERANCE to continue to raise money for awareness and research for spinal cord tumors, and the HOPE that someday there will be an end to this disease.

Written by Paula Thomas, Brian’s Mother


Next Hero

Donate in Honor of Brian Today!

Your donation helps to fund critically-needed research to find better treatments and cures for children with cancer.

Childhood Cancer Heroes

More Heroes

Wyatt has always been a happy and loving boy. When he started acting differently, his family knew something was seriously wrong. After a trip to the ER, Wyatt was soon diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Today he is still fighting.
Six-year-old Karina loves cooking so much, she has a YouTube channel where she shares her very own cooking videos. In August 2020, Karina was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that was Philadelphia chromosome-positive, but today she is NED!
At nearly 4 years old, Zoey is full of life! Zoey was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma and is currently on a clinical trial that will last for three years. Her family started their small shop, Zoey's Boweys, to help fund pediatric cancer research.
Cautious but curious, Avani was a rule-following, organized, fun-loving, and big-hearted little girl. Sadly, Avani passed away at 11 years old from a burst brain tumor. It wasn't until months later that her parents learned it was DIPG, cancer.