While attending a clinical trial at Duke University for her son Noah, Lori Evans saw a Vs. Cancer sticker placed on the side of the DVD player in the treatment room. She thought of the great memories Noah experienced thanks to the K-State Baseball team and their fundraising efforts with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Vs. Cancer program. She later discovered the trial was partially funded by PBTF. “I felt like the Kansas State baseball team, Vs. Cancer, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, everyone was there with us, with Noah, during that treatment,” shares Lori.
In September 2019, at twelve-years-old, Noah was diagnosed with diffused glioma with a H3-K27M mutation, a rare, aggressive form of brain tumor. Most of his journey was miraculous. He showed very few symptoms and was able to continue with some of his favorite activities, including pickleball, soccer, and musical theater. Seven months into his journey, scans started showing progression of disease as his one tumor that started in his thalamus progressed to his brain stem and cerebellum. Although Noah had four brain tumors at the time, he was still surprisingly healthy considering his diagnosis.
In October 2020, the Evans family connected with the Kansas State Baseball team right after their annual “Shave for the Brave” Vs. Cancer event where every K-State player voluntarily shaves their head to show solidarity in support of cancer research. Since 2018, Kansas State Baseball has changed the game for kids with cancer, earning the rank of top Vs. Cancer fundraiser four years in a row. When Noah met K-State’s players over Zoom, he left an impression on the team, who made him an honorary member and even gave him his own locker and uniform.
On January 14, 2021, Noah passed away following his battle with brain cancer. Although he never had an opportunity to meet the team in person, he still lives on within the K-State Baseball program. This past K-State Baseball season was dedicated to player #1, Noah Evans, and each player had his initials, “NE,” embroidered on their hat.
“Through our mission with 19Ways and our partnership with Vs. Cancer, we’ve been fortunate to connect with some incredible families and the Evans family is no exception. Noah needed to know he had others standing beside him in his fight and through it all, his courageousness and spirit was an inspiration and had a profound impact on our entire team. He will always be a Wildcat!” said K-State Baseball head coach Pete Hughes. Hughes has been a part of the Vs. Cancer program with multiple teams throughout the last 12 years and currently serves as a Vs. Cancer ambassador, hoping to inspire other teams across the country to support children and their families struggling with a brain tumor diagnosis.
When it came time for their 2021 “Shave for the Brave,” K-State raised over $35k, securing their top Vs. Cancer fundraiser spot once again. The Evans family was unable to attend the game; however, a video from Noah’s parents was broadcasted during the game, which allowed them to thank the team for supporting their family and other kids like Noah.
As a signature fundraising campaign of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Vs. Cancer helps fuel child-life programs at near-by hospitals and funds national pediatric brain tumor research. We encourage all organized sports teams at all levels to participate in our 2022 National Event so that children can enjoy a brighter future. Learn more here.
About the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Every day, 13 children and teens are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the deadliest and most common form of cancer in kids under 15. Every day after, they are in a fight for their life. It’s a fight the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is here to help families win. A leader in the brain tumor and childhood cancer communities, PBTF’s mission of Care. Cure. Thrive. reflects its commitment to curing all pediatric brain tumors and transforming how children and their families are cared for. Since 1991, PBTF has provided strategic leadership and funding to accelerate the number of targeted therapies for children battling brain tumors today, while equipping families with the patient-family education, financial relief, and emotional support they need to navigate their child’s journey. A world without childhood brain tumors is possible when we work together to put kids first. Learn more at www.curethekids.org.