Oct. 22 is a special day for Colorado Springs resident Emily Brown, 22. It’s not her birthday or a special family holiday – it’s the anniversary of the day that Emily found out she was dying. It’s Emily’s “Glad to Be Alive Day.”
When she was 12, Emily was diagnosed with cancer. Her tumor wrapped around her ribs and her spinal cord, causing brief paralysis. She underwent extensive treatment at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, including several surgeries, chemo and radiation. Emily had two more rounds of chemo left to complete her treatment when she found out that not only had a tumor grown where her original tumor had been, but it had metastasized to her lung. On Oct. 22, Emily’s doctor told her that she had three months to live.
But three months came and went. After a brief check-up, doctors at Children’s discovered something they couldn’t explain. The tumor on Emily’s lung was shrinking and her original tumor turned out not to be a tumor at all. “It’s nothing short of a miracle,” Emily says.
So every Oct. 22, Emily has “Glad to Be Alive Day,” where she celebrates beating cancer and overcoming paralysis, and when she reminds herself to continue to overcome the challenges that each day brings. Ten years later, Emily still visits The Children’s Hospital on a consistent basis as she continues to deal with different complications.
Emily also celebrates Oct. 22 by writing a “Glad to Be Alive” letter to her friends and family. This year’s letter will include something new. Emily will tell friends and family about her ride in the "Courage Classic whch is a three-day cycling event that benefits The Children’s Hospital. Despite having 43 percent lung functionality. With her tandem partner Dr. Travis, Emily conquered the 157-miles through the high country to say thank you to an organization that holds a special place in her heart.