Kennedy’s death heightens brain cancer awareness

    The man behind the driving force of brain tumor awareness in Delaware knows exactly how Senator Edward Kennedy’s loved ones must be feeling today.

    The man behind the driving force of brain tumor awareness in Delaware knows exactly how Senator Edward Kennedy’s loved ones must be feeling today.

    That’s because Chris Grundner of Wilmington watched his wife, Kelly, battle the brain tumor that took her life in 2004.

    “My wife and I were living the good life,” Grundner said. “We had good jobs and things were going well in 2002 and unfortunately she was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 29 and everything kind of came to a screeching halt.”

    After Kelley Heinz-Grundner died in 2004, Chris left his vice-president’s job with JP Morgan Chase and turned his efforts to raising awareness about brain tumors by establishing the KHG Foundation. Their catch phrase: Get your head in the game.

    The foundation hosted the first brain cancer awareness walk in Delaware in May 2008 with 2,000 particpants. This year the number topped 2,800.

    “I dedicated my life to raising awareness to this disease and bringing it into the national spotlight and really trying to get people diagnosed faster,” Grundner said.

    But when someone with Senator Kennedy’s fame falls victim to the disease, awareness goes to levels beyond what one foundation can accomplish.

    “In many ways we’re where breast cancer was 25 years ago and so there’s a lot of work to be done,” Grundner said. “So I’m saddened (about Kennedy’s death) but hopeful something can maybe come out of this tragedy. Sadly over 200,000 people are diagnosed every year with a brain tumor and often times the stories go missed.  But when something like this happens, Bob Novak is another person in the spotlight as well that passed last week, it brings more attention to the cause.”

    Now remarried and father to a 19 month old son, Cooper Kelly, Grundner is also using the KHG Foundation to help kids.  He’s been reaching out to children with brain tumors and their families at A.I. DuPont

    Visit the KHG foundation for more information.

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