Brain tumor survivor from Horseheads runs NYC marathon to raise awareness


HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Leslie Shelhamer is a brain tumor survivor from Horseheads, N.Y. and she’s running the New York City Marathon in hopes to bring awareness and raise money for brain cancer research and treatment.

Shelhamer was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 15 and underwent surgery at 17 years old. She says the surgery was not supposed to be complicated, but she fell into a coma for three days, following the surgery.

“Oh my god, I was so lucky… I was so lucky to be alive,” said Shelhamer.

Thirty years later she is now 47 years old. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of her surgery, she is running the  New York City Marathon, inspired by her friend Sean, who had his own battles with brain tumors.

“He’s actually the inspiration for why I am running on behalf of the National Brain Tumor Society… I’m doing this in honor of him… and he had a tougher road than myself,” said Shelhamer.

The upcoming NYC Marathon will be her fifth marathon, but she said training this year has been different. Because this time, she’s running on behalf of the National Brain Tumor Society and all brain tumor warriors across the country.

“It’s really been a different experience, you know, I’m not going into this for me…I will be representing the National Brain Tumor Society and I will be thinking of my friend Sean the entire way,” said Shelhamer.

Currently, there are only five FDA-approved treatments for brain cancer. With limited research and scientific advancement around this cancer, there is a dire need for more research funding, so that patients and caregivers get the treatment and care they deserve. 

So far, Shelhamer has raised over $3000, all of which will be going to NBTS. If you would like to donate to Leslie’s fundraiser and support brain tumor research and treatment, you can donate online at her fundraiser link:

Leslie will be running with 20 other NYC Marathon runners impacted by brain cancer on Saturday, November 6th in NYC’s Central Park from 12-2 PM EST.

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