Will Mumford was diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor, at age 14. These tumors can be treated with surgery, radiation, cyst drainage, or intra-cystic injections. When Will first experienced symptoms such as headaches and changes in his vision, he was not sure what he was facing.
Like most brain tumors, craniopharyngiomas can cause obstructive hydrocephalus and subsequent symptoms of that – nausea, vomiting and worsened head pain. Statistically, about 35% of these tumors recur. The side effects of these tumors are significant and include cognitive issues, visual disturbances, endocrine abnormalities, decreased height, and obesity, to name a few.
Will was initially treated with surgery at Johns Hopkins, where a 4 cm tumor was removed. Three months after surgery, an MRI showed that his tumor was regrowing. His surgeon, Eric M. Jackson, M.D., referred Will for proton radiation treatment at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) under the direction of Young Kwok, M.D. While surgery is life-saving, it is not without side effects. Today, Will faces ongoing visual disturbances, endocrine abnormalities, fatigue, and obesity. He returns to the MPTC for scans every six months.
During the pandemic, Will continued his education remotely at Severna Park High School. He will graduate in June 2021 and plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College in September 2021. Will plans to participate in AACC’s Entrepreneurial Studies Institute, take art classes in pottery and sculpture, and continue to increase his proficiency in Spanish.
Despite his diagnosis and extensive side effects, Will has lived life to the fullest as a teenager. During high school, Will participated in the Maryland History Club, the Unified Bowling team, and Tech Crew for high school productions. As a Sophomore, Will was selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar (HOBY). Will has also won a handful of ribbons for his pottery in the county fair and belongs to a church youth group where he led a small group.
With the support of his parents, Eileen and David, and his two older brothers Thomas and Andrew, Will continues to participate in artistic and creative pursuits including pottery, sculpture, paper making, mosaic work and photography.
During the pandemic, he has been active in various Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation online groups. He was invited to join a leadership group to learn how to mentor younger brain tumor survivors and patients. This summer, Will hopes to visit his cousins in North Carolina and his brother who is in graduate school in Philadelphia.