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Newton Woman Raises $200,000 for Brain Tumor Research

Lisa Shapiro, Local Hero

Lisa Shapiro, Local Hero

On May 18, Newton resident Lisa Shapiro will take part in the National Brain Tumor Society 20th annual Boston Brain Tumor Ride, an event aimed at increasing awareness and funding for critical brain tumor research in hopes of someday finding a cure. Nearly 20 years ago, Lisa was diagnosed with a Grade 1 Astrocytoma brain tumor at the young age of 20. Lisa had surgery immediately to remove the tumor and after undergoing a few weeks of physical therapy and promising her physician that she would undergo radiation the following summer, Lisa was able to go back to school on time.

While away at college, Lisa continued to have partial seizures—sometimes as many as six a day—that were controlled through medication and she underwent acupuncture treatments in her dorm room as well as medication changes. She wore a hairpiece and baseball hat to ensure that outwardly she looked no different than anyone else. Remarkably, Lisa graduated on time with her friends and went right into six weeks of radiation treatment.

Following surgery, Lisa strived to have the ordinary life that she had always envisioned. She went to graduate school and became a teacher, wife and mother of two young children. Eleven years passed with Lisa’s tumor remaining unchanged until her seizures drastically increased to nearly 100 partial seizures a day. She then had to undergo another invasive brain surgery to removing the growing mass. The operation caused her to lose significant movement in her right side, leaving her right leg permanently disabled. She still wears a brace today to help her with walking. Remarkably, she later gave birth to a third child, not letting the idea of being partially handicapped stop her from living the life she had always envisioned.

Since Lisa was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago, her family and friends have taken part in the National Brain Tumor Society’s Boston Brain Tumor Ride to support Lisa in her battle with a brain tumor. Family and friends have ridden every year on her behalf and after her second surgery seven years ago, formed the team “Lisa’s Riders.” The team is made up of important people in Lisa’s life, many of who ride in memory of a family member or friend. Lisa’s Riders ride to help find a cure so people will not have to worry what their future holds if they receive a brain tumor diagnosis. Remarkably, to date, Lisa’s Riders has raised almost $200,000.

To learn more about the Boston Brain Tumor Ride or to donate and support “Lisa’s Riders,” please visit: www.braintumorride.org/Boston