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Ohio boy, 15, who beat cancer twice, pushes for more federal research money

By Jessica Wehrman • Jun 23, 2016 at 2:00 PM

WASHINGTON — When Grant Reed of Bellville was diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2012, he didn’t want to talk about it.

Then 11, Grant was encouraged by medical staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to name the enemy — the tumor the size of a tennis ball size next to his brain stem. He went home and thought about it.

“I’m going to name it Michigan,” the Buckeyes fan told his father, Troy Reed. “Because Ohio State always beats Michigan."

What followed was a 16 1/2-hour surgery at Nationwide, followed by rehabilitation for complications from surgery. Then radiation and chemotherapy.

Eighteen months later, the doctors found another tumor, leading to a second, six-hour surgery.

“You truly have no idea what your kid is going to go through,” said Troy Reed. “The second time is rougher because you know what to expect.”

Now 15, Grant is a survivor of two tumors. Wednesday, he walked across Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers from Ohio, urging them to support giving more federal dollars for cancer research, part of Nationwide Children's Hospital's annual lobbying day in Washington.

During his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama announced a new cancer “ moonshot” initiative to accelerate cancer research. The effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, aims to make more therapies available to more patients while increasing cancer prevention and detection.

This month, a Senate panel passed a spending bill that gave the National Institutes of Health a $2 billion boost. The House has yet to pass an alternative. But the Reeds are hopeful.

They’re also grateful. They said that when Grant was diagnosed, they were happy to have Nationwide nearby for treatment. Troy Reed was familiar with the hospital; when he was a child, he spent two months at Nationwide being treated for an obstructed bowel. Oddly, he and Grant stayed in the same room.

Today, Grant wears a necklace around his neck with a pendant that resembles a pair of gold pants.

It’s identical to the one OSU players receive when they beat Michigan.

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©2016 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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