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December 9, 2021

Elaine’s Story: How Giving Back Is Helping Me Heal After the Death of My Husband

by Amelia Garrison

Elaine Lipworth, the Senior Content Writer at Thrive Global, discusses her journey through grief after her husband’s death from brain cancer, and how donating to Pacific Neuroscience Institute helped her heal.

A life-altering diagnosis

Elaine and her husband Stephen shared unconditional love for 29 years. They had many memorable moments with their daughters Chace and Ava-Rose, including a family vacation to London for the summer Olympics.

Stephen, Elaine, and their family in London at the Olympics

However, their lives changed forever in March 2018 when Stephen was diagnosed with brainstem glioma. Brainstem glioma is a cancer of brainstem cells that spreads throughout the central nervous system.

After Stephen’s diagnosis, Elaine and her family began a life-altering journey through grief. They prayed for a cure and breakthrough in the neurosciences to save Stephen.

Expert care at Pacific Neuroscience Institute

Stephen was placed under the care of Dr. Santosh Kesari, expert neuro-oncologist at Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI), who ranks among the top 1% of neuro-oncologists and neurologists in the nation. Dr. Kesari is an internationally recognized scientist and clinician who believes that to cure patients with brain tumors we first need to gain a better molecular and biological understanding of the disease.

Elaine watched Dr. Kesari, and the experts at PNI, treat her husband with state-of-the-art cancer treatment and care.

Dr. Kesari is not just a brilliant scientist and a world leader in the field of neuro-oncology, he’s a warm, compassionate man. He and his team devoted so much care and personal attention to Stephen, doing everything in their power to try and make him better. They never gave up hope.

A startling realization

Up until Stephen was placed under the care of Dr. Kesari, brain cancer was not on Elaine’s radar. She did not realize how financially neglected brain cancer research is, or how suddenly one’s life can change once brain cancer is diagnosed.

She experienced the dedicated care of Dr. Kesari and his expert team as they treated Stephen, and recognized the importance of funding the neurosciences to find a cure for brain cancer. 

Although Stephen ultimately didn’t survive, our journey has been filled with blessings and support — gifts of all kinds — from friends and family members. In fact, giving has been a continuous uplifting theme throughout his illness. By donating money to brain cancer research, I’m feeling more positive about life.

Stephen lost the battle to brain cancer. After his death, Elaine was inspired to make a difference in the neurosciences so that no family has to endure the grief and pain that hers did.

The gift that keeps on giving

Elaine has continued the spirit of love and support that she received from her loved ones after Stephen’s passing, by donating to the neurosciences. She donated to Dr. Santosh Kesari’s neuroscience research at Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, where Stephen was treated.

Giving is rewarding; I view this gift as a seed. As I find my way in the world without the love of my life, I will seek out further meaningful ways to give back with gratitude.

Donating to the neurosciences helped lift Elaine out of grief, knowing that she was contributing to the lives of other families who experienced similar life-altering diagnoses.

Read Elaine’s full article here.

Elaine Lipworth

About Dr. Santosh Kesari

Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD

Neuro-oncologist Dr. Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurologist and is currently Chair and Professor, Department of Translational Neurosciences, Saint John’s Cancer Institute. He is the regional medical director of Providence Southern California’s Research Clinical Institute. Dr. Kesari is also Director of Neuro-oncology at Pacific Neuroscience Institute, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, and leads the Pacific Neuroscience Research Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

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About the Author

Amelia Garrison MPhil

Amelia Garrison

Amelia Garrison is the Marketing Specialist at Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI). Well versed in community outreach strategy and implementation, she leads the PNI blog, newsletter, and digital communications. Amelia oversees PNI's reputation management and community sponsorships.

Last updated: January 6th, 2022