Billy Grey died of glioblastoma multiforme on July 13, 2001, just short of his 13th birthday. His life was always one of remarkable strength, courage, and love. Billy was at ease with people of all ages, giving him insight and sensitivity to others. Billy never once lost his passion and spirit for life. He was an exceptional athlete, whether it was hockey, baseball or any sport. Billy loved his three years at Albany Academy where he grew scholastically and as a human being. He was honored with the Simmons Award at the Academy upon completion of the sixth grade and was posthumously granted an honorary degree for completion of middle school. In honor of Billy, the school established a scholarship in his name for the seventh grade student who exemplifies the true character of the Academy.
Billy participated in all medical decisions that affected him and he allowed me, his father, to fundraise on his behalf for The Brain Tumor Society. I recall when I asked Billy early on in his diagnosis (after emergency surgery in 1999) for his permission to participate in the Ride for Research for TBTS, Billy responded "What do you want to do?" I immediately answered that I wanted to do it. Billy said, "Then do it!"
This research chair will be strengthened by the spirit and character in which Billy lived his life and changed the lives of those he encountered. His family experienced unsurpassed dedication from medical personnel in the search to cure brain tumors.
The Duke team was and is exceptional in giving help to patients diagnosed with all grades of brain tumors. Because of this, Billy's diagnosis of 21-24 weeks turned into 21 months. He continued to battle the disease by participating in the Phase I/II clinical trial of SU5416 conducted at Dana- Farber. During the six-week trial, traveling from Saratoga Springs, NY at 4 A.M. to Boston two times a week, Billy continued to attend school.
Billy would have wanted his struggles to have meaning and make a difference for those to come. As a testament to his courage, on December 30,2001, Billy's close friend and I had the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch in Saratoga Springs in his memory.
Ken Grey ~ Father
To foster public support of a vision of a world where brain tumors no longer exist as a deadly and debilitating illness. To fund promising medical research and applications in the specific brain tumor field and promote collaboration with all cancer communities. To empower all brain tumor patients, families, and constituency in their journey for positive and strengthened outcomes for a better life. To attain this vision by energizing the peers and community where Billy Grey lived, emulating his courage, spirit and love of life, no matter what the challenge and how high the bar is set.