Buffalo Goes Gray for Brain Cancer Research

Pictured: (Left to Right: Caitlin Walter, Dr. Robert Fenstermaker, Dr. Michael Ciesielski, and Alyson Walter) Caitlin and Alyson Walter of Buffalo Goes Gray present a check for $30,000 to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Picture being diagnosed with two brain tumors before the age of 25.

The first diagnosis came during my junior year of college, when I was only 20 years old. I underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but 5 years later, during a routine checkup, I found out that the tumor had grown back and I would need to endure another brain surgery."

After going through treatment the second time, I began a successful recovery and wanted to find a way to give back and help fight the terrible disease that has affected my life and the lives of so many others.

While figuring out what I could do to help, I found out about SurVaxM, a unique vaccine being studied as a treatment for glioblastoma at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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I decided that raising funds for brain cancer research would be my mission. In 2014, I founded Buffalo Goes Gray, a nonprofit organization to raise money and awareness for brain tumors and brain cancer. All the money we raise goes directly to the Department of Neuro-Oncology at Roswell Park, specifically to the continued research of SurVaxM. Along with raising brain cancer awareness, through our partnerships with Team Roswell, Buffalo Goes Gray has raised over $100,000 for research at Roswell Park.

While organizing the first fundraiser, I was amazed at how much the local community believed in this cause. In preparation for the event, family and friends started to recruit event sponsors and donations. Almost everyone I spoke with knew of someone who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor or had brain cancer. There was a lot of interest, and people were generously supporting the little fundraiser I had put together.

The event was held at Buffalo Iron Works, and about halfway through it, we had already reached capacity. When I stood on the stage to thank everyone for coming to support us, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up and were excited about the cause. I think it was at that point that I knew I wanted to keep Buffalo Goes Gray going for more than just that first event.

We raised $22,000 during that first event. We have held annual events ever since, and each year we beat our previous year’s total.

This year, we celebrate our fifth annual event with a nautical theme. “Sail into Summer with Buffalo Goes Gray” will be held on June 8th from 7 pm – 10 pm at the Ellicott Square Building.

Missed this event? check out BuffaloGoesGray.com for a calendar of all upcoming events and more information.

Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.