In 2008, a skiing accident led Paige Duren to seek medical treatment which then led to the discovery of an abnormality in part of her brain. In February 2011, during her annual MRI, a brain tumor was spotted and soon after surgically removed. Doctors recommended proton therapy to treat her brain tumor.
Proton therapy is able to precisely target the tumor, destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue. For children, it is important to prevent any excess radiation that may cause issues with brain development.
Paige then began radiation and chemotherapy for medulloblastoma. She underwent 31 proton radiation treatments at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. Following her completion of proton therapy, she went on to finish her final round of chemotherapy on July 8, 2012.
With the outpouring support from family and friends, a support page was created on Facebook called “Play for Paige.” In addition to the support page, purple bracelets were designed with the words, “Play for Paige” inscribed and worn by many including the Michigan State football team.
Paige was able to experience some memorable moments such as participating in fashion shows, being honored at college basketball and football games and more. One of those special moments was when the Make-a-Wish foundation granted one of her wishes of having a smartboard to avoid missing school. The Make-a-Wish Foundation in Michigan installed a smartboard equipped with the capability of video conferencing with her classroom from the comfort of her bedroom.
The abundant support and unique experiences were fundamental in helping Paige live her life as normal as possible during her journey with cancer.
Paige recently celebrated her 17th birthday. She has been very busy excelling in and outside of the classroom. She plans to attend Michigan State University and become a teacher someday. She has already proven to be a great teacher by sharing her journey and inspiring many to not give up during difficult times.
Paige has a gift and passion to help others in need. She serves as a mentor for a little girl with a brain tumor teaching her how to conquer her diagnosis. Paige has proven to be physically and mentally tougher than most adults.
Like her mantra says, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”