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Denise Howell and Ashley McCormick
East County Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 8 years ago

Three sisters start brain cancer charity

by: Harriet Sokmensuer Community Editor

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, however, for three sisters, October marks the beginning of their mission to bring awareness to brain cancer.

Two weeks ago, sisters Jill Vedder, Denise Howell and Ashley McCormick formed Babes Against Brain Cancer, a charity that focuses on helping people with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

GBM is the rarest and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults. Howell was diagnosed with the cancer in September; only about 500 women under the age of 35 are diagnosed annually.

The charity has connected with the Chris Elliot Fund, a West Coast-based GBM patient advocacy group. The women ideally would like to collaborate with the group and bring that idea to the East Coast.

On Sept. 25, one day after the group posted its first post on the Babes’ Facebook page, the page had received more than 500 followers.

“We didn’t think it was going to be such an overnight success,” McCormick says. “A lot of it has been because of Denise … she’s been an open book and so positive.”

Howell lives in Sarasota with her husband, Jeff and 3-year-old son, Ryland. On Oct. 3, she attended a fundraising trunk show benefiting Babes organized by three friends, Liz Noonan, Kim Mangum and Stephanie Logan, at the Miramar Way Clubhouse in Lakewood Ranch.

Howell arrived at the event directly after receiving treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, which she goes to five days a week.

“I have a purpose now,” Howell told the room full of young mothers like herself.

The fundraiser raised $2,000 for Babes Against Brain Cancer. The family hopes to organize future charity events, as well, including golf tournaments.

For more information on Babes Against Brain Cancer visit,

Contact Harriet Sokmensuer at [email protected]


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