Creating Something Bigger Than Myself Despite Cancer: Brett Hagler’s Story

Brett Hagler

Join this conversation as Alicia, Edith and Lizette sit down to chat with Brett Hagler.  Brett is an author, cancer survivor, and CEO of New Story, an organization that pioneers solutions to end global homelessness by working to create the world’s first 3D-printed community. On this episode, Brett explains how his chondrosarcoma diagnosis helped to refine his focus and future goals, putting him on the path of creating something bigger than himself. Despite diagnosis, Brett challenges patients to reflect on the question, “How do I want to remember this moment 10 years from now?”, to help gather strength and purpose to push forward. He also describes the crucial role of caregivers and the importance of having a supportive community rallying around each person facing a serious illness. Listen in and be sure to tell us how you liked the episode, by commenting below!

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  1. Brett is my son. I remember the details as a parent differently. I was terrified. My Dad had non-Hodgkins lymphoma and died at age 54. So, I was aware of what cancer can do. Bretts diagnosis wasn’t immediate. I’m sure he doesn’t remember. But, we went to an oral surgeon and he did a biopsy and unbelievably let me take the sample to the radiologist at Nova. She assured me that “99% of these are benign”. Then it took a few weeks for the results. They could not believe an 18 year old had this and that it was in his mouth! They did a second biopsy at the maxilla facial surgeons office and confirmed it. Brett had several scans including a Petscan and the rest of his body was clear. They removed his top 4 back teeth, the bone supporting those and a large part of his palette. He wore an obturator to plug the hole and they attached fake bone and teeth. He had a second surgery to cover the palette 3 years after the initial surgery. He wears the device for the bone and teeth today, 12 years later. We tried to downplay the seriousness of his cancer and he remained pretty calm. His school and basketball coach were extremely supported. I wish I had know of a group like yours 12 years ago. Thank you for what you are doing. God bless you for helping so many frightened people. Bobbi

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