The Brad Kaminsky Foundation
In Loving Memory of..
Brad Kaminsky, Lisa Gibson, Bob Carter, Jr., Tony Leonard, Susanne McMillan, Dan McNally, Andy Lewis, William Keyser, Diane Wyatt, Gregory Weiss, James McKenzie, Geoff Cornman, Brian Bedell, Joseph Gray, Mary Haller, Jonathan Hicks, Capt. John Flynn, Sherry Brinton, Kyle Kerpan, Kyle Snyder, James Meyers, Josie Chiang, Stefan, Karen S., Jacqueline V. Offutt, Lauren Fitzgerald, Judy Hahn, Christine Donahue, Larry Burns, Anne Glynn, Lindsay Warren, Joe Lieb, Mike Gianinni, Bill Waggener, Melanie Knight-Teaster, Judi Spivack, Niki Perry, William Schopf, Nancy Coyle, Karen Stevens, Jose Andrade, Jose Rodriguez,
Brenda  BB Huff, Mim O'Neill, Richard Alan Brownmiller, Jim Ingman, Michael Bloomberg and all our Angels

 
The Brad Kaminsky Foundation
 
 

 

Courting A Miracle

By LAURIE MASON Bucks County Courier Times

In July, doctors told prosecutor Brad Kaminsky that he'd never walk again because of the tumor they found in his brain. Yesterday, Kaminsky was back in the courtroom. Brad Kaminsky can now cross off one goal on the long wishlist he made after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Yesterday, less than nine months after doctors discovered a large tumor in his brain, the 28-year-old assistant Bucks County district attorney walked through the doors of a courtroom and argued a case. It was a brief appearance - less than 10 minutes in front of Bucks County Judge Alan Rubenstein on a simple family court matter - but Kaminsky beamed with pride afterward like he'd just won a huge verdict. "That was great," he said on the way back to his office at the county courthouse in Doylestown Borough. "I feel great." No small words for a man who's been through what Kaminsky has this year. In July, he was driving home from a restaurant with his family when he suffered a seizure. The car, with his two young children inside, swerved all over the road and nearly hit a tree. Kaminsky awoke in a hospital, and doctors told him the news: a CAT scan showed a dark spot on his brain. Cancer. Kaminsky, of Bensalem, was taken to a Philadelphia hospital where doctors removed 40 percent of the growth. They couldn't cut out any more of the tumor because it had tendril-like protrusions that wrapped around parts of his brain like webbing, they said. He underwent four weeks of radiation treatment to shrink the rest of the tumor. But when doctors looked at it again it had doubled in size. It was Stage 4 cancer, the worst you can have. Kaminsky was given six to 18 months to live. "I found that unacceptable," he said yesterday. "I told the doctors that they were only human, they didn't have the power to tell me when I was going to die. I didn't like their pessimism." Like the tough prosecutor he is, Kaminsky demanded an alternative. His family sought help from national cancer prevention groups, and got a list of 57 treatment programs all over the country. Kaminsky said he awoke from a dream about the number eight that night, and called his dad to tell him to book him in that program on the list. No. 8 was at Duke University in North Carolina, a procedure called monoclonal antibodies. Doctors take mouse cells that have been cloned, attach radioactive antibodies and shoot the stuff into the cancer cell. Because the treatment literally makes patients radioactive, Kaminsky had to stay isolated in a lead-lined room in the hospital for six days after the treatment. "That was the hardest part for me, being alone and not being able to move around," he said. There is no way to immediately tell if the treatment is working, but Kaminsky has been seizure-free for six months. There have been other small victories, what Kaminsky calls his own "little miracles." After his first of three brain surgeries, doctors told him he'd never walk again, he'd be paralyzed on one side, his face would droop like a stroke victim's, his eye and mouth would drop and he'd drool. But Kaminsky is already walking with a cane. A wheelchair that his insurance company sent to his office in anticipation of his return to work sits unused. In about three weeks he'll be driving his car again, as soon as it's outfitted with a specially designed steering wheel and turn signal. His face has not drooped, and although his speech is slightly slurred, he's able to talk on the phone and converse with crime victims who come to his office. His boss, Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons, already has loaded him down with work, as evidenced by a stack of complaints on his desk yesterday. He attributes his nearly miraculous recovery to the power of God, and to his own never-say-die attitude. "I told the doctors, 'My name is Kaminsky, with a 'y.' Get it right when you write about me for the medical journals," he joked. Kaminsky says he plans to keep getting stronger, and vows to fight the cancer until it's 100 percent gone. The next goal on his wishlist is to argue a case before a jury at a trial. Two other goals - to dance at the weddings of his 6-year-old daughter and son, 2. "I will do this. Just wait and see," he said. Still, Kaminsky said he knows he has a tough road ahead of him, and there have been some personal setbacks in his life. He and his wife of eight years recently separated, an event he attributes to the stress of fighting cancer. He's racked up $150,000 in medical bills, and he must continue the treatments at Duke every six weeks for the next one to five years. Each treatment costs $12,000, not counting travel expenses. His family has helped, and friends and co-workers have raised thousands of dollars through benefits and fund-raisers. Another fund-raiser is planned for March 31 - Kaminsky's 29th birthday - at the Eddington Room in Bensalem. Having cancer, Kaminsky said, has changed his whole outlook on life. He's become more spiritual, and has grown to appreciate the people in his life more. He knows he's lucky to still have the job at the district attorney's office, where he's worked for more than two years. He called his former boss, Alan Rubenstein "the greatest man I ever met." Rubenstein, while district attorney, arranged for Kaminsky to do some of his work from home and from his hospital bed and gave him a laptop computer to make the job easier. Gibbons, who took over for Rubenstein when he became a judge in January, also allows Kaminsky to work a flexible schedule. The support from his co-workers has made all the difference, Kaminsky said. "It's overwhelming, how many people came forward to help me. In my job prosecuting criminals, you usually don't get to see that side of people."

 


 

 

 

The Brad Kaminsky Foundation - 20227 Catlett Place - Ashburn, VA 20147 - (703) 729-9897 - E-mail Lisa@tbkf.org