A Tampa teen beats a brain tumor and now takes on the fight to cure the disease

4:03 PM, Dec 9, 2011   |    comments
17-year-old Chaz Fermin is a brain cancer survivor who's fighting to find a cure and make a difference.
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TAMPA, Fla. - You don't often hear about teenagers "Making a Difference" or serving as an inspiration to others, but one Tampa teen is doing both.

17-year-old Chaz Fermin is a brain cancer survivor who's fighting to find a cure and make a difference.

Drawing is one of Fermin's favorite hobbies, but it's one of many things he's had to put on hold over the last year. In August 2010, he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children.

"Just did whatever I had to do to get better," says Fermin.

That meant two brain surgeries, six weeks of radiation, and nine cycles of chemotherapy. On average, he takes 17 pills a day. Nerve damage has made it almost impossible for him to hold a pencil, so a tutor comes to his house to help with school work.

"I had it easy, but not everyone does. Most people don't," says Fermin. He will also tell you he's glad he got sick.

"It changed me a lot. I knew nothing about cancer before this."

Chaz finished up his final round of chemo just a few weeks ago. Now he starts another fight, the one to cure brain cancer. He'll be the event ambassador for the 2nd Annual Moving Towards a Cure 5K on Saturday at Al Lopez Park.

"His attitude is beaming and resilient and I knew then that he was a very special individual," says Tracy Hunger with Miles for Hope, an organization with a mission to raise awareness and funding for brain tumor research.

Chaz has reached his goal of raising $5,000 for the walk on Saturday.

"It does impact children substantially. It is the leading cause of solid tumor death in people under 20 years old," says Hunter.

Chaz's dad says he's never complained or asked, "Why me?" He only focuses on finding a cure.

"Watching somebody like Chaz beat this and be a spokesperson and really give hope to people,  I do believe together we can make a difference," says Hunter.

While the toughest part of Chaz's battle with brain tumors may be over, the one that matters greatly to him is just beginning.

"Get involved, because everyone counts. Every little thing counts," says Fermin.

Chaz will walk in honor of the friends he's lost and those who are still sick.

The Moving Towards a Cure 5K is tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at Al Lopez Park in Tampa.

Learn more about Miles for Hope here: www.MilesForHope.org

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