Patient Story: Lindsey Harder

Lindsey Harder is a 29-year-old Bostonian who was diagnosed with stage three anaplastic astrocytoma in the left side of her brain in June 2019. Anaplastic astrocytoma is a rare malignant brain tumor that develops from brain cells called astrocytes. Anaplastic astrocytoma accounts for about 1-2% of all brain tumors.  

The current standard therapy, while effective at stopping initial progression is only designed to extend the amount of time until the tumor beings to regrow. 

This brave and determined twenty-nine-year-old warrior has faced this unimaginable horror with grace, style, and determination. A graduate of Western New England University with a degree in finance she later went on to get her M.B.A. at Babson College. 

On June 26th Lindsey underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital performed by Dr. Daniel Cahill. The goal of the surgery was to remove as much of the tumor as possible while preserving speech and memory function.  

To achieve this, Lindsey underwent an awake craniotomy. An awake craniotomy is a neurosurgical technique that allows the surgeon to remove a brain tumor while the patient is awake to provide immediate feedback while they operate. Lindsey answered questions while Dr. Cahill monitored and touched different parts of her brain to identify parts that could be safely removed or sliced during the removal of the tumor. Lindsey was then put under anesthesia and, six hours later, emerged from surgery with 90% less tumor.  

Since the surgery, Lindsey has undergone chemotherapy and proton radiation and has made several lifestyle changes to combat recurrence. This includes a new healthy diet Lindsey calls “ketotarian” for its incorporation of both keto and vegetarian philosophies, CBD oil, lots of antioxidant-rich green tea, acupuncture, cold-pressed borage oil, and even a more natural hair care regiment.  

She’s also put the ‘act’ in activism by raising over 50K for the National Brain Tumor Society’s October Brain Cancer Walk with her team, Harder Better Faster Stronger.  The largest amount of any team this year.  

Earlier this year, she traveled to the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C. to gather more information for the personal research she’s been doing into brain cancer. Her Instagram is rich in book recommendations, and her topics of interest are CUSP 9, nutrition, chemo approaches, upcoming developments, and genetic mapping. 

In August Lindsey began radiation and chemotherapy. 

Even though I expected my first important trip to the hospital to be having my very first child, instead at 29 y/o, I’ve been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. My fear increased upon learning that there currently isn’t a true cure” 

Despite it all Lindsey remains optimistic and strong “I pray for long life and live with as much strength as I can”.  Lindsey is a courageous graceful and indomitable spirit who needs your help in finding a cure.  

If you’d like to help support Lindsey in finding a cure please consider supporting the National Brain Tumor Society today.  

You can also follow along with her journey on Instagram: lifeby_lindsey.   

National Brain Tumor Society unrelentingly invests in, mobilizes, and unites our community to discover a cure, deliver effective treatments, and advocate for patients and care partners. Your support is critical in the fight to defeat this underfunded disease. Wherever you live and however you can get involved, there are many ways to help!

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