Our mission is to positively impact the lives of children affected by Ependymoma and Glial tumors of the brain and spine through funding and supporting viable medical research that will lead to more effective treatment options and ultimately a cure for this tragic disease.
We exist to change the odds for children with Ependymoma tumors of the brain and spine in hopes of eventually finding a cure for this tragic disease. We achieve our goals through raising funds and awareness and serving as a resource to those affected by Ependymoma.
Tanner’s inspiring life and his battle with brain cancer impacted many people positively and TSF has made a difference through impacting the research in the field of pediatric tumors of the brain and spine by raising over a $1,000,000.00 and donating these funds to promising research. In addition, we have brought interested friends and family together to create two endowed chairs to further support brain tumor research. Dr. Michael Handler proudly holds The McMurry Seebaum Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery and Dr. Nick Foreman proudly holds the Tanner Seebaum Zach Tschetter Chair in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology. These endowed chairs have brought in contributions of over 2 million dollars each.
About Tanner Seebaum
Tanner’s Story (as told by his parents)
Tanner Seebaum was born August of 1996. We tried very hard to give Tanner everything we could as parents and we did. But a time came in July of 1998, when Tanner was 22 months old, that we could not give him what he needed; a treatment for a brain tumor.
In May of 1998 we made the decision to move to the Denver from Texas. We had lived in Denver for less than a week, when we realized Tanner was in dire need of medical attention. Being new to the Denver area, we did not yet have a pediatrician, so we relied on our family for resources. Tanner’s parents both grew up in Cheyenne, WY. Stephanie’s mother was a pediatric nurse. With the help of Stephanie’s mom, we were able to take Tanner to a pediatrician we knew and trusted in Cheyenne. In fact, Dr. Robert Leland was one of the same doctors who treated us as children.
On July 7, 1998 we heard the words we will never forget “I’m sorry, Tanner has a brain tumor.” Dr. Leland told us to take Tanner immediately to Children’s Hospital Colorado. He said Dr. Michael Handler, a neurosurgeon, and Dr. Nick Foreman, a neuro-oncologist, will be waiting for you. By the time we arrived at Children’s Hospital, Tanner had urgent needs and was in critical condition.
The first night was touch-and-go for Tanner and his condition was worsening by the hour due to the golf ball size tumor and the pressure inside his head. We worried he would not survive the night. Very early the next morning we were met again by both doctors who were visibly concerned about Tanner. They knew surgery needed to take place quickly, but also knew the surgery would be long and the operating room was booked solid. Dr. Handler scrambled to get the OR scheduled for Tanner’s surgery to remove the tumor.
On July 9, 1998 Tanner underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove his brain tumor. When the surgery was complete, Dr. Handler felt confident he was able to get the entire tumor, which meant it was not entangled in Tanner’s brain tissue, which was good news.
After the surgery we learned from the pathology reports that Tanner’s tumor was an Ependymoma. The long-term outlook for this type of tumor is not positive, and what made things worse is Ependymomas do not respond to chemotherapy. Tanner spent 3 weeks in the hospital recovering. He required another surgery to install a ventricular shunt because his head could not handle the pressure from the trauma of the tumor on its own.
Due to Tanner’s age, and the current research on Ependymomas in 1998, radiation therapy was not a recommended treatment. Dr. Foreman recommended a regimen of chemotherapy for Tanner he felt may help determine if any residual tumor was present. Tanner began chemotherapy about a week after he was released from the hospital. He received three rounds of outpatient chemotherapy. He went to the infusion room at Children’s Hospital Colorado for three days straight for 6-8 hours per day of infusion and then had three weeks at home to recover before his next three-day treatment.
On February 13th of 2001, Tanner fell at home and was unable to stand or walk. He was rushed to Children’s Hospital Colorado by Stephanie in a snowstorm. When Tanner arrived at the ER both Dr. Handler and Dr. Foreman were waiting for Stephanie. A CT scan was performed and it was confirmed Tanner’s tumor had relapsed.
Tanner had surgery on February 19th of 2001 to remove the Ependymoma relapse. After this surgery, Dr. Foreman explained to us that Tanner’s odds for survival were not good, but he wanted us to proceed with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Tanner received 33 rounds of radiation at the Anschutz Cancer Pavilion at the Fitzsimons Medical Complex. This was a daily event for Tanner and Stephanie five days per week for several months. During radiation he received 2 rounds of oral chemo.
Tanner enjoyed time with his family doing the things he loved, but again in May of 2004 Tanner’s tumor relapsed. This time the tumor was found as part of a routine MRI scan and was small, but still required surgery and follow-up treatment. Tanner received 3 rounds of Radiosurgery at the Anschutz Cancer Pavilion. After this course of treatment Tanner experienced many problems with his shunt and had several surgeries to fix it. He also experienced excruciating headaches for almost a year, but true to his spirit, he fought these headaches with the same tenacity he fought everything else in his life.
Tanner enjoyed 8 years of remission and lived a normal life until learning in May of 2012 that his brain tumor had returned, only this time it was a different subtype of tumor and could not be operated on or treated effectively. Tanner and his family were told that Tanner only had months to live. Undeterred, Tanner decided even in the face of a terminal diagnosis to pursue his passions and dreams never allowing cancer and brain tumors to slow him down.
After being given such a short time to live, many people would fold immediately. Not Tanner! He exceeded the projections of survival by more than doubling the survival range of his prognosis. In just over one year (May 2012 – July 2013) He obtained his learner’s permit and learned to drive a car. He rappelled off a 40-story skyscraper. He went on vacations to the places he loved. He told his parents that because he loved music and technology, he wanted to become a DJ. Tanner found a new DJ school in early June of 2012. He became their first student and diligently worked for 3+ hours a day learning and perfecting his craft. He used music and DJ-ing to channel his sickness and the last year of his life into something positive. He beat the predicted odds, living far past his diagnosis of only a few months and Tanner became a great DJ. By the spring of 2013, Tanner was booking more and more gigs and receiving invitations to perform at venues around Denver.
As the one-year mark for his diagnosis passed in late May of 2013, Tanner started having more serious symptoms and tests showed his tumor had progressed significantly. Still, his best was ahead of him. The DJ community in Denver had gotten to know Tanner, now DJ Seebaum, and his impressive talent. They put together an amazing benefit with some of the biggest DJs in the world flying in to play for free. Despite serious symptoms, Tanner opened up for the headliner and absolutely brought down the house. But he wasn’t done. The largest DJ show in the US is the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Tanner was invited to perform during EDC week at the Hard Rock Hotel “Rehab Day Club”. Predictably, he crushed it despite the bigger-than-life environment. Tanner’s last gig was at Beatport Live, an international live stream headquartered in Denver that attracts the biggest DJs in the world. He set the standard with dozens of employees dancing in the aisles. Thousands of people were inspired by Tanner who had an incredibly successful DJ career in only one year.
Sadly, Tanner lost his battle with cancer at the age of 16 and passed away on July 12, 2013; one month before his 17th birthday. Tanner’s life and the way he lived it inspired those who knew him personally and many people whom he had never met, who found inspiration through his music and determination and tapping into his positive energy and passion for living life to the fullest. He is deeply missed but his spirit continues to live in the examples he set for so many.
Matthew and Stephanie Seebaum