Little Rock Marathon Allows Doctor To Run for His Life


Jeremy Hinton training for Little Rock Marathon

      Jeremy Hinton Training for the Little Rock Marathon

By Jason Brown

Jeremy Hinton grew up in the Arkansas Delta. He attended Arkansas State University as an undergraduate before moving on to UAMS to attend medical school. Jeremy Hinton is a doctor — a doctor of the brain.  As fate may have it, he’s a psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center in North Little Rock.  Working with the human brain is his business. One Sunday afternoon in April of 2014, the business got personal.

That Sunday wasn’t any different than most. He had brunch with his wife, Charlee. Later in the afternoon, Jeremy took to the couch to play video games and send Sunday off like he had so many times. However, this Sunday turned out to be anything but normal.  The first few hesitations of his left hand were an indication, so he stood up and headed to the bedroom to get dressed. You know… just in case. As he picked up the khaki slacks still laying out from the morning’s adventures, he noticed it… a change… a problem. His left hand wouldn’t release the pants. He called Charlee into the bedroom and asked her to take him to the emergency room. He’s a physician, so he knew his brain would never, willfully, act this way.

Jeremy and Charlee hopped in the car and rushed to Baptist. He had a seizure as he entered the emergency room for triage. From there, Jeremy’s story turns into a whirlwind of tests, X-rays, CT scans, monitors, medication and IVs. Doctors weren’t sure why the tumor was on his brain. Was it cancer? That was to be addressed later. Now was time for surgery — a surgery that was non-negotiable. The rest of the week would be devoted to figuring out why he was there, how the tumor developed and what could have caused it to show up. For the moment, though, it was time to focus on saving his life. The tumor had to be removed and the swelling of his brain had to be stopped.  Surgery was the only answer.

The week wasn’t over before Jeremy and his family began to get some answers. After many tests and discussions, even some where Jeremy interjected his own professional opinion, the doctors diagnosed him with a grade IV astrocytoma, also known as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), an aggressive primary brain cancer that is almost universally fatal. The Hinton finally had a disappointing answer to so many hard questions.

Treatment for GBM isn’t simple because even after killing the cancer cells completely, the tumor is likely to return. Established treatments are not good enough to prevent recurrence, and most patients with GBM require multiple surgeries and different kinds of treatment.  Removing the initial tumor was only the first step in this lifelong battle. Following recovery from two difficult and painful brain surgeries, Jeremy began radiation and chemotherapy. I can tell you, he took it like a champ. He still does. Jeremy Hinton IS A FIGHTER.

Like every fighter, Jeremy began looking for the motivation to take into battle with him. An avid Game of Thrones fan, it didn’t take long for Jeremy to adopt his new phrase. Have you seen that episode, the one where Syrio Forel is teaching Arya Stark to sword fight? At one point, he looks at her and says “There is only one God, and his name is Death; and what do we say to Death? Not Today.” Jeremy’s answer to death is simple — Not Today. Jeremy completely owns his tagline and so do about 15 of his friends and family. The group has sworn their support in ink, each choosing their own permanent fonts and styles, but most importantly, the same words – Not Today.

During recovery and treatment, Jeremy’s wife, Charlee, began looking for ways to support other folks with GBM. That’s when she found Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC), an organization dedicated to research, education and support for those who have experienced brain cancer. Charlee’s research lead her to VABC’s annual participation in the New York City Marathon. Charlee, a runner herself, knew that this would be a perfect way to raise awareness and funds for the GBM community on a local level.  Enter the next chapter in this family’s amazing saga.

Charlee, a Little Rock school teacher, founded her own Little Rock Marathon team. Their name? Team #NotToday, of course. She started a GoFundMe campaign back in November with a meager fundraising goal of $1,000. Now, a week from the marathon, the team has grown to more than 50 runners and has raised $7,500. That’s not the best part; Jeremy is running with Team #NotToday next Sunday.

See, Jeremy is a busy guy. He runs a local board game group, teaches law school courses, and he’s a cyclist.  For several years he’s lead a local nonprofit organization that – get this – raises funds to fight cancer. Giving is who he is, and whether they know it or not, VABC just gained a force that’s undeniable.

So, when the Little Rock Marathon rolls around next weekend, Jeremy will lace up his running shoes and stretch for the race of his life. Jeremy will put his mission in motion.  We will cheer him on. We will hold signs. We will wait for him at the finish line. We will support him.  But more than anything we could do for him, Jeremy will inspire us. He won’t take “no” for an answer.  He’s at war with GBM, and we’ll be with him for the entire fight.

Please consider supporting Jeremy’s mission and Team #NotToday by giving what you can. I promise you’re fueling a warrior who will not stop until he beats the disease that chose the wrong foe.

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Jason Brown is public relations and digital media specialist at the Communications Group in Little Rock. Here is where you can find Jason on Twitter.



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