COURSE TO COAST FOR A CAUSE- APRIL CHAMPION
The month of April we will be raising funds and awareness for a friend of ours right here in La Quinta, CA. We will help Gus Luna in his fight against brain cancer. 5% of All online sales this month will go towards Gus's family and recovery efforts to aid them in their fight.
We hosted our 2nd Annual Surf & Turf Masters earlier this month at Palm Royale C.C. in La Quinta, CA and our community came together to raise over $2,000 already. We would like to grow this number greatly to help the Luna family as much as we can by coming together as a community.
Let's change the game, have some fun, and leave an everlasting impact on our community and the world.
Contact Us for more details or recommendations to be a future "Course To Coast for a Cause Champion":
-The Surf & Turf Team
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Here is Gus’s Story.
“The world is full of those suffering; It is also full of those strong enough to overcome it” -Helen Keller.
Our friend, Gus Luna was diagnosed at age 10. This young kid with a heart of gold, was blessed with everything you’d want your child to have. He is very athletic, as he competed in golf, soccer, basketball, tae kwon do. Unlike a lot of athletes, Gus had the brains to go along with it. He was involved in extracurricular activities such as Math Academy at a younger age than most, and even was voted Class President in 5th grade.
But why wouldn’t he be? Leaders often have the qualities he has, smarts, toughness, heart and perseverance.
The same time he was voted Class President, he began experiencing excruciating headaches the same time every day. At this point, the family thought they would get him checked out. After 3 doctors visits and 1 CT scan he was on his way to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.
After 1 week in the hospital the neurosurgeon there delivered no good news for Gus and his family. He suggested they take Gus home and schedule brain surgery the following week.
At that point they were fortunate to get sent to Cedar-Sinai Medical Center to meet with one of the top neurosurgeons in California. He would undergo his first craniatomy on Oct 31, 2005. After the long surgery, they found out it was a cancerous tumor that was causing Gus’s problems. This massive hypothalamic Tumor was deemed inoperable. Gus also had brain surgery (Hydrocephalus) which was not draining properly.
After 18 surgeries in 8 years. They implanted, removed and revised 3 brain shunts. A tube to take excess fluid from the brain to the stomach. He began chemotherapy.
His toughness was proven as he was determined to graduate and walk with his class of 2013 with a 3.5 GPA.
Gus then got worse, after 10 years at Cedar-Sinai they finally told Gus’s family it was time to start clinical trials. This took them to CHildren’s Hospital LA.
In 2014, After choosing to go through with a clinical trial, Gus encountered a terrible allergic reaction. Another trial in 2015 wasn’t the answer either as Gus’s tumor continued to grow.
At this point, Gus was unable to walk. Sleeping was all that occupied the time of this young brilliant athlete’s schedule.
This is when the surgeon at CHLA came in and asked if she could take chance and go after the tumor. She gave a 50% chance of Gus coming out in better shape that he was currently in. The neurosurgeon at Cedar-Sinai strongly advised against this option. The Luna family took the chance and went forth with the 50/50 surgery in March of 2015.
5 hours later 35% of the tumor that was deemed inoperable for 10 years prior, had been removed. Gus would come out fine and make a full recovery after one month.
Gus’s family at this time had exhausted the entirety of their savings and all of their retirement funds. They were forced to file bankruptcy after all of the unpaid bills had piled up and the costs of traveling back and forth from LA to home became insurmountable.
Gustavo Sr. took a long term medical leave from work to care for Gus, as Gus’s mother, Marcy continued to work full time and long hours so they could keep their home.
After just 2 months of being home, the awful news that the 35% of the tumor that was removed returned w/ a vengeance. Back to CHLA they went to attack the tumor, again.
May 22, 2015. Gus went in for an 8 hour Surgery- “The Longest Day of our lives” - The family said.
Finally! Good news!! 95% of the tumor had been removed. A true miracle, to say the least. Despite knowing a long road ahead still existed.
Gus was alive and nothing else mattered. A 2 month stay at CHLA until Gus’s 21st Bday was ahead. Which meant he could no longer be treated at CHLA.
Gus had begun what was a truly remarkable turnaround until March ,2016. Gus took another bad turn. He was losing his cognitive and motor skills right in front of the family’s eyes. Schizophrenia had set in. This crushed the family completely as they were informed that Gus was at the end of his fight. The years of chemotherapy, radiation, opioids, steroids, all had a serious side effect to his brain.
The family was told to take Gus home, He had lost the fight. Gus didn’t even recognize his own parents at times. But luckily, The doctor clearly did not know about “The Gus Bus”. Gus and his family took a leap of faith. They took Gus off of all medications, and chemo for a few weeks. Once again, The “Gus Bus” rose up. HE beat the odds. He began walking and eating on his own until he could start physical therapy and speech therapy. Before you know it, Gus was home. The Gus Bus had his back against the wall, yet made a full recovery. Amazing.
But theres more, again in March 2017, Gus’s Tumor had returned. It was a very small mass, but Gus’s surgeon wanted to act fast. He was immediately scheduled for radiation at Cedar-Sinai. Once again, The Gus Bus took the wheel of the situation. The MRI showed that the tumor was completely gone. “The best news ever” -said Marcy.
Gus had been back on the move and overcoming his situation in style until just a few weeks ago. A routine MRI found another tumor. This time in a different part of his brain. This is where Gus’s family stands today. This has been their life the past 13 years.
Gus’s mom said “Throughout All this, Gus has demonstrated to be a true warrior. We will continue to fight this fight alongside our son. Whatever it takes. I’m 100% positive that God didn’t bring us this far to give up now.”
We want to take this time to thank everyone for coming and supporting our friend, Gus, and his wonderful family. I want to announce to their family that we are proud to say our Surf & Turf Golf community has your back.
Oprah Winfrey once said- “Surround yourself with those who lift you higher”. Gus is a person who would have our back and has the power to uplift us through his courage and will to survive.
HE is exemplary of another member of the Surf & Turf Team -Peyton Palermo’s motto through her brain tumor fight. “Be Strong. Fight Hard. Dig Deep.”.
Keep fighting Gus. Keep fighting.