Middlebrook’s sixth grade yellow team presented a $3,386 check to sixth grader Natasha Ring’s grandfather, David Taylor, who works with the Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research and Information, on Friday, May 20.

Six Yellow chose to raise money for the Musella Foundation for this year’s Sixth Grade Walk-A-Thon on April 29.

The Musella Foundation is a nonprofit public charity that helps brain tumor patients through emotional and financial support, education, advocacy and raising money for brain tumor research.

After thanking the students for the money they raised, Taylor told them how his daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and lived for seven years.

“The important word in that sentence is she ‘lived.’ She just refused to be sick,” he said.

“She traveled every year, she ate ice cream, she made new friends, and she just enjoyed every day of her life and made the most of it.”

Taylor said the “paramount” thing for someone diagnosed with a brain tumor is “to live their life to the fullest.”

“During the time that she was dealing with the illness, there were a lot of treatments, surgeries, tests, and we went to a lot of doctor appointments,” said Taylor. “Some of the news we got from doctors was very good, and sometimes it was not.”

Despite what was happening, Taylor said, he and his family tried to look for something positive to hold onto and for him, it was the doctors, nurses, scientists and staff that they met.

“We had the most dedicated, impressive, educated people who devoted their lives to finding cures, extending their lives and maybe eventually saving their lives,” said Taylor.

“A brain tumor is a terrible diagnosis, but there are people who have made it their life’s mission to make that diagnosis a little bit easier and one that can eventually be treated. Those people inspired us and they gave us hope.”

Taylor said one of those people was Musella Foundation founder Al Musella, a doctor in Long Island whose family had been “impacted dramatically by tumors.”

Out of frustration with “the complete lack of information out there for families and loved ones who were dealing with brain tumors,” said Taylor, Musella “made it his life’s work to change that,” and he did it by:


  • Setting up a website with information for people newly diagnosed with brain tumors.

  • Working to improve communication between researchers to speed up treatment and research progress.

  • Testifying before Congress to get drugs approved more quickly and make sure insurance companies cover medicines needed for brain tumor patients.

  • Setting up an assistance program to help families pay for treatments.

  • Funding research for innovative brain tumor treatments.


Taylor said Musella has donated more than $3 million over the years “to help people get medicines they may otherwise not be able to get.”

“These are medicines keeping people alive, and this is what you guys [the Six Yellow] have contributed to today,” Taylor told the sixth grade yellow team. “You are helping people stay alive, and you should be proud of what you’ve done.”

Middlebrook’s three sixth grade teams raised a total of $10,000 through this year’s Sixth Grade Walk-A-Thon. Six Red raised money for Operation Homefront and Six Green raised money for the American Cancer Society.

Click here to learn more about the Musella Foundation.