Woman battling terminal brain cancer also battling memory loss - myfoxcarolinas.com

Winter Park woman battling brain cancer has "50 First Dates" condition

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WINTER PARK, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Every day is a new day for 36-year old Marilyn Clark. 

She's battling terminal brain cancer, but doesn't know it because the tumor has affected her short term memory.  Her ability to form new memories is still there, but it's limited.  

"When you take out the inability to form new memories in such a dynamic young woman, it's quite a unique story to tell, " says her Neural Oncologist Dr. Nick Avergeropolous at UF Health.  "In trying to get her family and her advocates to help her, it has to be re-explained.  It's almost like a movie."

Her Mom Suzanne says it's very much like the movie "50 First Dates" starring Drew Barrymore. "The repetition of that movie is the parallel, reveals Suzanne, "The heart of the similarity is that they don't know and they wake up happy and ready for the world every day."

No stranger to doctors, Marilyn has had three craniotomies, her first at age 16, numerous surgeries, radiation and chemo.  And through it all, she remains bright and optimistic. She's aware of the cancer, but doesn't remember it's terminal.

"The first time we told her about her condition and her life span, she literally threw up, says Suzanne, "And the second time she just kept saying they're going to find a cure right?"

Marilyn's friend Katie Garrow raised money this past weekend with a "Garage Sale of Love" raising close to $4,000 thanks to donations from neighbors.  "Marilyn is too old for Make-A-wish, so I thought this would be a way to help her out," says Garrow.  "She's always wanted to go to Greece, so she can use the money for a trip or for whatever else she needs."

Marilyn will turn 37 this week and her family has arranged for a special trip to Hawaii thanks to donations generated from their "Marilyn's Wish" Facebook page.  

"We're hoping the radiation treatment will hold the tumor off anywhere from 6-9 months," says Suzanne.

"I think she's an amazing young lady, says Dr. Nick, "She goes forward with the expectation that indeed things are going to work out.  I feel like her will is pushing her through this."

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