Accept Our Challenge: Patients Break Ground for Cures at Neuroplex

Your Impact

From training more neurosurgeons than any program in the world to performing more brain surgeries than any center annually, Barrow Neurological Institute marked another milestone in its storied history with the groundbreaking for the Neuroplex on November 14, 2019.

Before a jagged pile of concrete and beneath a cloudless sky, more than 120 donors, friends, faculty, staff and patients gathered to celebrate the new home of the world’s leading neuroscience institute.

“I’d like to thank our long-time supporters who have helped shape our proud history at Barrow and who, through their generosity, are helping us build this exciting new future,” said Katie Cobb, president of Barrow Neurological Foundation. “I am honored to work in the presence of the world’s leading physicians and scientists at Barrow who accept the challenge of saving patients’ lives and show us that the impossible is truly possible.”

Joining Katie as ceremonial groundbreakers were Barrow President and CEO, Michael T. Lawton, MD; Emeritus Chair for Neurosurgery, Robert Spetzler, MD; Emeritus Professor, Neurosurgery, Volker K. H. Sonntag; Chair of Neurology, Jeremy Shefner MD, PhD; Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; Barrow Women’s Board Chair Amy Thurston and four patients representing those who had been told their cases were “impossible” until they came to Barrow:

Micah Andrews, age 11. Micah suffered an internal decapitation when he was in a car accident at just two years of age. This type of catastrophic injury was considered fatal, but Barrow neurosurgeons saved his life using a surgical technique pioneered here.

Sam Schmid. While a student at the University of Arizona, Sam was critically injured in a five-car accident in Tucson in 2011. Because Sam’s condition was so severe, he was flown to Barrow to undergo lifesaving surgery by Dr. Robert Spetzler for a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Ann Glew. In January 2000, an MRI revealed a large, rare tumor buried deep within her brain. Fifteen doctors across the country refused to operate. Then she came to Barrow, where Dr. Spetzler assured her she could live ‘happily ever after.’ He performed the operation, and Ann was so grateful she and her husband David funded a rehabilitation gym at Barrow to help other patients like her.

Jan Lewis. After suffering debilitating migraines, Jan found relief, thanks to Kerry Knievel, DO, and Barrow’s comprehensive approach. Jan and her husband Tom were so grateful, they established the Jan & Tom Lewis Migraine Treatment Program at Barrow to help other patients like her and lead research to improve treatments for other sufferers.

“What this represents for us is our commitment to changing the world,” said Dr. Lawton. “We don’t just want to be another medical provider or healthcare center. Barrow is an institute of excellence that’s focused on one thing, and that’s exploring the mind and the brain and finding answers.”

Patients like Micah, Sam, Ann and Jan come to Barrow in search of hope and answers, and they reflect the true promise of the Neuroplex – a state-of-the-art, 130,000 square-foot destination that will confront the most daunting neurological conditions of our time. We invite you to accept the challenge of building the place where the next cure will be discovered and giving hope to patients like Micah, Sam, Ann and Jan. Support the Neuroplex with a donation, honor a loved one with a gift or lend your name to its construction.

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