Attending to Grey Matters… Posted August 6, 2015 by Brandi VanAntwerp


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Trauma can happen unexpectedly when we are least prepared.  10 years ago, Preston Dial was on the phone when his left hand suddenly straightened out.  “I think I’m having a stroke.”  His brother-in-law immediately hung up and called 911. Preston would later find out it was a rare brain tumor called “oligoastrocytoma” that required immediate surgery.  

Two months after surgery, Preston began 30 rounds of radiation.  Although he continued to work, treatment created unexpected challenges. At the time, Preston was a full time photographer and husband to Traci, who was expecting their first child.  Motivated by a bright future, Preston quickly completed radiation and remained clear for 5 years.

When Preston found out the tumor was back, it felt like a setback.  Chemo would be another new challenge and he knew his photography schedule would be impossible to maintain while also being there for his family.  Despite his diligent effort, he eventually closed his photography studio.  With two children, Tracy returned to the workforce to allow her husband to focus on getting better.

Over the next two years, Preston and Tracy would rely on friends, family, and their church to provide the support they needed to get through treatment and recovery.  Preston attended group meetings through the Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute, helping with feelings of isolation.

The Grey Matters Fund supports patients like Preston, who most recently is recovering from another surgery as part of his ongoing battle.  Grey Matters ensures families have the resources they need to navigate the world of terminology, doctors, surgeons, appointments, unknown expectations, and most of all, the overwhelming new reality of cancer.

There are many more like Preston who need your support. Join the Grey Matters Walk on Saturday August 29 at Jordan Valley Park and help those impacted by brain cancer, tumors and other brain traumas.