While 31 weeks pregnant, 28-year-old Katie Tipton was diagnosed with a brain tumor after experiencing weakness and numbness on the left side of her body.
Sept. 23, a few weeks before her baby girl Autumn was due, Tipton had a C-section — the same day as her husband’s, Travis Tipton, birthday.
One week after that, Tipton was in surgery again, this time to remove the six centimeter tumor in her brain.
Luckily, close to 95 percent of the tumor was removed when doctors only expected to get 25 percent.
When students from the Honors Association were sharing ideas for community service projects, first-year Abby Cerny told Katie’s story — which sparked the idea for a zombie crawl.
Cerny used to live across the street from Katie and said she got to know her because her younger sister and Katie’s daughter spent a lot of time together.
“The Undead Can Save the Living” Zombie Crawl, slated for Oct. 24 at 6 p.m., will raise funds to help offset the costs of the Tipton family’s medical expenses. Starting at the Wellness Center, Cerny said participants will start walking as a group at about 6:30 p.m.
The Honors Association is asking for a suggested donation of $3. T-shirts and bracelets will also be on sale at the walk.
Honors Association President Zack Schulte, a junior, said it was a great cause to raise money for and a creative way for students to contribute.
“We want to do anything we can do to help,” he said.
Both Katie and baby Autumn are recovering and are hoping to go home soon according to a post on Travis’s Facebook account.
“Recovery is hard. Two major surgeries within two weeks — it’s hard. I’m strong. I don’t yet know my full potential,” Katie said. “Being strong is my only option.”
Schulte and Cerny said they hope family weekend will increase the number of people who attend the walk. They are also reaching out to Katie’s friends and others who are off campus.
“Basically anything helps,” Cerny said.
Tipton said research and prayer are what she and her husband are relying on to stay strong.
“I have to believe I serve a greater purpose. I’ve only wanted to be a mom, so my kids drive me,” Tipton said. “This cancer is deadly and will likely kill me someday. I’ve got to do everything I can to fight this. Maybe I’m paving a path for someone else who isn’t as strong, but who can still crawl. Life is worth it.”
Katie and her husband were married on Valentine’s Day this year. One month later, they found out Katie was pregnant with their first child together. Katie has a daughter, Jovie, 7, and Travis has two girls, Ciara,8, and Cienna, 6.
Schulte said participants don’t have to dress up like zombies, but there will be a competition for the best zombie costume. “Brain-themed food,” along with other snacks and prizes, will be given out at certain checkpoints of the walk.
(While 31 weeks pregnant with her daughter Autumn, 28-year-old Katie Tipton was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Honors Association students have now scheduled a “Zombie Crawl” to raise money for her. Submitted photo / The Volante)