More than 700,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor. This year, nearly 80,000 people will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor – one that begins in, rather than spreads to, the brain.
Warwick resident Caroline Caprio received such a diagnosis on July 25, 2013. Thankfully, her tumor – a non-cancerous meningioma – was removed during an emergency surgery. Her recovery, while intensive, has been full.
“I was blessed,” she said. “The orange-sized tumor was in the left frontal lobe of my brain. That part of the brain dictates my personality, morals and beliefs.”
After the surgery – which was performed by Dr. Prakash Sampath, who also serves as associate professor of neurosurgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Director of the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Roger Williams Medical Center – Caprio was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Brain and Spine Tumor Foundation. She was then appointed chairwoman of the foundation’s fundraising committee.
In her role, Caprio has worked hard to secure donations and support from the broader community.
“One of our biggest supporters has been Tommy’s Pizza in Cranston, owned by Tom and Kim Sacco,” she said, noting that the couple has helped raised approximately $40,000 for the foundation. “They are like family to me.”
A friend of Caprio’s, Jayne Oliver, recently created a scholarship in her name. The Caroline Caprio Medical and Giving Scholarship is still in its infancy, but it is designed to support Rhode Island students who wish to pursue studies in neurosurgery.
On May 5, a Fiesta to benefit the foundation will be held at the Imperial Room at One Rhodes Place. A cocktail reception will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the day’s program at 2:30 p.m.
The keynote speaker will be Judge Frank Caprio of “Caught in Providence” fame. The judge is Caroline Caprio’s first cousin.
“‘Caught In Providence’ with Judge Caprio has gone worldwide,” Caroline said. “People walk out his courtroom better people than when they walked in. They are treated with respect.”
Tickets for the Fiesta cost $65 per person and may be obtained by contacting Caroline Caprio at 323-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Tommy Sacco at 578-5526.
“In addition to dinner, attendees will dance to the music of Madhatter and Brother to Brother,” Caroline Caprio said. “There will be raffles, a live auction, a 50/50 raffle and a wonderful program.”
Caroline Caprio said her experience has provided motivation for her work with the foundation.
“I enjoy a full and happy life,” she said. “I want people to know that Rhode Island has the second-largest number of brain tumors in the nation. I also want people to know it’s not a death sentence … My recovery was paramount to me. I took it very seriously. I fought for my life. Life is precious. It’s all about giving back.”