Local News

Durham boy battling cancer: 'We want to help more kids survive'

Posted April 19, 2016

— Howell Brown was a healthy 9-year-old boy, until the day he wasn't.

"I started having headaches every single day, and then I started throwing up every day," said the now 12-year-old, who is originally from the town of Clyde in western North Carolina.

In 2012, Howell was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was taken from his family's farm near Asheville to Duke Children's Hospital for surgery and treatment.

Howell said the time he spent in the hospital was scary, and returning to school following surgery was not an easy feat.

"Kids would make fun of me," he said. "It is tough."

Howell's cancer spread to his spine, and he is now confined to a wheelchair. He says his mission now is to raise money for The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center by promoting the center's annual run, "Angels Among Us."

"We raise a lot of money to help survive cancer. We want to help more kids survive," he said.

Howell's mother, Susan Brown, said her son has a very giving spirit.

"He is an amazing child," Brown said. "He has a big heart. He loves everybody. He's just a sweet boy."

Brown has been by Howell's side every step of the way. She said raising money for research is the most important thing to her son.

"It's for Howell's sake and for other children - to have a cure for cancer," she said. "Duke is the best hospital in the country, so we are just so thankful to be here."

The 23rd annual Angels Among Us event is Saturday at the Duke Medical Center Campus. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Last year's event raised $2 million for brain tumor research.


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