Rachel Robbins

By proton-admin | December 3, 2019

“I look forward to going back to school when I am able to drive again. Meanwhile, I plan to run the New York City marathon as part of the National Brain Tumor Society Team next fall.”


I love to run – it’s my true passion. However, that passion was totally and unexpectedly upended by major health issues.

It started with vision problems in January of 2018, while I was studying in an accelerated nursing school program. I was 27 at the time, and I initially assumed that the intensity of my nursing program was causing me to have problems seeing. When I switched to the regular program in the fall of 2018 and started seeing bright spots, I blamed it on not eating right. Still, the spots persisted, and by the end of November, I was having severe headaches.

On a trip with my family, I was looking at a sign and could only read half of the words. The headaches continued through January, but one night while visiting home, the throbbing pain was too much, and I knew I needed to see my family doctor.

After seeing him the next day, he immediately sent me for an MRI. I unexpectedly discovered I had a brain tumor. Two weeks after removing the tumor, I found out I had stage 4 glioblastoma. In February of 2019, after speaking with one of my dad’s friends, I started seeking out information about proton therapy.

My oncology team agreed that proton therapy would be the best course of action for me, and I made plans to go to Orlando Health to begin treatment. Unfortunately, my insurance company kept denying treatment. It was only when Dr. Ramakrishna at Orlando Health went to bat for me that I could start proton therapy. It was a long month of denials and appeals. I will never forget the stress of sitting in my hotel room, ready to start treatment, yet not knowing if my insurance company would cover it.

They finally did, and I am delighted to share that my treatment and surgery are behind me. I am learning to live with the fact that my vision will never be the same again. I never gave up running during this ordeal and am slowly but surely getting my life back to normal. I look forward to going back to school when I am able to drive again. Meanwhile, I plan to run the New York City marathon as part of the National Brain Tumor Society Team next fall.

Through it all, I have supported by so many people – I even received a letter of encouragement from President Trump! My faith has kept me optimistic and I continue to feel very blessed, and fortunate that I was able to receive proton therapy.