For most families, November 21, 2008 was a typical fall Friday. For Larry and Betsy Orr, however, it was anything but. Larry, 47 years old, had been feeling confused and disoriented, and before the day was over, the Buckhead couple ended up in Piedmont Hospital’s Emergency Department where Larry was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive, malignant brain tumor. They were faced with making difficult decisions very quickly regarding his care. As they considered their options, they found that Atlanta did not have a nationally recognized brain tumor center to provide the care they needed. Betsy Orr carefully thought through her options and decided to have the surgery to remove the tumor done at Piedmont Hospital by Dr. Steven Wray. Larry also began treatment with Dr. Perry Ballard, medical oncologist and chairman of Piedmont’s cancer committee. The decision was made to travel to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. for other treatment.
During this time the Orrs made a commitment to themselves and to Piedmont Hospital to establish a premier brain tumor center in Atlanta. Thanks to their generosity and desire to make this happen, a fund was established to hire a Brain Tumor Center navigator and clinical coordinator. This person guides patients and families through the steps involved in getting the best care for each patient on an individual basis.
Larry died on August 8, 2011 at the age of 50 almost three years after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
Through Betsy Orr, his dream for a premier brain tumor center in Atlanta continues.