Founder's Message

brettprofileWelcome to the Walking Miracles Family Foundation website.

I’m Brett Wilson, founder and CEO. Our foundation was named in commemoration of my personal battle with two cancers.

What follows is my personal story and a brief overview of the foundation’s mission and goals.

In 1974, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of two. I received chemotherapy, cranial and testicular radiation because these were the first known reoccurrence sites at that time. I went into remission immediately after receiving the treatment. In addition to radiation, I was prescribed several chemotherapy drugs for five years.

Unfortunately, I relapsed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I continued receiving radiation treatment to my chest for more than two years and was put on the CHOP chemotherapy protocol which included several prescribed drugs.

Despite the treatment and medications, my lymphoma cancer mass grew very large and wrapped around my windpipe – to the point where I stopped breathing and blue-coded twice because the medical staff had trouble getting an intubation tube down my throat. 

The Walking Miracles Family Foundation was a dream I had once I finished treatment in 1982. I told my mother that I was going to create a center to help families like ours, so they would never have to go through the journey like we did, having to figure out all the long-term side effects of my treatment by ourselves.

In 2006, while living in North Carolina, the side effects of my cancer became a reality and I had no insurance at the time. I had my gallbladder removed; it had calcified due to all the chemo and radiation treatments. In 2008, I had my first heart scare and went to my internal medicine doctor who did an EKG, which showed that I had a 28-beat per minute heart rate. The doctor sent me by ambulance to have my first pacemaker inserted. I moved back home and in 2012 started Walking Miracles, which is now Walking Miracles Family Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. 

After coming home, I became a member of our state cancer coalition and I was asked to be on the survivorship and patient navigation committees. I had received my master’s degree in community agency counseling from Marshall University so that I could counsel families like mine. I also received certification in patient navigation from the Harold Freeman Patient Navigation Institute. In 2015, the American College of Surgeons adopted new standards for cancer care that included survivorship care, patient navigation and psychosocial services (counseling). I incorporated these standards into the services we offer, focusing on caregivers, families and survivors impacted by childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer in West Virginia.