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12-Year-Old Brain Cancer Survivor Bestows Honor on TV Host


LOS ANGELES - Dame Ellen DeGeneres? The queen of daytime talk was recently knighted, but not by Queen Elizabeth. The honor was bestowed by 12-year-old David Dingman-Grover, who first met the comedienne in 2005 as a guest on her show after successfully undergoing a new form of brain surgery that saved his life. Now the youngster wants others to know that there is hope so he’s serving as the inaugural “children’s ambassador” to the Skull Base Foundation whose mission, in part, is to help others suffering from brain tumors. He invited DeGeneres to join his “Kingdom of Tumor Slayers” during a return appearance on her show this week in hopes of raising funds for the foundation.

David first came to public attention in 2005, when he was told by doctors that the deadly, grapefruit-sized tumor lodged in the deep recesses of his brain was “inoperable.” His mother, Tiffini, refused to accept the diagnosis and turned to the Internet, where she learned about a new form of minimally invasive surgery being conducted at the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles. Moved by David’s plight, Institute founder Hrayr Shahinian, M.D. donated his services and removed the tumor by inserting a micro-instrument through his nose. Today David leads a normal, active life.

“I was told that there was no hope and that I would die, but then we met Dr. Shahinian and he saved my life,” said David, who hails from Sterling, Virginia. “I want to help others who are going through the same thing that I went through so we created the Kingdom of Tumor Slayers and invited Ellen to serve in my court. I hope that others join us in the fight against brain tumors may all tumor slayers unite!”

Added Shahinian, “David is truly a remarkable young man. His generosity of spirit and desire to help others by forming this unique fundraising program is admirable and will surely bring hope to so many others.”

Shahinian turned the medical community upside down by shunning the traditional craniotomy with his endoscopic approach to skull base surgery. To date, Shahinian and his world-class team of surgeons, neurologists, endocrinologists and other medical professionals have treated more than 3,000 patients using advanced endoscopy. As a result, these advances in the field are leading to a paradigm shift in this field of medicine despite some opposition from traditionalists who are holding on to long-established practices and are resistant to change. The Skull Base Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting research and education efforts in the field of skull base surgery and providing treatment to those facing economic hardship.


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