Son of Cavs' owner raises awareness of genetic disease

12:41 AM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Nick Gilbert, son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, helped spread awareness about a little-known disease at last night's NBA draft lottery.

Nick has Neurofibromatosis or NF, a genetic nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body.

The 14-year-old is also the spokesperson for The Children's Tumor Foundation and his appearance last night supporting the Cav's helped raise money for the organization looking to find a cure for NF. 

Nick's battle with NF put him through brain surgery, loss of vision in one eye and four rounds of chemotherapy.

According to Dr. Carol Crowe, a geneticist at MetroHealth Medical Center, symptoms of NF include being born with multiple light brown birthmarks, freckles in unusual places, such as armpits or groin area, small tumors along the nerves, tumors in the iris and/or optic nerve of the eye, bone deformity such as bowed legs or scoliosis and family history. 

However, she adds, about half of the cases, the person afflicted is the first in the family to get it caused by something unknown that causes a genetic mutation. 

"Treatment is usually watch and not do anything. Occasionally if there's scoliosis there may be the need for surgery if some of these small neurofibromas rub or bleed or become large they may need to be removed, rarely they can become cancerous." Dr. Crowe says.

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