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Jeffrey Brown, 18, of Ypsilanti overcame brain cancer. He graduated this spring, and plans to attend the University of Michigan in the fall. Jeffrey hopes to become a pediatric oncologist one day, helping other kids fight cancer.
Kristen Jordan Shamus/Detroit Free Press

Losing was never an option. Jeffrey Brown’s family made that clear from the start.

The boy from Ypsilanti was given just 50/50 odds of survival when doctors diagnosed him with stage 4 brain cancer at age 13.  

Yet the Browns — dad Christopher; mom Michelle; and siblings Kamilah, Elena, Ben and Serena — never allowed doubt or negative thoughts to creep into their prayerful approach to his treatment for brain cancer because, they decided, Jeffrey wasn’t done living.

“Our whole family just made a choice to believe that I was going to be healed,” Jeffrey said. “And that was it. They were stronger than my circumstance. Maybe they had their doubts, but if they did, they didn’t show it.”

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The youngest of Michelle and Christopher Brown’s five children, Jeffrey was wrapping up his eighth grade year at Canton Charter Academy in May 2013 when he starting having symptoms that suggested something was wrong.  

He shrugged off the nosebleeds that started a couple months earlier. Doctors thought perhaps a gastrointestinal problem like acid reflux was causing his frequent vomiting or that he was training too hard and overexerting himself as a cross-country runner. 

But when Jeffrey started exhibiting symptoms of nystagmus — an eye condition that causes uncontrolled repetitive eye movements — his mom, a physical therapist, knew something more serious might be involved. 

It wasn’t long before…