Ann and Sy Shaver Give Back for a Life Saved Twice
For more than a century, Henry Ford physicians have saved lives by providing world-class care, but not many patients can say their lives were saved twice. Ann Shaver can.
About 50 years ago, Ann began having unexplained problems with her vision and balance. After suffering multiple seizures, she found herself at nearby hospital, where she and her husband Sy were devastated to learn that she had a brain tumor. The news got worse: technology did not yet exist to allow her doctors to operate safely, and knowledge about brain tumors was still in its infancy. Ann was told she had six months to live.
Yet this terrible prognosis did not cause Ann to lose hope. She decided to continue to enjoy life with her husband and two young daughters. Six months came and went, and then a year passed. And something miraculous happened — Ann’s tumor began regressing on its own, stunning her physicians. Her life returned to normal for the next several decades as she raised her daughters and worked in her family’s company.
In 2002, Ann began feeling off again. While driving one day, she had a seizure that landed her in the hospital. The physician there gave her bad news — her tumor was back, and it was in a very sensitive and difficult area of the brain. He admitted that he was not qualified to help her, but he knew someone who could: Ghaus Malik, M.D., a neurosurgeon in the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford Health System.
Dr. Malik began monitoring Ann and her tumor, watching and waiting to see what it would do. He needed to be sure of its exact size and location before it would be safe to operate on.
“I trusted Dr. Malik completely,” Ann says.
In 2009, he decided it was time. After a long and careful procedure, Dr. Malik successfully removed Ann’s tumor, saving her life. Ann and Sy were grateful to return to normal, enjoying time with their children and their beloved standardbred race horses.
“I’m so thankful to Dr. Malik. He listens to me and explains things in a way that is easy to understand,” says Ann. “He has also sparked my interest in the way that the brain works. It’s fascinating.”
Dr. Malik continued to monitor Ann over the next ten years. Unfortunately, in 2018 he discovered a second tumor, this time on her pituitary — another delicate area. Dr. Malik brought in a second Hermelin physician, Jack Rock, M.D., a neurosurgeon with spinal and pituitary expertise, to partner on the surgery. Thankfully, their teamwork was successful, and today Ann is looking forward to the birth of her first great-grandchild.
“I credit Dr. Malik with saving my life, twice,” says Ann. “I also wouldn’t be here if it were not for Dr. Rock’s wonderful care.”
Sy and Ann believe that without advances in research and science in the years between her first hospital stay and today, Ann might not be alive. That, coupled with their gratitude toward Henry Ford, the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, and Dr. Rock and Dr. Malik in particular, is why they give back to Henry Ford’s Department of Neurosurgery. Their generosity has supported Dr. Malik’s leading-edge research and the global neurosurgery programs by Dr. Rock.
“I trust that they use the funds we provide to do important research and outreach that will benefit future brain tumor patients,” says Ann. “I hope this will help save lives.”
Just like Ann’s was. Twice.