Yohos Face Challenge Outside the Lines

Nov. 22, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The wife of former University of Iowa baseball player Nate Yoho is fighting an uphill battle, but the pair is trying to stay positive and not let the stage three brain tumor consume their life.

In March 2011, after not feeling like herself during a morning workout, Laura Brammeier Yoho, a personal trainer, decided to cut her training session short. In the locker room at a local gym, she blacked out for an undetermined period of time and when she came to, couldn’t form or comprehend a sentence.

She knew something was wrong.

Doctors initially diagnosed it as a stroke, but after a month of experiencing symptoms, the Yohos sought a second opinion. The results revealed a brain tumor.

“She was a healthy person, then something gets diagnosed that is so devastating,” said Nate, who played for the Hawkeyes from 2002-05. “But her attitude is amazing.”

“You can choose to be consumed by it on a daily basis, or you can choose to be optimistic and understand what you’re going through, and do everything you can to fight.”
Former Hawkeye Nate Yoho

Laura had her first brain surgery in May of 2011 to perform a total resection of an Anaplastic Astrocytoma malignant tumor; she had a second surgery in March 2012 and braved a third surgery in July 2012. The next step is another MRI in December.

The Yohos have inquired about participating in a clinical trial, but Laura isn’t eligible unless her tumor grows.

“Right now, we’re in a holding pattern,” said Nate. “… to see if the radiation works.”

After Nate finished his collegiate playing career at the University of Iowa, the communication between himself and UI head coach Jack Dahm dwindled. Yoho was appreciative to get the call and support from the UI baseball program.

“We’ve been in touch with a lot of people (since the diagnosis) and a lot of people have resurfaced,” said Yoho. “We (Jack and I) hadn’t spoken much since 2005, so when he contacted us, it kind of gave me chills when he called… it made me feel good. He is a good man, and it was very touching for him to reach out.”

“I hadn’t heard about Nate and Laura’s struggles until I read about it on Facebook,” said Dahm. “He was a very good player for us, and we wanted to help out anyway we could. Anytime we can do something for a former player, we will.

“This is a tough situation, and we want to do our part. You know the saying, once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.”

The Yohos know they face a tremendous challenge in Laura’s fight. Doctors have never really given them a diagnosis, but Nate has done his research and the results often confirm his worst fear.

Nate and Laura don’t let it consume their everyday lives. Instead they are going full-speed ahead to fight the illness.

“The most amazing thing is my wife has gotten herself in better physical shape than she has ever been in,” said Nate. “She has always taken great care of herself, and another thing we’ve tried to do is manage the stress. We always have something to look forward to.

“You can choose to be consumed by it on a daily basis, or you can choose to be optimistic and understand what you’re going through, and do everything you can to fight.”

Nate and Laura Yoho choose the latter. With the personal trainer attitude and work ethic in their hearts and minds, that’s the only way they know how.

For more information or to donate to Laura’s fundraiser, visit www.giveforward.com/helplaurawin.