NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A team of WABC-TV employees, including station General Manager Marilu Galvez, joined together to walk and run in solidarity as a team Sunday at a rally to beat brain cancer in honor of former News Director Rehan Aslam, who passed away in July after a year-long battle with Glioblastoma.
WABC was a sponsor of the BT 5K Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run and Walk with the American Brain Tumor Association, and our own David Novarro served as emcee for the event.
The event began at Pier 84 at Hudson River Park.
Aslam was an incredible husband, father, son, brother and friend, having spent six years at the ABC affiliate in Houston before landing his dream job last year at WABC-TV in New York City.
(Previous coverage in video player above)
He led the newsroom for just a few months before he was diagnosed.
"The life expectancy isn't that long," said Dr. Viviane Tabar, Chair of Neurosurgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "It is 18 months with treatments that include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy."
There are variables with most brain cancers, including age, how people react to the treatments, and how far the cancerous tumor has advanced. But with glioblastoma, the odds are never good.
"That that particular type of tumor presents itself already at stage four," Dr. Tabar said. "There are other types of brain tumors that that present at an earlier stage, but this particular trauma already presents in that condition."
Glioblastoma tumors are generally located in the brain stem area, meaning they are hard to reach and next to impossible to remove surgically.
The hard truth with glioblastoma is that researchers are a long way from answers, but it is a rare cancer.
"It is estimated that for glioblastoma in particular, about seven in 100,000 people are diagnosed with it in one year in this country," Dr. Tabar said. "The lifetime risk of getting a glioblastoma is less than 1%, so the odds are very, very low that any one person will get it. But improving awareness of it is important, and once a person gets it, it's so tragic and dramatic that a whole circle of people are impacted by it."
Aslam began his broadcasting career in 2001 at WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. He then went on to produce at WJW-TV in Cleveland and executive produce at WFLD-TV in Chicago.
He joined KTRK-TV in Houston in 2014 as assistant news director, before being named vice president and news director in 2019.
He joined WABC in 2021.
Aslam was passionate about storytelling, spending each day serving diverse communities. He was the founding member of the ABC Owned Television Stations' Houston Belong Committee, a group that focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
He believed representation mattered in the stories that are told every day.
Known for his infectious laugh, warm smile, and ability to connect with anyone in a conversation, Rehan inspired each of us to be our best selves and journalists every single day.
Rehan was a remarkable person, and anyone who knew him immediately liked him. He was kind, smart, and hard-working, and he loved being in the news business.
He was -- as a prerequisite for working in the industry -- always curious, and his loss is felt in our newsroom and by felt everyone who ever came in contact with him.
Rehan was 47 years old and is survived by his wife Sadaf and son Rafae.
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News