Valley yoga studio raises awareness for brain tumor research

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and statistics show that more than 700,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor today.

That includes Ian Youngblood, a nurse who treated COVID patients in New York last spring. He now works as a yoga instructor in Arizona, and his studio is doing something special to help people afflicted with this condition.

In the past year, Youngblood's life has changed drastically.

"At the end of my time in New York, I was diagnosed with brain cancer," said the former nurse.

On May 22, 2020, at the age of 29, he set out for the fight of his life.

"I just had some weird neurological symptoms…and then I started throwing up, so we ended up going to the ER," said Youngblood. 

Tests revealed that he had a cancerous mass in his brain. He had surgery, underwent radiation and is still on chemotherapy.

While he leads his students into healing poses at Hot Yoga University, the studio's owners are raising awareness.

"Ian is a rockstar, he’s a survivor, we love him, and we want to do everything we can to support him and support anyone else who is in his situation," said a teacher at HYU. "We decided to do a charity class on May 29, but it’s not just the 29th - we will take donations all month. Past the month, you can always donate directly to the Ivy Research Center."

The studio is raising money for the Ivy Brain Tumor Center in Phoenix, which specializes in clinical trials for brain tumor treatments.

"We get ahead of the curve instead of always trying to chase the disease," Youngblood said. "It’s pretty amazing."

Anyone interested in taking the charity class is asked to register in advance, as space can be limited.

Check out HYU's yoga charity class on May 29:

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