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OtherI work at a very popular christmas tree stand in one of the wealthiest parts of the U.S. Ama

Dec 24th 2016 by BigBabyBurke • 37 Questions • 282 Points

"Hi Reddit. I'm Gray. Or Amazing Gray. Or Captain Gray the Lord because I'm the captain of the pirate ship. When I first found out I had tumors I was scared, and I have that same feeling today. I was afraid that I might lose function in my body or that I might die from it. I am thankful that I am still here and it hasn't taken away my life and my spirit. I try and stay positive but I still get nervous about it but I am happy that I am surrounded by people who are always looking out for me."

Joining Gray is Michelle, or Lady Crimson, Gray's mom and co-Captain. She will help Gray on any questions he might struggle with and knows all the details of his medical hardships.

My name is Joe, or Joe The Ruthless Breakdancer. Gray's friend and First Mate. Gray and I met through CoachArt, a charity that pairs volunteer mentors with children who suffer from chronic illness. We've been hanging out for 9 months now and have truly bonded. We made this video which pretty much sums us up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA65yd8SOrI

Lastly, this is Gray's CoachArt donation page. It's a truly wonderful organization that provides so many children wonderful opportunities to live life, learn a skill, and make friends. Check them out!

https://my.coachart.org/campaign/amazing-gray/c111376

Proof: https://i.redd.it/8q1r10zmat3y.jpg

EDIT: Hey guys, it's 9am here in Los Angeles. Gray has been a trooper but is a bit wiped out so we are going to sign off. Wanted to really thank everyone for all their questions and interest and donations to CoachArt! From the Captain himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMl8h-wxQkI

EDIT #2: Michelle is going to log on later and during the week to try and respond to some outstanding questions, especially those concerning family support. She will make sure to identify that it's her responding!

Q:

Nog or choccy milk?

A:

Will you do a second movie if the phone goes back online again?


Q:

Welcome to reddit! If you could tell one thing to every person in the world, what would it be?

A:

Nog before work to deal with rich, entitled people. Choccy milk after for the protein. Most of the trees weight between 100-200 pounds. The BIG ones weight closer to 300. Makes for a good workout.


Q:

Yes, check the last 15 seconds of the film ;)

A:

I would like to spread awareness about brain tumors. Support the fight against childhood cancer. May is brain tumor awareness month. I'd like for people to support it more especially during that month


Q:

Have you ever caught anybody trying to have sexual relations with the one of the trees?

A:

When? We need Find My Phone: Roamin' in Romania ASAP.


Q:

Hey Gray, I'm a 17 year old battling brain cancer now. Do you have a favorite doctor/nurse that you love talking to? And what advice would you give to me or others who are battling childhood cancer?

A:

The image is our price sheet for everything we sell. Sorry that it is sideways. Op is not a smart man.


Q:

Love the title. It's hard to tell. I will focus the sequel on the complete life cycle of the phone.

A prequel about where my iPhone ended up will probably be released before that. I am in the pre-production of that film now and I am planning on releasing it next year. It all depends on the developments of the story

A:

Just try not to think about what you have. Let your family or whoever take care of that. Just focus on being a kid. You know who I got that from? M. O. M.


Q:

Hey Anthony

I thought your video was really interesting and I like the way you edited it. I have a couple of questions I hope that's alright.

First what made you curious about making a film about your phone being stolen?

Secondly what sort of ethical considerations did you do before, doing and after shooting your shortfilm?

Cheers from Denmark!

A:

Hey Gray, what would you say is the thing that keeps you so positive in the face of having dealt with this for ten years?


Q:

Hey! Thank you!

There were a couple of things that made me curious about the story of a stolen phone. Let me summerize it for you.

  1. My iPhone got stolen by a thief who did it in such a way, I am almost certain she was a trained professional thief. Since she would probably never use the phone herself, it made me wonder. What would happen with the phone after the theft? Where would it eventually end up?

  2. Whe tried to track the thief through find my iPhone. We could only follow the phone for a few minutes. By the time we and the police were close to the phone, it went offline. Although this sucked, chasing the thief was actually pretty exciting.

  3. I had a lot of personal information on the iPhone. When I lost it, I suddenly realized how much we all depend on our smartphones. It isn't just a device we only communicate with. It's far more intimated than that. I think it is one of the most intimated devices a person can use (we take it everywhere we go, communicate with our loved ones and affairs with it, make (nude)pictures etc.) Having aces to all that information could tell a lot about a person, even the things he or she would never share with other people. That kind of creeps me out. By making the film I wanted to create awareness of that. Imagine you getting hacked!

About the ethical considerations:

Before:

I had a couple of rules I followed. For instance, I did not want the phone to be found. It had to be clearly stolen. Also, if the thief sold the phone immediately, I would follow the location of the phone and collect some metadata to find out where it would end up. If it was just sold in the Netherlands again, I would deactivate the app and start over with a new phone.

During:

I wanted to follow the phone until I had enough information to make a story. Alltough I collected data everyday, I did it only once or maybe twice a day, at different times each day. I would stop collecting data after a few weeks and than collect weekly and eventually monthly if necessary. This has to do with proportionality. But after two weeks, the phone went offline.

After:

I made sure to anonymize the man. Not only did I blur his face, all the phone numbers you see in the film mis at least 2 digits and I have shuffled the numbers a bit. Even the house in the end doesn't have a number. I think a lot of people didn't notice this. This was of course intentionally. I always hate it when tv shows blurr and make it extremely ugly and messy.

A:

Gray said he wants to video his first response. We are uploading it and will edit this link shortly!

EDIT: https://youtu.be/0WsmfjIJARo


Q:

What are the unexpected/interesting results of your film going viral?

A:

What do you want for Christmas?


Q:

I wasn't expecting the film to go viral. So that was actually unexpected for me.

A:

Pirate gear


Q:

What's the first thing to consider when doing a film. Is it story? Characters? Scenes?

A:

Steampunk pirate or Renaissance pirate?


Q:

I always start with a story idea. I always try to minimize the characters and make a draft were I just summarize the crucial scenes to tell the story. I think that's a good way to start.

A:

I'd say Renaissance pirate


Q:

Why not confront him? Also, how do you feel about the responses regarding the nationality of the thief and ongoing refugee discussion?

A:

Good morning Gray. I've been helping my Wife through a similar situation for a bit over 5 years now. Four bouts of various types of cancer (gastrointestinal [neuroendocrine carcinoma], cervical, ovarian and now, just last month, stage 3 melanoma) How have you dealt with the depression and/or isolation that typically comes with this ordeal?

Michelle, as a caregiver, same question.


Q:

It was never my intention to confront the guy because I was investigating where stolen phones end up. I was hoping the phone would turn up somewhere else, which it did 7 months later. Even though the story of this guy stops at the end, the story about the phone still continuous on.

I think the reactions regarding the nationality, where people blame his behaviour on it are terrible. It is a fact the guy was a Egyptian. In the film I wanted to tell a story about the human side of the thief, and religion and ethnicity are a big part of somebodies identity. That's the only reason I mentioned it.

But the thief could have been anyone. It's just coincidence. It also doesn't say anything about the country he is from. There are always idiots who will blame bad behaviour on ethnicity. Fortunately the big majority just sees a man as a man and not as race or colour.

The opposite reactions were people claim I made the film to spread hate and Islamophobia are just as bad and actually are quite racist as well. Just because I am a western white guy doesn't mean I hate Arabic people.

But it's typical for the time we are living in.

A:

I feel like I get depressed and alone but I always remember that I have people to help me through those moments. And when I remember that, it makes me feel peppy again. That there are people out there that are cheering for me and it helps me not feel alone and conquer what I'm going through. From Michelle, keeping him involved with people with similar conditions. Like CoachArt. When you do things with CoachArt, there are families and kids with similar situations and we get to be together as a group. Creating opportunities to share within the foundations we are involved with is an outlet for him to share. It creates a support network Gray says I like CoachArt because it helps me meet people who know how I feel and it makes me feel better because other people really don't know how I feel


Q:

I really enjoyed watching your film, it was beautifully made. So here's my question:

Most of my projects will involve privacy, hacking and cybercrime

What got you into these topics, was it from a young age or a recent thing?

A:

This is probably going to get buried, but I wanted to let you know that when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 24, I became really jaded and relied on gallows’ humor to cope. I am 27 now and can be rather bitter over how much I have lost (peripheral vision, being able to drive at night, decent looking hair/skin, and a modest credit score) over my diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Reading your AMA has blown me away with how positive and insightful you are at 16. You have a lot to be proud of and I hope your co-captain knows that she raised a wonderful young man.

Per this subreddit’s rules, I have to ask a question : when you went through chemo, did you have Temodar (the oral chemo?) Have you found it to be more mild than intravenous chemotherapy?


Q:

I started to get interested in these topics when I was around the age of 19. I always liked technology but was never really thinking about the negative consequences have. I was and am very interested in Wiki leaks and the Snowden revelations. Snowden really kickstarted my interest in the subjects. When I did research for the film I really dived into the material as well. I now am politicly active on these subjects by giving speeches and workshops, soon even for politicians to help defend our privacy rights.

A:

I'd like to say thank you and I'm sorry to hear about what you lost. But just remember, there's always a silver lining at the end of the rainbow!


Q:

Could you expand on the legal aspects? Is what you did legal?

Great film by the way, next time I hope you'll manage to work with a smartphone producers company to install a hidden sim inside the phone so you have full control, and somehow fake the "powered off" status of the phone itself.

A:

What's your dream?


Q:

I was operating in a grey area. It basically comes down to this: Spying or hacking someone is illegal.

But technically I was doing it with my own device. As an artist and journalist I had a have a some more rights.

There are a few important things I had to take in account. - proportionality; I couldn't just spy as much as I wanted but only collected the necessary data I needed for the film. This is also why in the sequel I will focus on less privacy sensitive data. - social importance: The reason I made the film and came up with the concept. - maximizing the impact while minimizing the negative consequences: I got a lot of media coverage, in every interview I explain my motives. On the other side I censored the data of the guy.

The most important thing is the motive. I did this project to start a discussion about privacy on smartphones and make people aware of the issue. I believe the film is a very effective way to really show what kind of data you can collect and what the consequences of it can be.

Even though not everyone gets the point at first, people now subconsciously realize that getting your smartphone hacked is possible, easy and the amount of data you can collect is enormous. I hope all people who see the film will realize the risk of getting hacked on smartphones, by hackers and governments. On computers, most people use virus scans, install updates and some people even put tape on their webcams while almost nobody even considers how vulnerable a smartphone is, and what the implications of getting hacked mean.

I think the film already created a lot of awareness and started discussions about it. I don't want to encourage anyone to redo this experiment because the film already made the point. I didn't make the film for entertainment. Hacking of phones is a big business and there are plenty recent examples of phones getting hacked. During my research I came across a lot of malware for smartphones that was sold pretty cheap. The problem is already there, unfortunately people are not as aware as they should.

That doesn't guarantee I won't get thrown in jail, but I did the best I could to prevent it while still be able to publish the film

A:

To find a cure to brain tumors. I have lots of dreams but that's my biggest dream. I think 7 kids die from a brain tumor each day. I could be wrong about how many but that's scary to me


Q:

How did you do that zoom into the map? Was that google or apple maps? Was it a screen capture? I've tried doing it but can't manage it in one click.

A:

Good morning Gray! Hopefully you're having a good day. What do you feel most proud of?


Q:

I used Google Maps and recorded the screen really closely so you can see the pixels

A:

Hi! Just the fact that I'm still here and still going. Any time that I'm feeling down and having a bad day, I remember that I'm a brain tumor survivor and that's not by luck. It's a little luck but we've fought hard


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Fortune favors the bold. Gray, you truly are an inspiration and I have no doubt that your positivity will have a huge impact on not only your friends and family, but this community and countless others as well.

Keep being an amazing person!


Q:

It was never my intention to confront the guy because I was investigating where stolen phones end up. I was hoping the phone would turn up somewhere else, which it did 7 months later. Even though the story of this guy stops at the end, the story about the phone still continuous on.

I went to all the places that were important to the story to take some footage I never used besides that last scene. I thought I could might catch a glimpse of the guy to see if he was still in the Netherlands. If he wasn't I would explain why It didn't have internet connection. I was all by myself and was holding a mono pod. If I had the intention to confront him, I wouldn't have gone alone.

A:

Aww that's sweet


Q:

Did you use encryption on your stolen iPhone? Did you use a sophisticated screen locking feature on the iPhone? (ie. fingerprint-based, password, long pin [5 digits or more]) Or did you use a slide-to-unlock or a simple draw-a-pattern-unlock?

I understand that the decoy Android phone was unencrypted and unlocked (screen) on purpose.

A:

Hi Gray, thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

What has been the hardest part of dealing with your medical issues? Would be interested to hear from your mother about this as well.


Q:

My iPhone got stolen in January 2014. It was an iPhone 5 and had a simple lock screen (code). As you may know there were a lot of lockscreen bypasses for the older iOS versions and even the newest was recently patched because of a glitch that allowed going through the contacts and photo's whole the iPhone was still locked.

But for me that wasn't even relevant as the phone was unlocked because I was making notes when it was stolen.

A:

Just going through treatments one after another after another after. Every time I have an MRI or surgery, I'm wondering "am I gonna make it or am I gonna die? Sometimes I wonder if this is the last one." Mom said hardest for Gray has been the anxiety and anticipation of going through treatments. That's ALWAYS been the hardest.


Q:

Do you think there's a connection between you putting credit on his account and him realising that and therefore taking the SIM out? Great project, found it interesting.

A:

Dude I know the feel on MRI's. I had one about 6 weeks ago to measure a tumor in my eye socket that I am getting cut out in about 3 hours.

45 minutes of banging noises to where you can't focus sucks. Sorry you have had so many at such a young age.

Best of luck to you.

UPDATE Next Morning

Thank you all so much for the well wishes. Here I was trying to commiserate with the Amazing Mr. Gray and y'all went out of your way for me. As I type this my left eye is essentially swollen shut this morning and between that and the bandages I can barely open it but I am not experiencing much pain.

The surgery itself was anticipated to be 1 hour but lasted 2.5. I was partially sedated for the whole thing and used lots of local anesthetic. The Dr. told my wife I was very talkative throughout but my recollection was sharing what I could feel as he was working, asking questions about the procedure, and giving relative context to one of the complications that came up.

As for the tumor itself. When scanned via MRI with a follow up CT it was estimated to be about 1.5cm and it was apparently a little larger than 2cm when removed. It was also further up and behind my eye in the socket which required the doctor to move my eye before he could fully remove the tumor. The other small complication was the tumor had a large vessel providing it a strong blood supply which had to be dealt with. Those two factors are what extended it from 1 to 2.5 hours.

As for my prognosis. I should know in the next week or so. The good news is, the thing came out entirely in one piece and it did not appear anything was left behind. In the event it was malignant I should be in pretty good shape.

Again, thank you all for the well wishes and support.


Q:

I don't really think so as he used the phone some time after that, but I am not 100% sure. People on drugs can get very paranoid so maybe. But if I had to guess he probably needed money and sold the phone

A:

Good luck on getting that removed! See you on the flip side


Q:

Hey Grey!

First off, just want to say that you're an amazingly strong young man for enduring what you have. I just lost my mom (4 months ago) to cancer after a 4+ year battle. She's the strongest person I've ever known, and I can only imagine what it was like for her, but I'm so happy that you've fought just as hard as she did, and you're still at it! People like you two inspire me and millions of others to never give up in life.

Also, what are your top three favorite games?

Happy Holidays!

A:

That touched my heart, thank you. Skip Bo, Monopoly Deal, and Uno Attack. This is from Joe, I can tell you first hand Gray is savage in Skip Bo


Q:

Grey is savage in general Joe, get rekt

A:

Gray said "I'm not savage, I'm a pirate lord!"


Q:

How do you live your daily life?

A:

Making moments out of everything. If you're saying something can't be done, someone else is doing it


Q:

Not relevant to to the AMA, but nice name.

A:

Between Grim Rocket and Grim Chaos, Gray said he likes Grim Chaos better. But it's close


Q:

I wish the very best to you and everyone you love!! Do you prefer cats or dogs ?

A:

Dogs!


Q:

Good morning, Gray! Thanks for doing this. I think you're awesome and inspiring. Is there a way I can keep following you to hear/read about what you're up to and be able to say hi? PS: Joe is way more popular since he started hanging out with you. Good job teaching him how to be more fun.

A:

That is funny about Joe. I have a Facebook site that I can receive messages: https://www.facebook.com/Amazing-Gray-117720188251784/?fref=ts


Q:

Hi there! As a current medical student/future physician, do you have any advice for me either about a really positive experience you've had with your doctors or even a particularly negative experience that you'd want to share with me?

Thanks for doing this, hang in there and keep fighting! I'm on your side, fighting against cancer, just from a different angle! You are inspiring with all your positivity!

A:

Yes I do. The patient is always right. The patient AND their parents are always right. Listen to your patient's parents and also listen to their parents. Don't look at them like they're crazy. Just trust them. They know what they're going through more than you would know because that's why they came to you


Q:

Good morning awesome folks! As a fairly new father, having something like this happen to my daughter is one of my greatest fears. So I guess this question is aimed more at Lady Crimson: What were the early signs of Gray's illness? What led to the discovery of his tumors? You guys are great and I wish you all the best in the future. Thanks for doing this.

A:

From Michelle, something seemed off. I would say motherly instincts. Something seemed off that I couldn't figure out and I would take him to the pediatirition. It was pressure in his head that would build up at night and he couldn't sleep. He would wake up very disoriented. After he would be up for a while, he would be fine. Anything that is persistently off, he was symptomatic at four. I didn't get him diagnosed until six. You kind of have to go by developmental milestones. But it's hard to tell at that age and you don't want to take him to the hospital all the time

From Gray, people thought my mom was crazy. But she was right


Q:

Good Morning Gray, do you believe in an Higher Power? Me being in your situation, id always think "Why Me?"

A:

I used to feel like God chose me to pick on me. I sort of still feel that way a little bit. Everything happens for a reason but I wonder why God chose me to have the brain tumor? Michelle says "One day Gray said, you know what mom? Sometimes, bad things just happen. And not for a reason"


Q:

Hi Gray! You're the man! What's your favorite kind of music to dance to?

A:

Rock and roll! My favorite song to dance to is "I Love Rock and Roll"

He just sang out the chorus, too


Q:

I can only imagine the pain you've been through. If I could ask what exactly is the kind of brain cancer that you have and are you currently in remission?

A:

From Michelle - he has diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma throughout the brain and spine. He is not in remission, we do the best we can to manage tumor growth and all the effects through chemo and surgeries


Q:

Hey Gray, I'm a neurosurgery resident currently at our children's hospital and work with kids with brain tumors. What are some things that you and your parents appreciated (or maybe didnt appreciate) from your neurosurgeon? It's an understatement to say what you and your family have been through is challenging, but your attitude is awesome. Keep it up.

A:

From Joe, I actually have a classic Gray story. He was beating me pretty bad in Skip Bo one day, I was completely out-strategized. I said "Gray, you know that you are really smart, right?" He responds, "well, I do hang out with a lot of neurosurgeons."


Q:

Morning gray, hope your day is going well. If I may ask, what advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with brain cancer?

Also thank you for the ama!

A:

To not worry. That you're in good hands with your family and your doctors. Make sure your family knows that they need to trust what they believe in and not always trust what the doctors say. And your family will always take care of you no matter what you go through


Q:

Hi Gray! Do you have any weird favourite snacks? I personally like eating anchovies straight from the little jar sometimes, maybe you have something new for me to try :)

A:

My favorite thing right now is cauliflower rice mixed with eggs and bbq spices. Yeaaah


Q:

Hi Gray, it will be interesting to read your responses! After living with this for many years, what would you say are some of the most common misconceptions and/or preconceived notions that you face regarding your situation?

Also, what are your favorite movies? Take care!

A:

People think that I'm fine sometimes. "Oh, he's fine, he's not chronically sick." I just want to be heard and my story be heard. Michelle says "I think people think you get cancer and they take it out, you get treatments, and it's done. But it's not like that, he's been in and out of treatment for 10 years. Some cancers are too dangerous to remove"

EDIT: To add movies, mom said Chicken Run used to be a favorite. But Gray said emphatically that it is no longer the case. He said "I love Zootopia and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"


Q:

What are your opinions on medical cannabis and what is holding you back from CBD trials?

A:

From mom, we actually tried it like five years ago. Had to get him a card. We didn't try it as a treatment, we tried it for anti-anxiety and neuro calming effect. At that point, they didn't have all the blends so the amount they were giving was so much that he would be knocked out. That prevents us from being able to maintain accurate neuro status and that's very important


Q:

Hello Grey! I'm 31 and I have cervical cancer, gone through two rounds of chemo, 5 surgeries, and hoping to get on a clinical trial since it spread to my lungs. I too, am often asked how I'm so positive. I tell them the alternative is depressing. I can't think about how horrible everything could become. I'd just be a sad depressed person. I too get very anxious with treatments and tests. I'm always thinking "is this where I find out there is nothing else we can do?" My mom gets anxious as well. So far I have a way forward and I focus on that as a positive. Keep up you sprints and enjoy Christmas crafts! I do crafty things to keep my mind busy too :-)

A:

If you're not positive, negative things are going to happen. You get what you put out. Think positive and positive things happen. Good luck to you! EDIT: From Michelle, there was a pivotal point in which I decided that we were going to live, we were not going to let his treatments take over and stop us from living. You have to live your life. Why fight for it if you're not going to actually live for it?


Q:

Hey Gray,

Watched your video, thanks for being pretty awesome and having way better dance moves than me!

Besides the dancing, how do you like to spend your free time? Any favorite movies or books or hobbies you have?

A:

Doing arts and crafts. I like to do all arts and crafts.

EDIT: From Joe, his Pinterest username is "michelleandgray" He loves Pinterest!


Q:

Yo Cap, what's the best hospital food you have ever had? Way to keep battling bud! You are tougher than I.

A:

Grilled Cheese!

EDIT: Like, their grilled cheese's are the real deal. If I had two places to choose to get grilled cheese, it would be In N Out or the hospital


Q:

Favourite video game?

A:

Sly 3


Q:

Hey brother Gray, what's your favorite baseball team?

A:

Dodgers! I have friends that play on a little league Dodgers team so that's why


Q:

Do you get tired of people focusing on cancer as a defining quality of you? I mean, would you rather people talk about something else more often with you?

A:

I half think people just associate me with cancer. But mostly I think people think I'm a normal kid and look like a normal kid. Part of it is because I don't have the typical signs like losing my hair and stuff. It's feels bad when people give me a weird look like they're scared of me when they find out I have cancer. Sometimes my doctors focus on the bad even though I know they are just doing their job and trying to make me better. Sometimes I don't like being at the hospital because of the negativity. Sometimes I feel poisoned with negativity. Outside of the hospital I feel like I can breathe. The negativity is like smog and I'm breathing in the smog. It feels nice and good not to have negative thoughts


Q:

Ayo Captain Gray!

If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?

A:

Donate all to brain tumor research. To find cures for brain tumors


Q:

Hi Captain Gray! Do you play any kind of video games? PC, Console, or mobile, it doesn't matter. If so, what kind of games are you inclined to? First person shooters? Or Racing games? or Role-playing games?

A:

Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo DS. I play food games on my iPad. Cake Mania is one


Q:

Hey Gray, I see you've chosen to rock a double bracelet and middle finger ring, which I dig. What is the story behind the ring? What other pieces do you have in your collection?

A:

That's my bling. The bracelets remind me of a special moment or special person. The ring I made out of a milk carton cap. Every pirate has rings so I have to have a ring