Donate in memory of Carolyn Byington

Carolyn Byington, 26, was a beloved patient of Dr. Mark Souweidane.  He successfully treated her for chiari malformation in 2008, and he remembers her and her family fondly to this day.  Carolyn tragically passed away on June 10, and her family would like to support Dr. Souweidane’s research in her memory.

“We want the last chapter of Carolyn’s life to be one where her friends and loved ones can help others in her memory.  Carolyn was a true philanthropist who was active in many charitable organizations, and we know she would have wanted to help other children under Dr. Souweidane’s care by supporting his research,” said Carolyn’s mother, Jennifer Byington.  

Dr. Mark Souweidane co-founded the Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell Medicine, under which he leads a team of researchers.  Your support of his lab will enable his team to explore new inroads into researching Chiari malformation in addition to supporting his basic research on innovative surgical approaches to pediatric brain tumors. We thank you for making a donation in memory of Carolyn.

You can make a secure credit card donation here. Please include Carolyn’s name as the honoree on the form so we can notify her family.

If you prefer to mail a check, please print and fill out our printable donation form.  Donations should be made payable to: Weill Cornell Medical College, and please indicate Carolyn Byington in the memo area.

The 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala

Dr. Mark Souweidane, Co-founder of the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, has dedicated his career to treating and studying rare pediatric brain tumors, with a specific focus in DIPG.  The Cristian Rivera Foundation has been supporting Dr. Souweidane’s research for eleven years, since DIPG took Cristian’s life in 2009.

We hope you will consider sponsoring, attending, or running an ad in the journal in support of this event. The proceeds from the annual gala directly support the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, and the Cristian Rivera Foundation has proven to be one of our largest and most consistent supporters over the years.  A highlights video from the 2018 gala can be found here.  We are indebted to this wonderful organization, and the tireless efforts of founder, John Rivera.

For more information and to peruse sponsorship/ticketing options, please visit


Set up a Birthday Fundraiser

The greatest gift you can give is hope.  If you would like us to set up your own personalized fundraising page to commemorate your birthday, please fill out the form here and we will happily coordinate this with you!

We will send you a link to your fundraising page within 24 hours.  Thank you for your tremendous support!

CBTP Manuscript Accepted by Oxford Academic Neuro-Oncology Advances

A new research study from the CBTP lab entitled “Combined Targeting of PI3K and MEK Effector Pathways via CED for DIPG Therapy,” was published in Neuro-Oncology Advances on May 29, 2019. The published manuscript, submitted by Dr. Uday Maachani (Dr. Souweidane Lab) on behalf of the entire research team, showed the results of a comprehensive study of midline gliomas including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), and the relationship between amplified phosphatydylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK), and the development of these particular tumor types.

In this comprehensive study, the research team tested both PI3K inhibitor ZSTK474 and MEK inhibitor trametinib, alone and in combination in vitro  and in vivo, using various delivery methods.

The results showed that combination treatments were found to be synergistic with dosing across the  cell lines tested, and significant tumor suppression was seen when given systemically against a subcutaneous DIPG model, and when given via convection-enhanced delivery (CED) in an intracranial DIPG mouse model.  Data indicates that ZSTK474 and trametinib combination therapy inhibits malignant growth of DIPG cells in culture  and in animal models, prolonging survival. The results warrant further investigation and the team is excited by the potential for a promising new combination approach to treat DIPG via CED.

View Article Abstract Here

Download Full Article Here

Funding: This research was supported in part by Cristian Rivera Foundation, McKenna Claire Foundation, The Lyonhearted Foundation, Christian Koehler Foundation, Brooke Healey Foundation, Fly a Kite Foundation, Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation, Joshua’s Wish, Lily LaRue Foundation, and by the Alex Lemonade Stand Foundation’s Pediatric Oncology Student Training Grant (UT), and American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Summer Fellowship in honor of Collegiate Charities Dropping the Puck on Cancer and Super Lucy (RC).

If a child’s life was in danger, you would do something… wouldn’t you?

The Children’s Brain Tumor Project Weill Cornell Medicine is proud to team up with DDB Health to present this powerful public service announcement (PSA).  The PSA is intended to raise awareness of the traumatic outcomes for far too many children diagnosed with brain tumors every year, and demand action by encouraging viewers to donate.

DDB Health generously donated time, talent and production costs to create this compelling video.  Part of the Omnicom Health Group, DDB Health brings together a like-minded community of big thinkers that are passionate about leveraging their creativity to inspire good health.  Their dedication is clearly demonstrated by their philanthropic efforts in support of the Children’s Brain Tumor Project.

DDB Health is doing something.

You can do something, too

The generous gifts of our supporters allow our neuroscientist/researchers to continue their important work.

Make a Gift by Credit Card
You may make a secure online credit card donation here. Make a Secure Credit Card Donation >>

Make a Gift By Check
Please print out and fill in our printable gift form. Donations should be made payable to: Weill Cornell Medical College. Please indicate the Children’s Brain Tumor Project in the memo area.


Read more about the friends and families who are doing something.



Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation

These families are doing something.

When your child is diagnosed with a brain tumor, the impact on the entire family can be debilitating. After experiencing such trauma first-hand, a handful of influential families banded together to make a difference with the formation of the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation (CBTFF).

The CBTFF is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research.  The organization was founded and is led by a group of families that have been united by the tragic diagnosis of a rare brain tumor.  All of whom have great faith in the work that is underway at the Weill Cornell Medicine Children’s Brain Tumor Project.

Although these families are united by tragedy, they are also a great support network to one-another and other families who are impacted by a pediatric brain tumor diagnosis.

The Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation is led by:

  • Cheering for Caitlin (The Downing Family, in memory of Caitlin)
  • Team Little Owl (The Fisher Family, in memory of Allie)
  • Team Joey (The Clayton Family, in memory of Joey)
  • TEAM Sean (The Ries Family, in honor of their fighter, Sean)
  • Team Juliana (The Donnelly Family, in memory of Juliana)
  • What’s Your Fight? (The Clark Family, in memory of Daryn)

To learn more about these amazing families, visit

These families are helping to DO SOMETHING.  You can, too.  Share this post.  Make a donation.  Attend an event.  Or… join the team and run the NYC Marathon!

Last year, the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation raised $60,000 for the Children’s Brain Tumor Project as five members of their team were challenged, pushed and ultimately rewarded with the incredible feeling of crossing the finish line in Central Park.  You can join the team in 2019!  Email if interested.




Tara is doing something…

It was a routine eye exam that led to the discovery that Tara Gordon Lipton’s six-year-old son, Walker, had a brain tumor. Life was turned upside down in an instant.

After being diagnosed with medulloblastoma, Walker’s tumor was removed and followed up with an intense series of treatments that saved his life – and left a lasting impact on the Lipton family. Today, Tara continues to help others impacted by this terrifying diagnosis through her work with the Children’s Brain Tumor Project among other philanthropic efforts.

“Walker is my youngest of four children. Upon diagnosis, I became fiercely protective of my child, stopping at absolutely nothing to ensure he was getting the best care,” said Tara.

His tumor was surgically removed by Dr. Mark Souweidane, and Dr. Jeff Greenfield, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and he followed up with an effective, albeit brutal, treatment protocol.

“It was hell. I had to resist the urge to run away every day we walked into clinic, but then when the elevator doors opened to reveal hundreds of kids on the oncology floor I realized that I can never turn a blind eye to this shocking reality,” Tara said. “I vowed that once we got through our own journey, I would continue to help others impacted by the disease.”

Today, Tara advocates for more research funding that will advance treatment options for children with rare and inoperable brain tumors. On October 16, 2018, Tara chaired “No Laughing Matter – A Night of Comedy in Support of the Children’s Brain Tumor Project” at Carolines on Broadway.  The fundraiser was a huge success with a hilarious line-up (including Ali Wentworth, Jessica Kirson and Jim Gaffigan), raising $450,000 for research. Visit for more information.

“I am forever indebted to Dr. Greenfield and Dr. Souweidane for saving my son’s life. I want to enable them to give that gift to more families impacted by this disease.”

Tara is doing something.  You can do something, too. Donate to the Children’s Brain Tumor Project today.


Matthew is Doing Something

Matthew Bernstein lost his younger brother Zachary, to a terminal brain tumor in 2014.  Matthew was only in the eighth grade at the time, but experiencing such trauma changed the course of his life forever and inspired him to do something that would help children like Zachary in the future.

In fact, Matthew spent the summer of 2016 working in the lab at the Children’s Brain Tumor Project Weill Cornell Medicine, before going off to study pre-med at Brandeis University this September.  His time in the CBTP lab was funded by the Samuel Jeffers Foundation, and his work helped kick-start the lab’s efforts to build a database of thalamic glioma samples – data that has proven to be invaluable in the lab’s current research efforts.

Matthew has been involved in the field of pediatric brain cancer since Zachary’s death. In addition to his scientific endeavors, he is also the Youth Volunteer Coordinator for the Fly a Kite Foundation, which was co-founded by his parents, David and Deena Bernstein, to support other families facing DIPG.  He hopes to join the Board of Directors post-graduation, as well.

“When [Zachary] was sick, I saw a lot of oncologists, physical therapists, anesthesiologists and what they do,” he told the Long Island Herald. “Because of my experiences, I was exposed to the neurological field and surgery, so I’m leaning toward that now.”

Matthew is a highly focused individual who wants to make a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with brain tumors in the future.  Not only has he volunteered with the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, he also worked as an intern under the direction and mentorship of Dr. Oren Becher, Assistant Professor of Hematology-Oncology; Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Duke School of Medicine.

“My overall objectives are to learn and experience life and soak in as much as I can while navigating my academics, personal journey and career path,” says Matthew. “I will take what I learned from working in the labs and working at Fly a Kite as a foundation for future opportunities and exposure to the world of science and research.”

Matthew Bernstein is doing something.  Will you?  Donate to the Children’s Brain Tumor Project today.