On Friday, May 1, the Children’s Brain Tumor Project (CBTP) received a much-needed, much appreciated gift from the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation. In a live-streamed online meeting, the board of the foundation presented CBTP cofounders Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield and Dr. Mark Souweidane with a check for $525,000 to fund life-saving pediatric brain tumor research at their lab at Weill Cornell Medicine. The foundation raised the money over the course of a year spent organizing events, raising funds, and heightening awareness for this critical project.
Dr. Greenfield and Dr. Souweidane teamed up to launch the CBTP in 2012 with the goal of bringing hope to patients and families confronted with the heartbreaking diagnosis of a rare, inoperable, and often incurable pediatric brain tumor.
The Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation (CBTFF) is a nonprofit organization led by a group of families who have been united by the tragic diagnosis of a rare brain tumor, and who share their belief in the importance of the research being done at the Children’s Brain Tumor Project.
“Our nonprofit was built by families who have been greatly impacted by brain tumor diagnoses,” said Brenda Ries, cofounder of the CBTFF. “We wholeheartedly believe that the research underway at this lab will help advance cures for pediatric brain tumors, so that families like ours will have more options in the future.”
Pediatric brain tumors are the most common solid tumors found in children, and they are also the most fatal. In a dedicated effort to change this statistic, the Children’s Brain Tumor Project is focused on two strategic paths forward: basic research that leads to breakthrough discoveries, and translational research to bring those discoveries to clinic.
“This donation allows us to not only keep pace at the lab, but to grow our team and further our investigation into these deadly tumors,” said Dr. Souweidane.
The timing of this donation was particularly relevant. May 1st is not only the first day of brain cancer awareness month, but also an important anniversary for Dr. Souweidane and CBTFF cofounder Denise Downing. It was on this date in 2012 that her 5-year-old daughter, Caitlin, became the first patient in his groundbreaking clinical trial that uses convection-enhanced delivery to infuse a drug directly into the brain tumor.
“We understood that Caitlin was faced with a terminal diagnosis. It is bittersweet to know that she was able to support research by participating in this trial, and that we can continue to support this research by fundraising in her memory,” said Downing. “What brought us all together at the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation is our belief in the work at the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, and it started eight years ago with my little girl.”
The tagline for the Children’s Brain Tumor Project is “powered by families” because it is the generosity of patient families and friends that have enabled the lab to see tremendous growth. Since 2016, the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation has gifted more than one million dollars to support the lab.
Visit cbtff.org for more on the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation.
Visit childrensbraintumorproject.org for more on the Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell Medicine.