Emily Dorfman Foundation
Emily Dorfman Foundation
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Recent Foundation Developments

We are very proud to report on recent developments. Through 2004 the total of the grant awards by the Foundation exceeds $900,000. In many cases the Foundation has broadened its programs, as detailed below, while continuing its longstanding practice of putting all contributions to work undiminished by expenses like rent, salaries and fundraising commissions.

  • During 2004 we agreed to provide $46,300 to Gilda’s Club Chicago to establish the Emily Dorfman Children’s Resource Center. The goal of the Center is to provide a place where children and families living with cancer, as well as school and healthcare professionals, can learn through various information resources about cancer and cancer treatments. The Emily Dorfman Children’s Resource Center will provide the tools to help children navigate their way through the course of cancer. The space will consist of model and demonstration devices, audio and video equipment, computer stations with interactive software games and a library of informational materials such as books, leaflets, magazines and videos. The ultimate goal is to help children and family members better understand and live with cancer through education and support. The mission of Gilda’s Club Chicago is to provide a meeting place where people living with cancer, and families and friends, join together to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Free of charge, Gilda’s Club offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops, and social activities in a warm and welcoming setting located at 537 N. Wells St.


  • During 2004 we announced a new $70,000 post-doctoral fellowship to Susan Spiller, MD of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.


  • In June 2004 we held Miles for Smiles 2004, our ninth annual bike/walk-a-thon. More than $65,000 was raised.


  • During 2003 we funded a new $50,000 translational research grant to Dr. Mahmet Fatih Okcu at the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Dr. Okcu’s work concerns the enzyme Glutathione-s-transferase, and its responsibility for the breakdown of chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of brain tumors. If the study is successful as we hope, future treatment regimens may be tailored according to the genetic make-up of the patient.


  • During 2001 and 2002 we made new grant commitments for research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University / Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto, Canada.


  • During 2001 and 2002 we made additional grants to the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center (MCBTC) of Lutheran General Children’s Hospital, located in Park Ridge, Illinois, and additional research grants to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and New York University School of Medicine in New York City.


  • In the summer of 2002 we learned great news about our fellowship recipients at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, Washington:
    1. Dr. Andrew Hallahan, our 2001 grant recipient at FHCRC, has conducted laboratory studies that have identified a therapeutic approach that shows promise for the most common form of malignant childhood brain cancer, and therefore The Children’s Oncology Group, a consortium of 235 universities and hospitals has decided to base the next national trial for children with high-risk Medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor on the studies that Andrew has conducted. The Principal Investigator of the new clinical trial will be our friend, Dr. Jim Olson (see below), who is Dr. Hallahan’s mentor.


    2. Dr. Jim Olson, recipient of the Foundation’s very first post-doctoral research grant in 1996, is the recipient of a Damon Runyon Award. This prestigious and extremely competitive award is provided to clinician scientists that show the greatest promise for bringing laboratory-based research into the patient care arena. Also, we are proud to report that Dr. Olson’s work as a fellow in 1996 has grown to the point that he has his own laboratory with 20 members, all highly productive.


  • In May 2002 we dedicated the third Emily Dorfman Learning Center, designed for children with a brain tumor as well as siblings and parents, at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Alabama - Birmingham. Their web site contains this description:
    • “The Emily Dorfman Learning Center [is] a comprehensive educational facility for any patient or family dealing with the diagnosis of a brain or spinal cord tumor. It will help them learn more about the illness and treatments and hopefully alleviate many fears the child or family may have.”


  • In 2002 our first Emily Dorfman Smiles and Hope Fund got underway at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It is an endowed fund established in the belief that the supported activities can build hope and a positive outlook in children (and their families) dealing with either a brain tumor or another type of pediatric cancer. Activities will include providing appropriate end-of-treatment acknowledgements for pediatric cancer patients, and sponsoring the holiday gatherings and other kinds of fun events for patients hospitalized on the hematology / oncology floor at Children’s Memorial Hospital. The $50,000 endowment was established in partnership with KIDDS for Kids, a fundraising affiliate of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Click here for some photographs (without patients due to privacy rules) from the recent Disco theme day funded by the Emily Dorfman Smiles and Hope Fund. And click here for some photographs of the recent Halloween Dr. Seuss event. Both the Disco day and the Dr. Seuss event were a great success.


  • In February, 2001 the Foundation received the 2000 annual report of The Brain Tumor Learning Center, An Emily Dorfman Foundation for Children Program. The Center is located at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. All new adult and pediatric brain tumor patients, and all pediatric patients who are referred for radiation therapy receive an orientation session and an education session at the Learning Center. Each week a scheduled session on a variety of educational and support issues is held in the Learning Center, and a monthly calendar of the sessions is published and broadly distributed to potentially interested patients and families. Some comments from recent visitors:
    • "My sister has a brain tumor. I liked making the mask on the doll for radiation. I would like to make another mask! And I liked making the calendarson the computer so we can mark off the days for her treatments." -- 10 year old visitor

      "This room is great. They don't have anything like this at any of the other hospitals we've been to. And we've been to a lot." -- Parent of a pediatric patient


  • In February, 2001 the Foundation made its largest ever grant for pediatric brain tumor research, $97,250 over 24 months to Mark M. Souweidane, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at The Weill Medical College of Cornell University and The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


  • In the year 2000 we celebrated the opening of the second Emily Dorfman Learning Center, designed for children with a brain tumor, as well as siblings and parents. (The first one is at Duke) The new Learning Center is in the Chicago area, at the Midwest Children's Brain Tumor Center at Lutheran General Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. Their web site contains this brief description:
    • The Emily Dorfman Education Center is an interactive learning area designed to help children and parents understand health needs and practice care skills in a "hands on" setting through teaching models, adaptive equipment, medical play, educational videos, CD-roms and games. Other services include material lending, literature searches and community lectures.


  • In the summer of 2000 the Foundation received a report of the successful conclusion of the translational research project conducted by Dr. John Kim


  • In May 2000, the Miles for Smiles bike/walk-a-thon fundraising event and Emily's story were the subject of a lengthy article by sports columnist Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald. As the "voice of the suburbs," and "suburban Chicago's information source" the Daily Herald is an established and growing newspaper with a circulation of 140,000+.


  • Sports columnist Barry Rozner and his family attended the 2000 Miles for Smiles, and joining the Rozners was David Kaplan, the sports guru and reporter for WGN radio and co-host of the "Sports Central" radio program. Before the event Barry and David held on-air discussions about Miles for Smiles.

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