What we do for ourselves dies with us.
What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Our family loves this quote because it reminds us that Michael is still with us.  His tissue donation and Swifty’s subsequent work supported by our donors have created “ripples” that are making a substantial impact in the childhood cancer community.


Little did we know that Michael’s Master Plan of donating his tissue would one day become a national program fueling research across the country. One small wish creating a tidal wave of impact.  Our latest initiative, Gift from a Child educates parents about the need for diseased tissue and creates the infrastructure to make this precious donation possible anywhere in the country. This provides researchers with the tissue they need to find cures for brain cancer.


Our commitment for Gift from a Child for this year is over half a million dollars. Gift from a Child for a child for a cure… will you ripple with us?


Let’s Ripple!
Patti, Michael’s Mom

Patti Gustafson

Michael's Story

Before his death at 15, Michael Gustafson hatched what he called his "master plan" - and laid the foundation for what Swifty does today.

Gift from a Child

Gift from a Child is a national initiative supported by families who have lost children to brain cancer, private foundations and medical professionals.

Improving Collaborations

Swifty is helping to build a more collaborative and innovative cancer community. There is so much more we can do together!

What's Happening? Opportunities To Take Action

The Swifty community is full of people like you. Together, we're moving toward hope one event at a time.

Brain cancer has overtaken leukemia as the leading cause of cancer-related death for children. The reason children succumb to their cancer will remain a mystery until researchers are able to study both the diseased and healthy brain tissue of those children who do not survive their disease.
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Disturbing Facts About Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death BY DISEASE for children in the U.S. …. It exceeds deaths by all other diseases combined. Only 4 pennies of every FEDERAL dollar available for cancer research goes to fund PEDIATRIC cancer research.

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How is brain cancer different in kids?

All brain tumors can change in response to cancer treatment – but this is especially true for kids, whose bodies are growing and changing anyway. You could be diagnosed with one type of cancer, but have a very different type years later.

To improve treatments, researchers need to better understand the ways kids’ cancers change and transform over time. This means studying as much donated tissue as possible, from as many cancer stages as possible.
But it’s often difficult for families to donate tissue for research – and when they do donate, it’s difficult for researchers to share their findings widely. Swifty is helping to change that.

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Recent Blog Posts

Together Toward Hope

Dear Silas

Dear Silas, I want you to know your very last wish is happening right now. There is a team of researchers, doctors, and specialists who have assembled. They are working to make a difference in the world of brain cancer. I don’t think any of us could have imagined the impact your donation will have….

November 12, 2019

Love and Comfort in the Final Days

If I had a choice, I would be an “expert” on how the brain works, American history or songs from the 70’s. Unfortunately, I have just a little knowledge of those interesting topics. I do however have experience in losing a child to cancer, not a topic anyone would ever sign up to learn about….

June 24, 2019

Young Investigator Award

Swifty is proud to partner with Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help fund their Young Investigators Innovation grant.  Dr. Eric Raabe’s from Johns Hopkins is researching the most devastating kind of Medulloblastoma, MYC-driven medullo. The good news is Dr. Raabe’s lab has been successful with finding an oral drug with better brain penetration that will kill…

June 14, 2019