Gift From a Child

Gift from a Child is a national initiative supported by families who have lost children to brain cancer, private foundations, researchers and medical professionals. It currently receives its funding from the Swifty Foundation. Gift from a Child’s mission is to increase postmortem pediatric brain tissue donations through advocacy as well as the education of families enduring the worst … the loss of a child.

When a child’s life ends too soon, donating tissue is a way for a family to take a final stand against cancer. Many families have reported their decision to donate their child’s autopsy tissue was one of the few positive steps they could take during those final tragic days. Tissue donation is a contribution to improving outcomes for children with brain cancer that only families can make.

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.


Improving Research

Why are children's brain tumors so tough to beat? The cancer changes as you treat it. Here's how we discover better treatments.

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

Meet Melissa Williams

I’m Melissa Williams, the new Tissue Navigator at Lurie Children’s Hospital. More than fifteen years ago I began a journey with donation. I worked for Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network as a liaison with funeral directors and forensic professionals. At that time there were obstacles that were standing in the way of…

March 8, 2019

Gift from a child….for a child

In December, Swifty convened a Family Forum in Philadelphia of families who had donated their child’s post mortem brain tissue. Not exactly your typical holiday gathering, but so much good has come out of our time together. In the coming months you will be hearing a lot about the initiative that was launched at the…

March 1, 2019

A Dream You Dream Together

I never knew the truth of this quote by John Lennon until now: A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. Our California Dream became reality when through your generous support we were able to fund Michelle Monje’s tissue navigator at Stanford and also fund the next…

February 27, 2019