“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.  Little did we know that Michael’s wish to donate his post-mortem tissue would one day become a national program fueling research across the country. One small wish creating a tidal wave of impact.


That impact is Gift from a Child: a Swifty initiative that educates families about the need for post-mortem tissue and creates the infrastructure to make this precious donation possible anywhere in the country. Gift from a Child provides researchers with the tissue they need to find cures for brain cancer and gives families hope … that they can prevent other families from experiencing a similar loss.


Patti Gustafson, Michael’s mom (Executive Director)

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

Tissue donation is a contribution that improves outcomes for children with brain cancer that only families can make.

Recurrent Medulloblastoma

When medulloblastoma recurs, doctors have no established treatment plan for patients. None. We’re working to change that.

Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible

Together we’re moving toward hope one initiative 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.
Fundraise For Swifty

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

Seven Bridges Eye Care

Seven Bridges Eye Care holds a special place in Swifty’s heart. Dr. Doug Azzaro is the owner, optometrist and Michael’s best friend’s dad…some very important titles! From the beginning Dr. Doug has showcased Swifty at his store. He sells Swifty t-shirts, Swifty eyeglass cloths, and he displays our Annual Appeals for customers to peruse and…

May 13, 2021

Marker and Crannell

It’s not often you wake up to an email that starts with, “My business partner and I would like to donate to your foundation.”  But boy when it does, it’s incredible! That’s an email I received back in December and now, Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law are the sponsors of Swifty’s website! It gets…

April 12, 2021

Oligodendroglioma, what a long and ugly word

Cherise Fleming set out to make that word less ugly, less scary. Interviewed on television and featured in an inspiring article in Redbook Magazine, her fierce courage and strength told the story of what a tenacious fighter and a kind advocate she was for everyone battling this disease. Cherise was diagnosed at age 21. We…

March 8, 2021