“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

Our Class of 2020

In the past, May always meant tulips, breaking out the lawn furniture and graduations. Covid-19 hasn’t stopped the tulips or kept us from sitting outside (albeit 6 feet apart), but for the Class of 2020 graduations have been cancelled or hopefully, only postponed. In the meantime, there is a lot of sadness, disappointment and uncertainty…

April 29, 2020

Light That Seeps Through a Broken Heart

I can’t tell you how often people are dumbfounded on how I can so enjoy working with a pediatric brain cancer foundation, especially one focused on post-mortem tissue donation. I guess they imagine the sadness and loss that these families endure and assume it permeates their lives and my work. That couldn’t be further from…

April 14, 2020

Growing During Isolation – And the smell of fresh baked bread!

Fear, uncertainty, disruption, crisis these are the words swirling around us these days. It’s hard not give in to despair. I can’t stop this virus, however I can share what I learned while caring for my son, Michael when he was stuck at home sick with cancer.

April 2, 2020