The Story of Swifty

This story begins in the wildly inventive, clever, gentle, tumor-ridden brain of a fourteen-year-old boy from Woodridge, Illinois. On a September afternoon in 2012, Michael Gustafson woke up from a nap with an idea. He was going to donate his body to science “so that no other child would have to go through” what he…

Harmful Chemicals In the Home

Spring cleaning is underway, but did you know that many popular household products contain chemicals linked to childhood cancer? Some examples include carcinogens like formaldehyde in particle boards, flame retardants in furniture foam, PVC, plastic products, paint, cleaning products, plastic products with bisphenol-a (BPA), and non-stick and stain-resistant items that contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Why…

Prevention Through Everyday Actions

Hi there! Mica and Bridget here to introduce our spring/summer series highlighting childhood cancer prevention research. This series really began when we were young kids, faced with the terminal illness of our cousin and twin brother. As you might imagine, being confronted with the devastating realities of childhood cancer impacted how we work and move…

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…

We Need YOUR Voice

Surveying Parents to Inform Physicians For years we looked to medical professionals to tell us what we needed to know to treat our son’s medulloblastoma. We trusted them and we followed their advice. Since 2013, we have been working with families who have lost their child to cancer and we’ve focused our attention on post-mortem…

January 2021 Reflections

It’s January 13th, exactly 2 months since we started this trial back in November, joking about it being a “Novel Approach” to start a fundraising campaign on Friday the 13th. However, there was nothing unlucky about it because we SURPASSED our goal, raising $272,977 dollars thanks to your generosity and support.  So the TNF Immunotherapy Trial…

Golfing For A Cause

The air is getting crisper, the days are getting shorter, leaves are changing color and that means…. boy’s golf and the District 203 Mikey Gustafson/Connor Hunt Match Play Cup! (Formerly called the Ryder Cup.) The Match Play has been a tradition since 2014 as a way for the NNHS golf team to honor the loss…

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…

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…

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.