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What a year 2020 has been.  It started out as expected.  We raised money and awareness for GBM brain tumors at the Winter Beer Festival and Brunchfest in Atlanta and at Ales for Ashley at Legal Draft in Arlington.  Then the pandemic hit and we had to cancel the remaining four festival fundraisers in Atlanta (including a table at the NCAA Final Four) and the annual Ales events in Atlanta and North Carolina.  Virtual fundraising then became the norm and we were fortunate enough to be the recipient of a virtual 5K that had over 140 walkers/runners in 5 States.   A big thank you to PGDx for sponsoring the event and Thomas Buck Studio for the awesome t-shirt design.


With money raised from the events we were able to hold plus donations from many of you through the GBM website or Facebook Network for Good, your participation in Amazon Smile and Kroger Giving, we were able to raise $23,589.28 this year.  All expenses were paid by Carly and Ric so 100% of your money given to the GBM Foundation was used to fund research.  All credit card fees, surcharges and other expenses were covered so all your money could be used the way you intended it to be.


Combined with funds remaining in the account from last year, we were able to write checks for $55,000 in 2020 for brain tumor research.  The money was particularly needed this year as most research money, lab availability and other resources were focused on Covid.  The researchers all expressed gratitude for the funding to help them continue their work to find a cure for this horrible disease.


Dr Derek Wainwright at Northwestern University received $30,000.  We have supported Dr. Wainwright since 2018 and his immunotherapy work is now being translated into Phase I/II clinical trials.  In addition, funds from the GBM Foundation are allowing Dr. Wainwright to initiate a pilot project aimed at understanding the immunosuppressive effects of aging in the brain and how it negatively impacts immunotherapy for treating glioblastoma. 


Dr. Elizabeth Maher at UTSW received $15,000.  Some of us had the opportunity to visit her lab in February and she told us about the work in genetic modelling and immunotherapy that she is conducting with her husband Dr. Bachoo.  She told the group that without the funding from GBM Foundation that some of the modelling of different compounds that she is doing with mice would not be possible.


The National Brain Tumor Society Defeat GBM initiative received $10,000.  Defeat GBM, through its unique infrastructure to facilitate research, allows scientists from different teams to conduct multiple research efforts simultaneously, share more data in real-time, and spend more time in the lab focused on finding and developing new treatments. Many of these research efforts have moved into Clinical Trails.


In addition to fund-raising for research, we have also been actively involved with the National Brain Tumor Society as advocates.  We have written emails to our Congressional Representatives and have also asked many of you to do the same to ask for support for brain tumor research.  Ric and Ann had a virtual meeting with Representative Kay Granger’s District Deputy to ask for support for several specific initiatives.   From these efforts the following good news was seen in the FY 21 Omnibus Bill:


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding was increased by $1.25B over FY 20 to $42.9B and National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding was increased by $119.5M over FY 20 to $6.6B

  • The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) at the Department of Defense again included brain cancer, pediatric brain tumors and young adult cancers as eligible research projects.  The program received a $5M increase this year to $115M

  • The Childhood Cancer STAR Act was fully funded to $30M

  • The Childhood Cancer Data Initiative was fully funded to $50M


You may not believe it, but your voice can make a difference.


Thanks to all of you who supported us this year with dollars and time and emails. We look forward to continuing this important work in 2021.


Carly and Ric, Co-Founders GBM Foundation 

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