At the fourth annual Minds Matter benefit in honor of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) on September 28, the excitement was tangible as nearly 500 guests came together to celebrate the institute and its crucial, breakthrough work. More than $570,000 in philanthropic funds were raised this year to advance the daily research, training, patient care, and outreach activities of the institute. To date, Minds Matter and the devoted donors, sponsors, and volunteers driving this effort have raised nearly $2.8 million to support the NBTI.
The NBTI is a part of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, which is directed by Steven T. Rosen, MD, Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine. A nationally-recognized leader in the fight against brain and spinal cord tumors, the NBTI offers patients the most advance clinical trial and treatment options available, calling upon the world-class resources of the Lurie Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
"This night is a salute to the people who fight and who don't let a diagnosis define them. And, it is a salute to the people with whom they fight," said Kathy L. Brock, co-anchor for ABC7 evening news, who hosted the evening's festivities at the new Radisson Blu Hotel.
Kathy Brock welcomed benefit co-chairs and NBTI supporters Allison and Darren Latimer to speak and applauded them for their inspiring leadership. Allison Latimer shared their family's personal connection to this cause. Her husband Darren received a brain tumor diagnosis in 2005.
"Who will take care of us?" she recalled asking Jeffrey Raizer, MD, Darren's doctor as well as co-director and medical director of the NBTI. "Dr. Raizer replied 'I will.' We asked Dr. Raizer if Darren would be ok, and he said 'yes.' Dr. Raizer replenishes that gift of hope every time we see him."
"I know it's hard to write a check, but look what we've done in just three years-we've raised $2.2 million. If we can do this, then we can help build the NBTI-we can help make a difference," shared Darren Latimer.
Allison and Darren Latimer also took the opportunity to recognize and thank past chairs: Peter and Cindy McCabe (2011); Laura Kofoid and David Ricci (2010); and Mary Dempsey and George McCarthy (2009). They also thanked current sponsors and all those working together to make a difference through the NBTI.
Dr. Raizer and James P. Chandler, MD, co-director and surgical director of the NBTI, expressed their sincere gratitude for the tremendous support, both philanthropic and personal, of all those who give of their resources and time to the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. "We thank every person here tonight and over the past three years who has so generously supported us. Tonight's celebration will add further impetus and impact to our fundraising efforts," said Dr. Chandler.
"Jim and I are also fortunate to work among extremely talented and dedicated individuals," said Dr. Raizer. "I'd like to ask everyone here this evening who is a member of the NBTI to stand and be recognized, including our team members who are scientists, physicians, surgeons, research staff, nursing staff, and social workers."
Bonnie Hunt, accomplished and awarded writer, director, producer, and actress, was lauded as the evening's special honoree. She was recognized by Drs. Raizer and Chandler for her steadfast, passionate advocacy on behalf of the NBTI and its daily mission. With great enthusiasm and commitment, Bonnie Hunt graciously hosted the first three Minds Matterbenefits. She began her relationship with Northwestern as an oncology nurse who worked closely with Dr. Rosen at the Lurie Cancer Center.
"You-doctors, nurses, and staff-are the healers here, and my deepest gratitude to you," she said. "I truly appreciate every person in this room-thank you, thank you, thank you."