Our ultimate goal is to cure brain cancer, while our immediate goal is to improve diagnostics and treatment. We’re dedicated to improving the lives of all patients with brain cancer by funding research that we hope will lead to the doubling of life expectancy of patients with brain cancer. Our goal is to do this within the next seven years. Since 2005 we’ve committed more than $50 million to research into brain tumors, with the expectation that this will lead to better diagnostics and therapies. We are dedicated to this search because funding leads to answers, and answers lead to hope.
Why we do what we do
My husband Ben and I shared the value that it is important to give back to the community. For several years, we often discussed our philanthropic interest in health care and education. Unfortunately, the focus of our newly formed foundation became painfully clear when Ben was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in August 2005 and passed away four months later in November 2005.
During the last four months of Ben’s life, his quality of life was severely compromised. In addition to his devastating diagnosis, Ben’s suffering made a difficult situation overwhelmingly painful. The mission of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation is to fund research on gliomas to develop better diagnostics and treatments that lead to long-term survival and a high quality of life for patients with brain tumors. My goal is to prevent others from having to go through what we endured and to decrease the suffering of patients with brain tumors. This is why funding patient-focused research for brain cancer is the priority of our foundation. The patient is at the core of everything we do.
Ben loved the art of deal-making and one of his greatest strengths was turning challenges into opportunities. He was not afraid of risk, which is why we will not only fund science of merit but “riskier” science. We embrace what others may consider “failure” as a means to learning and moving the ball forward. We intend to be as transparent as possible by sharing our mistakes and lessons so they will not be repeated. We will encourage others in the brain tumor community to contribute their lessons learned as well. By sharing what we have learned, we can create more efficiency so mistakes are not duplicated and we can focus on new and potentially beneficial approaches.
Working in partnership
Ben and I hoped we could use the business principles and strategies learned in our careers to contribute to philanthropy. It has become clear to me how much our financial planning backgrounds can be applied to the Foundation and the way we fund research. While we provide funding for research, we do not give gifts. We view our funding of research projects as an investment in a partnership with an expected rate of return measured by milestones and results.
Collaborating for the good of all
We also believe in collaboration, and are committed to fostering various models of collaboration among researchers to help create efficient cooperation and learn what works best for patient-focused research. We look forward to a day when “GBM” no longer means “glioblastoma multiforme” but rather “genomics-based medicine”. This would be a great example of turning a challenge into an opportunity.
Part of a larger community
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to this cause and have met so many wonderful people who are part of the brain tumor community. I recognize that the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation is just one part of a large network of researchers, organizations, institutions, companies, patients, and caregivers all working to fight this disease, and I hope that the research our foundation funds will lead us to the day when no one has to go through what Ben did.
Swedish Medical Center: http://www.swedish.org/#axzz29mSJKXeJ
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/
Barrow Neurological Institute: http://www.thebarrow.org/index.htm
MD Anderson Cancer Center: http://www.mdanderson.org/
The Translational Genomics Research Institute(TGen) : http://www.tgen.org/about/index.cfm?pageid=1
-Catherine Ivy, August 2011
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