Parents Support Life-Saving Research

Eric Hanson, Erin Cordry, Rhoda Altom, Cory Carlson

Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Guild members Eric Hanson and wife Erin Cordry and Rhoda Altom and husband Cory Carlson have included Children's in their wills.


Max Hanson was 8 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. "The bottom just dropped out of our world," recalls Erin Cordry, Max's mom and founder of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Guild. "We thought he was going to die."

Max underwent neurosurgery and a grueling regimen of radiation and chemotherapy. Seven years after his surgery, Max is now a freshman in high school and doing well. "Because people raise money to improve cancer treatment for children, my son is still alive," says Cordry.

Hospital trustee Rhoda Altom has been an advocate for brain tumor research since her daughter Stewart, now a college student, had a brain tumor removed at age 7. Also a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Guild, Altom believes private fundraising is crucial to pediatric research. "Less than 5% of federal research funding goes to pediatric research," says Altom. "Kids really get left out. Parents need to jump in and support research."

Both women jumped in and are thrilled with their guild's fundraising success. "We raised $100,000 for brain tumor research the first year, and $1 million since the guild was established in 2005," says Cordry.

"A legacy gift can save the life of a child in the future."

Erin Cordry

In the 14 years since her daughter's treatment, Altom has witnessed amazing progress in brain tumor research. "Children's started a national tissue bank of brain tumors so researchers can share their tumor tissue with each other. Tumor paint, which has come out of the collaboration between Drs. Rich Ellenbogen and Jim Olson, can identify tumors as small as 200 cells. Children's has a research institute with more than one million square feet of research space. All of this is beyond any dream I had."

In addition to fundraising through their guild, both Cordry and Altom deepened their commitment to Children's by including the hospital in their respective wills. "It's a privilege to sponsor talented cancer researchers," says Altom. Cordry adds, "A legacy gift can save the life of a child in the future. We're lucky that Max and Stewart are with us today. We want more people to be as fortunate as we are."

To learn how to include the hospital in your estate plan, call Lorraine del Prado at 206-987-4977 or Christina Lui at 206-987-6812.