Unlocking the Mysteries of the Developing Brain

Guild Funding Is Key to Pioneering New Frontiers in Brain Health

Guild members, a patient family, and race participants

“Federal funding agencies won’t fund us until we have results, and we can’t get results until we have the funds. So every guild gift matters.”

Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s chief of Neurosurgery 

Enthusiastic support leads to promising results

Patient and family on bikes

Patient ambassador Liesel Von Imhof (second from left), shown here on a mountain biking trip with her family last summer, was so inspired after participating in a Seattle Children’s clinical trial for kids with brain tumors that she is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering at Harvard.

It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s is gaining great momentum thanks to guild involvement. Your enthusiastic support is helping our experts translate promising research results into real-life solutions for kids with brain disorders.

Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s chief of Neurosurgery, is grateful to guild members for their central role in moving us beyond treating symptoms and behaviors to identifying the root causes of brain disorders. He’s confident that guild support today will lead to personalized treatments for each patient – bringing new hope to families impacted by autism, brain injuries, brain tumors, epilepsy and mental and behavioral health challenges.

Every gift matters

Ojemann says continued guild funding is critical to progress. “In our work to understand how brain disorders are connected to each other and to brain development, we’re constantly caught in a catch-22 situation with federal funding agencies: They won’t fund us until we have results, and we can’t get results until we have the funds. So every guild gift matters.”

After her son Max was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Erin Cordry, co-chair of our fundraising initiative to unlock the mysteries of the developing brain, started the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Guild to offset the tiny percentage of federal research funding in this area.

“We have some of the smartest doctors in the world here – they have the science, but it’s a matter of funding,” she says. “Thankfully we have a huge philanthropic community, led by our amazing guilds.”

As the mother of a son on the autism spectrum, Patty Pacelli, treasurer of the Seattle Festival of Trees Guild (a merger of the Dr. Forrest L. Flashman Guild and the Autism Center Guild), wants to help new generations of kids get the care they need. “We raise funds for uncompensated care and the Autism Center,” Pacelli says. “These are both campaign priorities, and many families who have children with autism need financial assistance to help cover the cost of care for this lifelong condition.”

Thinking outside the box

Seattle Festival of Trees Guild president Barb Shupe, a retired teacher, joined the guild after seeing the impact of illness on her former students. She’s proud to be part of a collective effort to improve care for all children. “There are so many ways researchers are thinking outside the box, and guilds open doors for them to discover better treatments.”

Cordry recalls guild support when she was a desperate, worried mother sitting at her eldest son’s hospital bedside: She remembers well the day guild members brought Max a handmade blanket – and friendly deliveries of toys and games, but the biggest gift of all was an investigational cancer study funded by guilds.

“Guild impact is so varied and wide-ranging,” she says. “My son is alive today because guilds said yes to funding an innovative brain tumor treatment.”