Call: 312-926-2033

Building a Tradition of Support: Students Raise Funds for Brain Tumor Research

Three high school students recently visited Northwestern Memorial Hospital to present a $5,000 check to the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI).

Awesome Club leaders Lucy Pearsall, Gaurav Goparaju and Knox Montgomery (pictured above) presented a check to the NBTI to support research. Awesome Club leadership also includes Alexa Markman and Joey Sallerson.

These funds were raised by the Awesome Club, which was founded at the Latin School of Chicago in 2010 by then-students Michael Berger and Blake Lasky. After Michael’s father died of a brain tumor, Michael, Blake, and their classmates began holding fundraisers throughout the school year to support research at the NBTI. When Michael and Blake graduated in 2013, a number of their classmates stepped up to continue the club.

Knox Montgomery, one of the Awesome Club leaders, said, “We keep the tradition going because we really believe in the cause, and we feel that this is a unique way for students at our school to participate in the larger community.”

Michael added, "I could not be more proud of what the club has been able to do in the past year.  When Blake and I founded the club, we had no idea what its impact would be and if it would have any future.  When many of our friends got involved and supported us, we knew that something special was being created.  Thanks to people feeling a similar passion for such a worthy and important cause, the club has been able to both continue and get stronger. This has been the club’s most successful fundraising year yet, and I know that it will only get better as time progresses."

Awesome Club leaders Lucy Pearsall, Alexa Markman, and Knox Montgomery presented the magazines donated to the NBTI waiting room to Dr. Jeffrey Raizer.

Their most recent event, a dance held on February 28, 2014, raised $5,000 to support the NBTI’s quest for new and improved treatments for brain tumor patients. In addition to the dance, the Awesome Club has generously donated countless magazines to the NBTI waiting room through their three magazine drives.

Robin Loewenberg Tebbe, Michael Berger, Blake Lasky, and Whitney Lasky with Dr. Jeffrey Raizer at the first Awesome Club dance in 2011.

The group also organized a raffle for the teachers during the winter which raised nearly $600. Between these three events, the members of the Awesome Club hope that their generosity will become a tradition for Latin Students for years to come.

The Awesome Club students received thanks for their support from Jeffery Raizer, MD, co-director of the NBTI, and director of medical neuro-oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (pictured above). Dr. Raizer said, “Your fundraising work is important for today’s patients as well as tomorrow’s patients. In brain tumor research, increases in lifespan are incremental but add up over time. Months gained from various studies can eventually add up to years.”

Meg Keating, an NBTI patient who was diagnosed six years ago with an aggressive brain tumor called a glioblastoma, spoke to the Awesome Club on behalf of all other patients. She said, “The odds for patients with my initial diagnosis are not good. According to the statistics, I shouldn’t be here. But I’m in remission, and can be here today to be the face of patients and thank you for your support of research at the NBTI, which offers hope to all who are treated here.”

Click here to donate to the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. To learn more about philanthropic opportunities in brain tumor research, please contact Holly Gibout with Northwestern Memorial Foundation via email or at 312.926.4016.