Darren and Allison LatimerBig Dreams Create a Real Impact
Almost six years ago, Darren Latimer was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And for almost as long a time, he and his wife Allison Latimer have been dedicated advocates and supporters of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI). Mr. Latimer recently described their decision to support the Institute as something that developed naturally. "While there wasn't one moment in which I personally realized we wanted to do something to formally give back," he said, "when we saw that there was an opportunity to improve awareness and access for patients, we knew we could and should be involved."
Since they started hosting personal fundraisers with friends and colleagues, the Latimers have grown their support for the NBTI and its experts in brain and spinal tumors. This year, they will serve as vice-chairs for the NBTI's annual gala fundraiser, and in 2012, the Latimers will co-chair the event.
In 2010, they created the Latimer Fellowship Fund at Northwestern University. As a physician pursuing additional training and expertise, the Latimer Fellow will undergo broad-based clinical neuro-oncology experiences and rigorous research training. "When we met the fellow, it made a very tangible impact—it was very fulfilling," Mr. Latimer said. "It's nice to see your funds are going to support the work of this unbelievable person."
While their donations to the Institute have been inspired by their personal experiences, it has always been important for the Latimers to give back to the community. "We talk through our philanthropy together and we're both passionate about our causes," Mrs. Latimer said. And while they give to a number of causes, their highest priority is the Institute. "We do this for our family and for other families like ours," she continued.
In addition, the Latimers spoke on how their relationships with their Northwestern doctors have driven their giving. "Our relationship with Dr. Raizer has been unlike what we've had with any other physician," Mrs. Latimer said about Dr. Jeffrey Raizer, co-director of the NBTI. "He was so welcoming and non-judgmental. Like all of the physicians here, he looks at us not just as patients, but as people."
Over the years that they've supported the Institute, the Latimers also have been motivated by its vision. "The Institute has grown by leaps and bounds," Mrs. Latimer said. "While it's been only five years, already we've secured clinical space and we have a name."
"From day one, everyone has been so involved. So many friends and colleagues have supported our efforts to build awareness for the NBTI," Mr. Latimer said. "It has been great to help create a dedicated place, where real people can go and get real care. Each year, we make it better, but to reach my ultimate goal, we need to make specific strides," he shared. "For me, the only goal, the only metric you can really look at is survival rates. The only way to measure our success is to improve outcomes for everyone."
Speaking both of his outlook toward life and his incredible goals for advancing progress at the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute, Mrs. Latimer summed it up well, "Darren dreams big."