Laura Kofoid and David Ricci
Since 2005, Laura Kofoid and David Ricci have supported brain tumor research at Northwestern University. In just that short time, they have been inspired by many things, and especially proud of the realization and 2008 launch of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI).
"When we first started thinking about working with Northwestern, the Institute was just a hope, a dream, an idea," Ms. Kofoid shared. "Now, it is real. We've already moved ahead so far." Her husband Mr. Ricci agreed, "While we are only one cog in the wheel, the impact of this collaborative effort is truly astounding. In five short years, we have everyone on board, and we are progressing even further."
Ms. Kofoid and Mr. Ricci began supporting brain tumor research for the same reason that many reach out a helping hand–a personal connection to the disease. "It was when David was going through treatment for his second brain tumor that we realized that the 'state of affairs' in available treatments and cures was lacking," Ms. Kofoid said. Building from their own altruistic natures and counting on the generosity of their caring friends, they began to gather funds to support medical research.
Ultimately, their own research led them to support Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Feeling at a loss after looking into other existing centers, Ms. Kofoid recalls asking Dr. Jeffrey Raizer, co-director of the NBTI, director of Medical Neuro-Oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and associate professor at Feinberg, for his thoughts about where their contribution might make the most difference. In sharing his vision for the Institute, Dr. Raizer inspired them to help realize this dream. "When we looked at the history of the disease over 30 years, progress seemed so slow," Ms. Kofoid said. "The Institute represented the dramatic progress we need to see."
Now, as members of the NBTI Board of Directors and Advisory Council, Ms. Kofoid and Mr. Ricci continue to advocate for medical research. "Basic research being conducted at the academic level is so important," Mr. Ricci said, explaining their desire to accomplish breakthrough progress. "And while Northwestern is one of many research institutions, the more seeds you plant, the better the chance of one taking hold."
"The research being done at Northwestern is integrated, and it seems to us that the thinking here has evolved," Ms. Kofoid said. "We are inspired by the school's vision to go from being the best in the Midwest to being in the top 10 great academic medical centers in the nation."
In addition to busy work lives and raising their family, Ms. Kofoid and Mr. Ricci continue to make time to advocate for and support the NBTI, including serving as the Institute's co-chairs for its 2nd annual fundraising gala, Minds Matter, which will be held October 6 at the Palmer House. "We are very deliberate in the way we spend our time," Ms. Kofoid shared. "The Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute matters to us, so we find time to do it." Her husband concurred. "We wouldn't remain as actively involved if this wasn't meaningful to us," he said. "As long as the Institute keeps moving forward, we want to be a part of it."