2009 Minds Matter Fundraiser
Over $800,000 Raised as Support Grows for the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute
Talk show host Bonnie Hunt helps raise awareness of important cause

CHICAGO – On September 29, 2009, a sold out crowd of 600 supporters, clinicians, research scientists and those personally affected by brain cancer gathered to celebrate the official launch of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. Bonnie Hunt, a former oncology nurse turned actress and talk show host emceed the fundraiser, which raised over $800,000. Palmer House provided a beautiful setting for the celebration and the hotel generously underwrote the event, which was co-chaired by Mary C. Dempsey and George McCarthy. The evening honored those individuals touched by brain and spinal tumors and highlighted the capabilities of the new Institute.

"We are extremely appreciative of the support we've received from the Chicagoland community, and the event exceeded our expectations," commented James Chandler, MD, surgical director of neuro-oncology, co-director of the Brain Tumor Institute and associate professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The event brings attention to the great need that exists to further advance the research and treatment options available to patients," said Jeffrey Raizer, MD, director of medical neuro-oncology, co-director of the Brain Tumor Institute and associate professor of neurology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. The funds raised will be used to support basic research programs and clinical research initiatives such as underfunded clinical trials, among other programs to expand and enhance patient care.

The crowd was entertained throughout the evening by music from premier Chicago band the Gentlemen of Leisure. In addition, Emmy-nominated producer and director Joanna Rudnick of Kartemquin Films debuted a short documentary featuring the Institute's clinical strengths, and profiled several patients who are courageously battling against brain cancer. Bidders also competed for top-tier prizes in the live auction, which included packages such as skyboxes for the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks and White Sox games, dinner for six cooked by chef Art Smith and a trip to Los Angeles for a taping of the Bonnie Hunt Show.

The Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute falls within the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the event was a collaboration of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in support of the Institute. The Institute is home to world-class clinicians and researchers whose goal is to provide state of the art, comprehensive care to patients with brain tumors, maintaining an emphasis on quality of life while doing everything possible to extend life.

Click here to view photos of the event .

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