Swifty Foundation: Cure Pediatric Brain Cancer

Al Gustafson is on the Advisory Council of the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium and serves on the Board of Swifty Foundation, among several others; in addition to his work in ministry, Al is the president of the Gustafson Family Foundation, a private foundation promoting the development and education of young children at risk.  His son Michael was diagnosed with medullablastoma which unfortunately recurred after treatment and a declaration of having been cancer free; he knew he would not be here long, and succumbed to the disease in 2013.  He shared with his family his excitement at the opportunity to donate his body to science after much introspection as to what his life meant after his prognosis was certain.  His vision, to cure brain cancer, and the name Swifty defines the Foundation that has arisen and flourished as a result of his ultimate sacrifice.
Not only is Swifty Foundation successful at raising funds for pediatric brain cancer research, they are designing a program which facilitates urgently needed tissue donation for research.  This much-needed program shows promise of having greater implementation on a nationwide basis, and further facilitating the research so urgently needed to save lives. 

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About Janet

Blessed with varied interests and an artistic and musical upbringing, Janet had health challenges throughout her young adult life. Despite these she graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College with an award of distinction for acting, and had also been a champion equestrian. She began a family with her husband Barry later in life, and had finally found happiness with daughter Sophie-Marie (3/12/06) and then baby (Jack 8/30/08). Five weeks after his birth, the family escaped a wildfire in which all worldly possessions were lost. The family relocated in December of 2008 to Agua Dulce CA where they currently reside.

Jack began to have unsettling symptoms at the age of 3; he was taken to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and was diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, on Friday Oct. 28, 2011, indisputably the darkest experience of Janet's life. The outrage of it made her determined to find the good in the situation, and she asked God to "Put me to work!" After Jack's death, she remained determined to start working to find solutions to DIPG and incorporated Jack's Angels at the end of 2012; the Foundation began its work in 2013. Despite the fact that DIPG is responsible for the majority of brain tumor deaths in children, she had been told there were no solutions for Jack because "the numbers aren't great enough for investors." This remains the primary motivation in her advocacy work, to prioritize children's lives in our medical system in the United States.