Steve Healey to help expand global reach and impact of organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Brooke Healey Foundation President Steve Healey was recently chosen by the DIPG Collaborative as its Membership & Research Ambassador.
As the Ambassador, Healey will assist in bringing new Foundations into the Collaborative and serve as a liaison between the Medical Advisory Council (MAC) and the rest of the voting partners in the DIPG Collaborative during the grant decision-making process.
Healey was chosen for this leadership role with the Collaborative for his deep knowledge of DIPG, understanding of the research community and experience facilitating new partners and sponsors, plus helping newly diagnosed families.
“Steve Healey has been influential in the communication and guidance of the DIPG Collaborative’s grant selection process. His advocacy for Collaborative goals and strength in building new partnerships have been a large part of why the DIPG Collaborative today numbers near 30 partners and is the leading Collaborative for other cancers,” said Keith Desserich, Founder of the DIPG Collaborative.
"Through the DIPG Collaborative, our local Foundation now has a global impact," said Healey. "Along with funding research, we've also created the DIPG Registry — a database that enables researchers to easily access and share information and study DIPG tumors. Neil Armstrong's daughter died from DIPG in 1962. My daughter received the same treatment as his. Until now, there's been little to no advancement. But through the power of the Collaborative and dedicated researchers in the field, in just five years, we now understand the molecular makeup of DIPG and are moving towards a cure for cancer."
When Healey’s 4-year-old daughter Brooke was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in January 2013, he spent 12-14 hours each day conducting research to find a cure. He soon discovered that treatment for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) barely existed, let alone a cure. In fact, DIPG has a zero percent survival rate. It primarily affects children between five and seven years old. The median survival range from diagnosis is 8 to 11 months.
Tragically, Brooke passed away on Sept. 9, 2013. One year later, Healey and his wife Stefani founded The Brooke Healey Foundation to build awareness and raise funds for research in DIPG; to help families dealing with pediatric cancers, especially brain cancers and DIPG; and to promote involvement through scholarships awarded to civically active high school seniors.
In 2014, the all-volunteer Foundation became an official 501c3 and a Foundational Partner of the DIPG Collaborative — a collection of foundations with the common interest of supporting research into DIPG. The Collaborative has funded nearly $8 million in research so far, and many experts believe that finding a cure for DIPG, will result in a “homerun cure” for all cancers.
To date, The Brooke Healey Foundation has donated $160,000 directly to families, $160,000 as a foundational partner of the DIPG Collaborative, and bestowed nearly $12,000 in scholarships. The Foundation holds three major fundraisers each year, casino night in March, Bikers for Brooke in June, and a golf outing in August.
In 2018, the Foundation received the New Jersey State Governor's Jefferson Founders/Innovators Award and was named as “Organization of the Year,” by the Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on the Foundation, or to donate, visit www.brookehealey.com.
DIPG is a type of brain tumor found in an area of the brainstem known as the pons. The name diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma describes how the tumor grows, where it is found, and what kinds of cells give rise to the tumor.
Diffuse means that the tumor is not well-contained – it grows out into other tissue so that cancer cells mix with healthy cells. For this reason, it is impossible to surgically remove DIPG tumors without damaging healthy tissue. This makes DIPG very hard to treat.
Pontine indicates that the tumor is found in a part of the brainstem called the pons. The pons is responsible for a number of important bodily functions, like breathing, sleeping, bladder control, and balance. Because these functions are vital to survival, the pressure from the growing tumor is very dangerous.
Glioma is a general term for tumors originating from glial cells. Glial cells are found throughout the brain. They make up the white matter of the brain that surrounds and supports the neurons (neurons are cells that carry messages in the brain). Gliomas can form in different areas of the brain. DIPG occurs in glial cells in the pons.
About the DIPG Collaborative
The DIPG Collaborative is a collection of foundations with the common interest of inspiring research into the cure of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) with the belief that through a cure for DIPG, significant advances in other cancer research will be made.
Originally an organic development of the DIPG Symposium held in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in 2011, today the DIPG Collaborative is made up of more than 30 foundations cooperatively funding between $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in DIPG research every two years. The DIPG Symposium, which occurs every two years, is the culmination of not only the DIPG Collaborative’s funding cycle, but also features unique perspectives on research from experts around the globe.
With a goal of seeking the balance of research transparency, institutional collaboration and the elimination of duplication, the DIPG Collaborative funds both clinical and translational research worldwide. dipgcollaborative.org
About the DIPG Registry
The International Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Registry is a collaborative effort by physicians and researchers from North America, Europe, and Australia to centralize and standardize the collection of clinical data and tumor samples from DIPG patients. The goal of this effort is to support innovative research and ultimately find a cure for DIPG. dipgregistry.org