Search This Blog

Thursday, September 25, 2014

10 Lives Saved

You may have seen (on my other blogs, or on the Ben Towne Foundation website and facebook page) that we attended the Ben Towne Foundation's #BTFBenefit2014 last Friday evening. What you may not know (though I hope you do) is that the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment supports the same research that the Ben Towne Foundation funds. The income which accrues on the principal of the endowment goes to the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research.
On Friday evening, we celebrated this news from the Ben Towne Center:
- a clinical trial for the treatment of neuroblastoma has been submitted to the FDA for approval and
- 10 PATIENTS who have been treated with T-cell therapy ARE IN REMISSION!

Ten patients who had experienced relapse, who had no other treatment options - whose hope for a cure was completely exhausted, and were facing death - those ten children are now in remission.

Ten families are not heartbroken today - parents, siblings, extended family and community - have their precious, beloved child with them. Ten families did not have to sign "do not resuscitate" forms, did not have to request hospice care, did not have to plan a memorial service, pick a headstone, face an empty bedroom.


Your donations to the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment support this ground-breaking, life-restoring work. Thank you!

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Financial Report

We received the 2014 Annual Financial Report for the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research. It contains GOOD news.
  • Market Value on 3/31/2013: $192,743
  • Contributions between 4/1/13 and 3/31/14: $27,820
  • Market Value as of 3/31/14: $238,316
  • Distributions to Program (to the Jensen Lab at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research): $8,496
That means that your generous donations and support have generated eight thousand four hundred and ninety-six dollars THIS YEAR for cancer research!

This research has already saved the lives of two cancer patients who had no other treatment options. The research will continue and expand to other types of cancers because of the continuing distributions generated by the principal of this endowment (combined with other sources). Your gifts are giving hope, care and cure to patients and their families - and saving lives.

These breakthroughs in curing cancer come just seven years after Katie's passing, and they are a beautiful legacy for her.
 Thank you for helping to create that legacy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Heart Overflows

Just a few minutes ago, I received a link to a live donation page for the  
Katie Gerstenberger Endowment 
for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital. This came about because one of Gregg's cousins is planning a party for her daughter's birthday, and in lieu of presents for the soon-to-be one-year old, Aria, she is going to ask for donations to Katie's endowment. What a generous and thoughtful woman - thank you, Rebecca! 

Our representative at Seattle Children's Foundation, Carly, was able to coordinate the creation of this page (in less than a week - thank you, Carly!), making donations easy-as-pie for Rebecca's guests and EVERYONE else who wants to support T-Cell therapy cancer research in the Jensen Lab at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute. Check out the page - it's so cool - and feel free to share it with others! If you forget the link, just think of Katie's Endowment, because the page address is

My heart is overflowing with gratitude and joy. Happy May Day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another Patient in Remission!

Seattle Children's Hospital's Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research has announced that the second patient in the (PLAT)-01 clinical trial of therapy for relapsed leukemia at the is in remission! This is the work which the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment (and the Ben Towne Foundation) supports. Both Dr. Gardner and Dr. Park treated Katie when she was in the hospital, and she would be thrilled with their success, and the good work which her endowment is supporting and moving forward.

You can read all about it here:
From hopeless to cancer free

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Phase II Clinical Trial Approved & JUNO THERAPEUTICS

Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research Profile from ben towne foundation on Vimeo.

Just before Christmas, we received this good news from the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research's Jensen Lab (which the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment supports):
“The FDA’s authorization of our second pediatric leukemia T cell therapy protocol is a milestone for the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. This trial will allow us to treat patients age 12 months-27 years of age who are in the worst possible situation—relapse after bone marrow transplantation.  We will be able to enroll and treat patients on an accelerated time table with our latest version of the reprogrammed T cell product that was developed in our laboratories here at BTCCCR with the help of our generous donors.  One exciting element of this trial called PLAT-02 is that it is a combined Phase I trial to establish safety that then rolls in to a larger Phase II trial to establish efficacy. 

"We know for many children that we treat, this will be their last chance to beat their leukemia.” - Michael C. Jensen, MD
Dr. Rebecca Gardner (who speaks in the video above) was one of Katie's doctors.
Dr. Pollard on the left, Katie and Dr. Gardner on the right, December 2006
 And there is more good news: the formation of "a new biotechnology company focused on bringing forward novel immunotherapies for cancer," called Juno Therapeutics. This is a joint venture of Seattle Children's Research Institute (of which the BTCCCR is part), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering. You can visit their website to learn more:
The site contains press releases with fabulous news of over $145 million in venture capital committed to supporting this research. You can access the press releases here:

Two scientists who we know personally (and admire deeply), Kendall Mohler, Ph.D. and Dr. Michael Jensen, are key  members of the Juno team. I am thrilled to know that the torch is being carried by such compassionate, brilliant, talented, accomplished scientists. 

The potential of this venture is unlimited. It is what I dreamed might be possible in the first dark months after Katie's passing. To see it happening, right here in Seattle, is truly a dream-come-true, and an answer to prayers.