The Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Award, established by the American Brain Tumor Association Board of Directors in 2010, recognizes individuals, organizations or groups who, through philanthropy, advocacy, discovery, or patient care and support, have had a major impact on the Association’s mission advancement.
This high honor is named in memory of Joel A. Gingras, Jr., whose brain tumor battle, while brief, lives on through the love and generosity of his family and friends. The Philadelphia-based Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Fund (www.jagfund.org) has for more than two decades demonstrated an unprecedented level of philanthropic support of the ABTA.
On behalf of the ABTA Board of Directors, staff and all of those whose lives have benefited from awardees' support of the brain tumor community and of the ABTA mission, we - the ABTA Board of Directors and staff - congratulate our past recipients and extend our sincerest thanks for your heartfelt contribution to our cause.
2013 - Lou and Phyllis Jacobs
For the past 14 years, Louis and Phyllis Jacobs have supported brain tumor patients and families in their community, as well as supported the ABTA’s brain tumor research funding initiatives.
The Jacobs’ son, Matthew, was diagnosed with an oligoastrocytoma in 1987 when he was 11 years old. He died 13 years later, at the age of 24. Twice a year, Phyllis Jacobs lectures at Wichita State University, where she is a director of nursing, on the topic of starting and sustaining support groups for people with cancer. Together, the Jacobs have been actively engaged with the local brain tumor community through their own support group for the past 14 years.
While the Jacobs realize the importance of patient support, they also recognize the impact of research funding. In 2000, gifted funds from the Jacobs supported an internationally-attended Oligodendroglioma Roundtable. The Jacobs were also among the first supporters of the ABTA’s Discovery Grant program. Their grant funded research into oligodendroglioma cells and generated findings that may link oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas to a new gene mutation. These findings resulted in the researcher being awarded funding of a five-year research project through the National Cancer Institute.
2012 - Dr. Steven Brem
Dr. Steven Brem has devoted his career to optimizing outcomes for patients with brain tumors. Since 1983, he has performed over 3500 brain tumor surgeries, participated in over 100 clinical trials, and his research interests include the discovery and translation to the clinical arena of novel inhibitors of angiogenesis and glioma invasion.
From 1997 to 2011, Dr. Brem led the Neuro-Oncology Program and was Director of the Neuro-Oncology Research Laboratory at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fl. During his 14 year tenure, the Cancer Center received numerous awards for its Neuro-Oncology Program. In 2001, Dr. Brem served on the Moffitt Clinical Advisory Committee that helped create guidelines for a patient education center. Later that year, the ABTA awarded the Moffitt Cancer Center with a $35,000 grant for the creation of an ABTA Brain Tumor Patient and Resource Center. The center, which was the first of its kind in the nation, went on to develop an award winning series of patient and family presentations. Dr. Brem also chaired the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) committee that developed national guidelines for the state-of-the art treatment of a variety of brain tumors. He is an active member of the ABTA Scientific Advisory Council.
In addition to his medical and scientific contributions to the brain tumor community, Dr. Brem has personally contributed over $32,500 in support of the ABTA.
Dr. Brem recently joined the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine as a Professor of Neurosurgery, Chief of Surgical Neuro-oncology and Co-Director of the Penn Brain Tumor Center. As such, Dr. Brem now leads the Brain Tumor Center at the University of Pennsylvania which is where Joel Gingras was treated and where the family first came to learn about the ABTA. With this award, more than 20 years later these relationships come full circle.
2011 - Mr. and Mrs. Randy Porter and their son, Ryan
Gina and Randy Porter’s son Justin faced challenges that would have daunted most adults. But even as he was undergoing brain surgery, hyperfractionated radiation, and chemotherapy, Justin never lost his sense of wonder and the promise of each new day.
In 1997, the Porters founded Justin’s Walk, a family-focused event centered around children and trains. To date, the annual “Train for the Brain” event has raised more than $360,000 in support of brain tumor research through the American Brain Tumor Association.
Randy remembers that, initially, the walk was all about Justin and keeping his memory alive. But as he and Gina talked to parents of children diagnosed with a brain tumor, the event took on a whole new meaning. It became a source of hope for the future; a way to help other boys and girls.
2010 - Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Fund
In 1989, the Gingras family formed the Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Memorial Foundation to donate funds to the ABTA and ensure the funds were directed toward the support of brain tumor scientific researchers and their efforts to better understand and treat this devastating disease. To date (2013), the JAG Fund has donated $1.4 million to the American Brain Tumor Association. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the love and generosity that Joel Jr. continues to inspire in his family and friends.