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Our Highest Honor

The Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award

ABTA President & CEO Ralph DeVitto, Board Chair Jim Reilly and Johnathan Gingras present Fern Bomchill with the Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award during the 2019 National Conference.

Since 2010, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has awarded the Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award, our highest honor, to recognize an individual, organization or group that has made significant contributions to the Association’s mission through philanthropy, advocacy, discovery, or patient care.  

The ABTA’s highest honor, the Gingras Award pays tribute to Joel A. Gingras Jr., who died in 1988 due to complications from treatment of a choroid plexus papilloma, a rare, non-cancerous brain tumor.

The following year—channeling all of their grief and good intentions—the Gingras family created the Joel Anthony Gingras Memorial Foundation (JAG Fund) to raise money for and increase awareness of brain tumors. An already popular annual tube float organized by the family became the fundraising mechanism. Since then, the entire Gingras family and its board of directors have made an unprecedented impact within the brain tumor community, by raising much-needed funds to help the American Brain Tumor Association provide patient services and invest in research. Never losing sight of their mission, the JAG Foundation has donated $2.8 million to the ABTA over the past 34 years.

Serving as the pinnacle of our philanthropic honors, the Gingras Award is also a testament to the dedication of the Gingras Family and others like them, who continue to support the ABTA mission. Thanks to all past, present and future recipients, we may be closer to a cure for brain tumors.

 

2023 Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Award Recipients

Gail & Don Segal 

ABTA leadership is pleased to announce Gail and Don Segal as the 2023 Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Award recipients. For nearly 50 years, Gail and Don Segal have played a crucial role in the establishment and ongoing success of the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). Their involvement began when their son was diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor, which inspired them to join the newly formed ABTA in 1975. 

 

During the early years of the ABTA, Gail and Don immersed themselves in the mission to help build the foundation of the organization you see today. As the first organization dedicated to brain tumor education, research and advocacy, their leadership gave rise to a best-in-class patient and caregiver support programs, a renowned research program recognized by the medical community and National Institutes of Health and aggressive advocacy initiatives that gave way to national data collection.  

 

Gail was laser focused on ensuring patients and families had access to accurate and accessible educational materials and support programs. She authored the ABTA’s first educational booklet titled “A Primer of Brain Tumors,” which was applauded by the medical and patient communities. To this day, the Brain Tumor Primer is distributed by medical professionals to newly diagnosed patients. 

 

She also co-produced the inaugural ABTA Family Weekend in Chicago in 1993, commemorating the organization’s 20th anniversary, and continued to be involved in organizing subsequent biennial patient and family programs. Recognizing the need to reach families who could not afford the expense or time to travel to Chicago for educational meetings, she developed remote educational meetings to ensure access to valuable information and support. These programs are still in existence today. 

 

And of great significance, Gail advocated for nationwide collection of brain tumor data that lead to the ABTA founding the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) in 1992, which is the leading resource of data for benign and malignant primary brain tumors.  

 

In the early years of the organization, Don served as the ABTA’s volunteer executive director for 14 years tirelessly developing and fostering revenue streams to enable the ABTA to deliver upon its mission. He cultivated relationships with influential donors and foundations in the Chicago area, resulting in over $1.4 million in donations to support the ABTA’s initiatives. From seizing an opportunity to host an ABTA fundraiser during a Frank Sinatra concert to cultivating a relationship with the Joel Anthony Gingras Memorial Foundation which has contributed more than $2 million to the ABTA.  

 

Despite their extensive contributions, Gail and Don’s involvement with the ABTA extends beyond their past roles. They continue to be active supporters and generous donors, belonging to the Kramer Society and serving as Honorary Board members. They volunteer their time during the ABTA’s National Conference and provide trusted counsel as informal advisors. Their ongoing dedication reflects their enduring commitment to the ABTA and the brain tumor community. 

Past Recipients

 

2021

Rick Sontag & The Sontag Foundation

2020

Priscilla Brastianos, MD

2019

Fern Bomchill & The Bradley Benton Davis Foundation 

2018

Joelle Syverson & Humor to Fight the Tumor Foundation

2017

Carol Kruchko, Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Founder and President

2016

E. Antonio (Nino) Chiocca, MD, PhD

2015

Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund Committee, Family & Friends

2014

Lynne Adams & the Butler Family Foundation

2013

Louis & Phyllis Jacobs

2012

Dr. Steven Brem

2011

          Gina & Randy Porter           (Justin’s Walk)

2010

Joel A. Gingras Memorial Foundation

Past Recipients

 

2021

Rick Sontag & The Sontag Foundation

2020

Priscilla Brastianos, MD

2019

Fern Bomchill & The Bradley Benton Davis Foundation 

2018

Joelle Syverson & Humor to Fight the Tumor Foundation

2017

Carol Kruchko, Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Founder and President

2016

E. Antonio (Nino) Chiocca, MD, PhD

2015

Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund Committee, Family & Friends

2014

Lynne Adams & the Butler Family Foundation

2013

Louis & Phyllis Jacobs

2012

Dr. Steven Brem

2011

          Gina & Randy Porter           (Justin’s Walk)

2010

Joel A. Gingras Memorial Foundation

Joel A. Gingras Jr.  (1961-1988)

Past Recipients

 

2022

Dr. Mark Gilbert

2021

Rick Sontag & The Sontag Foundation

2020

Priscilla Brastianos, MD

2019

Fern Bomchill & The Bradley Benton Davis Foundation 

2018

Joelle Syverson & Humor to Fight the Tumor Foundation

2017

Carol Kruchko, Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Founder and President

2016

E. Antonio (Nino) Chiocca, MD, PhD

2015

Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund Committee, Family & Friends

2014

Lynne Adams & the Butler Family Foundation

2013

Louis & Phyllis Jacobs

2012

Dr. Steven Brem

2011

          Gina & Randy Porter           (Justin’s Walk)

2010

Joel A. Gingras Memorial Foundation

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