Last year, more than 330 people across the country chipped in to fund a $50,000 research grant during GBM Awareness Day. The event culminated in an hour-long virtual concert honoring Rush band drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, who passed away after a three-year fight with glioblastoma (GBM).
Then in January, content creator Ben S., asked his 900,000+ fans to donate to the ABTA in his first charity livestream video. The livestream raised more than $12,000 in under three hours. Donations ranged from as little as 50 cents to $1,000, with most donations averaging $40.
“I think people are generous and they want to give, so this [online event] elevated a cause that they could support,” said Ben, host of EazySpeezy, a YouTube channel focused on speedruns, where he races against the clock to beat gaming world records. “I held the charity speedrun because of my mom, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when I was just five.”
Power in Numbers
Picture hundreds of people around the world coming together to fund brain tumor research and patient programs at a level where they are able to give. Known as crowdfunding or crowdsourcing – originally a strategy of DIY groups, start-ups and small businesses – these efforts serve as an outlet for those looking to get behind causes and bring along their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
What that means for the brain tumor community – small donations make a big impact when we all come together. The average donation of $50 or $100 by hundreds of people has supported early-career scientists and doctors who are making profound discoveries in understanding brain tumors or finding more effective treatment approaches with ABTA seed grants. It also means funding more cutting-edge and innovative ideas.
Donors who supported GBM Awareness Day and the online concert fundraiser helped support Dr. Bikash Debnath’s research with an ABTA Discovery Grant. This funding supports his research into compounds that will make GBM tumor cells more sensitive, rather than resistant, to standard treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. He hopes this research will help increase survival time of GBM patients.
Big-Impact Events for Brain Tumor Research and Patient Programs
Raising $50,000 to Fund
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain cancers with nearly 13,000 cases expected to be diagnosed in 2021, according to Dr. Debnath’s study. To curb its effects and uncover answers, the ABTA dedicated a month-long campaign to raise dollars that funded the $50,000 Discovery Grant, designed to support innovative approaches that have the potential to change testing, treatment and care for adults and children diagnosed with a brain tumor.
More than 330 people across the country answered the call. Whether they were Rush fans or knew a loved one, friend, coworker or neighbor with GBM, they gave as a way to celebrate and honor lives impacted by GBM.
YouTube Fans Support Brain Tumor Support Program & Research
The dream of becoming a popular content creator on YouTube became a reality for Ben this past summer, where he saw a 12,000%+ spike in his followers, going from 6,000 to nearly a million fans during the pandemic. Not surprising, as one market study found that four out of five consumers turned to gaming in the last six months during stay-at-home orders.1
After seeing worldwide interest with his videos of beating the clock while playing classic video (think Minecraft and Angry Birds), he decided to host his first live charity speedrun. Ben livestreamed eight different speedruns from nostalgic video games. In just under two hours and 40 minutes, 3,000 people joined him on the livestream. Ben is most thankful for the 190 donors who helped him raise $12,000, including his match of $5,000, for brain tumor research and patient support programs.
Seeing his mom diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of five had a lasting impact on Ben 15 years later.
“Because I was so young, I don’t remember all of my mom’s experience with a brain tumor diagnosis, but I will never forget coming home from school and thinking, ‘is my mom going to die?’”
He also remembers strong support from family and friends, who would come over and took care of him while his mom was undergoing treatment and recovery. Ben recognizes that not all those diagnosed with a brain tumor have the privilege of such support and may need more help and resources along the brain tumor journey. It was reason enough for Ben to host a charitable event supporting the ABTA’s mission.
“During the livestream, not only did people donate to the fundraiser, but they shared stories about having a brain tumor or knowing someone with it,” said Ben. “I recognize that, with my YouTube channel, I have the opportunity and responsibility to elevate charitable causes with my followers, such as the support offered by the ABTA.”
1NPD Press release. “Across All Age Groups, U.S. Consumers are Investing More of their Entertainment Participation, Time and Money on Video Games, Reports the NPD Group.” Assessed on 3.30.21 at https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2020/across-all-age-groups-us-consumers-are-investing-more-of-their-entertainment-participation/
Dollars that Make a Difference
Knowing that you can made a difference at any level with any opportunity, here are three ways you can participate right now.
BT5K YOUR WAY
ABTA’s signature 5K run/walk virtual event.
Host an event or turn your special occasion into memories that give back.
GBM AWARENESS DAY
Save the date for upcoming events!