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Juliana Schafer Spirit of Hope Award

Honoring Volunteerism

Juliana Schafer and daughter Izzy

The Juliana Schafer Spirit of Hope Award recognizes and honors individuals, organizations or groups who generously donate their time and talents to further the ABTA mission. 

The award is named after Juliana Schafer, a long-time volunteer for the ABTA. Juliana was passionate about the ABTA’s mission, from the patient and caregiver resources to the funding of cutting-edge research it provides. 

Juliana was dedicated to fundraising for and increasing awareness of the ABTA until her passing in 2021. Her family and friends continue to keep her spirit of hope alive through their continued efforts.

Nominations for the 2024 Spirit of Hope Award are due June 27. If you have questions, please contact Sherrie Izban at sizban@abta.org

Congrats to our 2023 recipient, Sally Walker!

Sally Walker accepting 2023 Spirit of Hope Award

Sally Walker embodies the meaning of “sticking to your word.” After her daughter Kristi was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma in 2001, the two became regular attendees of the ABTA National Conference from 2003 onwards. 

Invested in the ABTA mission, Kristi also got involved in the Chicago BT5K to raise awareness and critical research funds, until her tumor returned as a GBM in 2010. Kristi lost her battle in 2011 at the young age of 37. 

Stricken with grief and the tremendous loss of Kristi, Sally decided to turn her pain into passion—just as her daughter would. 

Sally and loved ones created a team at the Chicago BT5K, aptly named “Kristi’s Loving Life” to honor Kristi’s zest for life. Their team has participated in the BT5K every year since 2011, and combined with Kristi’s individual efforts, they’ve raised more than $200,000 for the ABTA. 

Sally has maintained her dedication and support of the ABTA mission for nearly two decades—traveling each year from Ohio to the Chicago BT5K—even choosing to miss her 60th college reunion to attend the 2023 event. Sally’s reason: “because that’s what Kristi would do.”

Steadfast in her belief that we will one day find a cure for brain tumors, Sally said she plans to keep traveling to Chicago for as long as she’s physically able to honor Kristi’s memory. 

Like Juliana Schafer, Sally is a force who shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. And just like her daughter, Kristi, she is an inspiration to all who know her. 

Sally Walker accepting 2023 Spirit of Hope Award

“Sally Walker epitomizes the spirit of HOPE through her endless dedication, immeasurable perseverance, and heartfelt empathy to those who have lost loved ones to brain tumors.”

Past Recipients