Barbara Wells (center) and Jim Ulmer (third from right) of the Lillian S. Wells
Foundation are shown with (from left) Dr. William Friedman, UF President
Bernie Machen, Dr. David Guzick and Dr. Michael Good.

A life-saving gift

$10 million gift from the Lillian S. Wells Foundation Inc. to the UF College of Medicine department of neurosurgery will help scientists better understand the causes of brain tumors and lead to treatments and improved quality of life for patients.

Announced in January, the foundation’s gift will establish the Lillian S. Wells Fund for Brain Tumor Research, rounding out UF’s comprehensive brain tumor program by adding a proven basic science research team to work across the full spectrum of basic, translational and clinical sciences. The department will recruit an internationally recognized brain tumor scientist to lead the research initiative.

William B. Slayton, M.D.

“Due to the continued generosity of the Wells Foundation, we are now able to bring one of the world’s best brain tumor research groups to UF,” said William Friedman, M.D., chair of neurosurgery. “Our goal, quite simply, is to create the team of scientists and clinicians who can find substantially better treatments for malignant brain tumors.”

The gift, combined with matching funds from other university sources, launches a $20 million initiative that will have a significant impact on future brain tumor treatments and produce valuable results for the people of Florida and for people around the world, Friedman said.

Approximately 20,000 new primary brain tumors are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

“It is exciting to contemplate future achievements by dovetailing the clinical and research elements at the UF College of Medicine,” said Jim Ulmer, a director of the Wells Foundation. “The Lillian S. Wells Foundation is honored to continue its relationship with the College of Medicine.” — Karen Dooley

Bonnie’s dream
STOP! Children’s Cancer Inc. has donated $1.05 million to the UF College of Medicine to establish the STOP! Children’s Cancer Bonnie R. Freeman Clinical Trials Fund. The gift will be used to support pediatric cancer patient clinical trials. “Our goal is for every child at Shands to receive the best medicine that is known right now — to help them survive whatever they are going through,” said Howard Freeman, a co-founder of STOP! Children’s Cancer. The gift will fund a clinical trials coordinator to help open new trials and ensure they are done in the safest and most effective way, said William B. Slayton, M.D., chief of hematology and oncology in the department of pediatrics. STOP! Children’s Cancer was founded by Bonnie Freeman and her father, Howard Freeman, in 1981. In 1983, Bonnie died of leukemia at age 12. Her dream was to help other children with the disease. Since its founding, STOP! Children’s Cancer has contributed more than $3.7 million to fund pediatric cancer research at UF.
— Melanie Stawicki Azam
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Summer 2012

From the director’s desk

They’re our patients’ bridge over troubled water … when you’re feeling weary and there’s darkness all around, they will comfort you.

Audrey’s journey across the world

Six-year-old from Australia comes to UF Proton Therapy Center for brain tumor treatment. “More happiness came out of the center than pain,” Anderson said.

Helping them live

Cancer is a scary diagnosis, by itself. Add in the need for appointments with surgeons, medical oncologists, genetics counselors and other specialists plus a slew of tests and the mind boggles. Nurse navigators guide patients through their cancer journeys.

Targeting tumors

Cancer that has spread from the site of an original tumor to other places in the body is often viewed as a death sentence. But if there are just a few of those secondary tumors, called metastases, some patients have a good chance of survival.

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