Minds Matter Gala Raises More Than $450,000 for the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute

Northwestern Medicine
News May 21, 2015
Doctors, patients and those committed to improving the quality of life for spinal cord and brain tumor patients raised about $450,000 at the Minds Matter Gala held on May 1 at the Hilton Chicago.   

More than 400 people attended the event, including patients, caregivers and staff of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. Proceeds will benefit research and programs at the NBTI.

The co-chairs of the event, Maria and Faris Nijim, both lost their fathers to brain cancer but are dedicated to helping find better treatments and, one day, a cure.

“We know the complexity of care required for brain tumor patients and the enormous impact of brain tumors on the lives of patients and their loved ones require substantial support,” said NBTI co-director James P. Chandler, MD, surgical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Lavin/Fates Professor of neurological surgery at the Feinberg School. “To provide patients with responsive, comprehensive care, the NBTI established a needs-based fund known as the Patient & Family Assistance Fund to better serve the unique needs of our patients. The fund helps qualified families cover patients’ out-of-pocket costs for things such as, transportation, co-pays, nutritional supplements, home care and respite care.” 

The NBTI is a nationally recognized leader in the fight against brain and spinal tumors and is a collaboration between Northwestern Medicine® and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. The NBTI is dedicated to advancing brain and spinal cord tumor research and improving treatment, outcomes and quality of life for patients. Northwestern Medicine’s neurology and neurosurgery programs have earned national acclaim, ranking 10th in the nation and first in Illinois on the 2014 U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals list. 

“Research that translates to improved care for patients can’t advance without clinical trials,” said NBTI co-director Jeffrey Raizer, MD, director of medical neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Lurie Cancer Center, and professor of neurology and hematology/oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. “The NBTI is proud to offer a robust list of clinical trial options, offering between 10 to 15 trials at any one time. Many of these trials are done in conjunction with our scientific laboratories.”

Established in 2008, the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) is a nationally recognized leader in the fight against brain and spinal cord tumors serving and treating more than 7,000 patients each year. The NBTI includes more than 50 faculty and staff across a multitude of disciplines including neurology, neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, radiation, neuro-radiology, neuropathology, pediatric neuro-oncology, nursing and rehabilitative medicine.

Since 2009, Minds Matter has raised more than $3 million for the research and treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors at the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. This year, broadcast journalist, author, and Chicago Tribune contributor Jennifer Weigel headlined the Minds Matter event. Weigel is the daughter of beloved Chicago sportscaster Tim Weigel, who died of brain cancer in 2001. Her brother Rafer Weigel, former ABC-7 sports anchor, headlined the 2013 Minds Matter event.

In a special tribute to kick off the evening, Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, led the room in a toast to the late chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Andrew Parsa, MD, PhD, who passed away suddenly on April 13.

“Andy was a valued member of the Feinberg faculty, a distinguished scholar, and extraordinarily talented surgeon, and a dedicated advocate for his patients. Above all, he was an extremely loyal husband, father, and friend to many,” said Neilson. “Andy’s legacy is the same as the NBTI—making a difference in the lives of patients.”

Learn more about the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute.