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We’re coming for you, brain cancer

Founders Circle member
Invests in neuroscience research

You might find it surprising, but Mary Dowell had never known anyone with cancer—not a loved one, a friend or a colleague. That is until Mary arrived home from work one afternoon to discover her husband, Joe, lying on the floor. He’d experienced a seizure. Scans at the local hospital revealed the shocking news: Joe had a mass on his brain.

Thanks to the investment of donors like you, there was a place for Mary and Joe to turn for the most advanced care possible right here at home—The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute.

“We had never heard about glioblastoma, what stage IV meant or how deadly this kind of brain cancer can be,” says Mary.

And that’s when the idea for team “Amazing Joe” emerged. The couple and their daughter, Kelly, participated in their first Seattle Brain Cancer Walk together in 2009 to raise awareness and funds to find a cure by supporting the work of The Ivy Center.


Joe didn’t make it to the team’s second walk. He died just a few short days before it was held in 2010. But Mary, her mom, Jean, and Kelly support the walk in his honor and have continued to do so each year since.

Today, Joe’s legacy lives on through their commitment to funding leading-edge research that may end the pain and loss caused by brain cancer once and for all.

Right now more than 138,000 people in the U.S., and 1.4 million worldwide are fighting to survive malignant brain tumors. By the end of the year, another 256,000 will be diagnosed with some form of brain cancer.1

But because of supporters like you, Mary and Kelly, more of our loved ones who may face a brain cancer diagnosis have a chance for a healthier tomorrow.

In fact, our research team is on the cusp of a major breakthrough—finding the missing link between glioblastoma and cytomegalovirus, which is estimated to be present in 90 percent of glioblastoma tumors. These efforts may unveil critical molecular information about what’s driving the patient’s cancer and which treatment(s) may be most effective against their disease.

In the face of such a devastating loss, Mary and Kelly believe that supporting this kind of landmark research is the one true way to drive change and give hope to others.

“I know where every dollar goes, and I know those dollars are making a difference,” says Mary. “I represent my husband, and I’m part of a solution that may truly land a cure through research at The Ivy Center.”

Mary imagines that today Joe would be most proud to see that she and Kelly have stayed involved in funding research.

“He never once complained. His optimism was infectious. Joe believed, and that was a true inspiration. He would be proudest that we still believe too—that a cure and help for other people will happen.”

Thanks to supporters like you, Mary and Kelly, more of our loved ones will have hope for a healthier tomorrow.

To learn more about how your gift makes a difference at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, contact Philanthropy Officer Mallory Higgins at 206-386-6108 or Mallory.Higgins@swedish.org

1 Ivybraintumorcenter.org