Einar Gustafson was Dr. Sidney Farber's patient in 1948 and it was he who inspired the Jimmy Fund.
As a 12 year old patient of cancer, Gustafson spoke on Ralph Edwards' national radio program, Truths or Consequences, as he met with the Boston Braves, his favorite baseball team, on May 22, 1948.
"Jimmy" in a
that the Boston
Braves gave to
At the end of the broadcast, donations were requested to buy a TV set for Jimmy to watch baseball, his favorite sport. This request did not fall to deaf ears and soon after the broadcast, donations poured in nationwide. Gustafson, who was given the name "Jimmy" to protect his privacy and the radio broadcast he was on gave birth to today's Jimmy Fund, a foundation that works to raise money for cancer research.
After that broadcast, Gustafson returned home to Maine and in later years even resided in Massachusetts, but many people at Dana Farber assumed he passed away since the rate of survival for children was very low during that time period. Gustafson remained a mystery until 1998, the 50th anniversary of the radio broadcast that started the Jimmy Fund. On this momentous occasion, Gustafson revealed his identity and was featured in various newspapers and magazines from Sports Illustrated to People.
He was named honorary chairman of the Jimmy Fund and became an active member of the charity. Gustafson visited patients, made public service announcements, and attended various fund raising events including the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge and the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. He was so committed to Jimmy Fund that his trailer truck contained the charity's slogan, "Because it takes more than courage to beat cancer."
Although Gustafson, at 65 year old, passed away of a stroke on January 21, 2001, this slogan continues to preserve his memory, providing hope, support, and inspirations to thousands afflicted with cancer and their family and friends.
Today, the Jimmy Fund has raised over $400 million since its conception on Ralph Edward's radio program in the 1940s. Every dollar goes toward finding a cure for cancer so that children will not have to suffer in pain and innocent lives will not be lost.
The Jimmy Fund
The Jimmy Fund gives hope to those suffering from cancer and continues to fight the fight that Sidney Farber spent his life fighting. The foundation hopes that one day, children will never have to question their mortality because of cancer. With money raised, the nation is a step closer to finding a cure for this horrible disease that has killed so many.
Today, cure rates for children's cancer has increased to 75 percent, due to the money raised by the Jimmy Fund for research and Dr. Sidney Farber's commitment and groundbreaking research. The Jimmy Fund Clinic of the Dana Farber Institute, with its wall painted with vintage Disney characters and with its waiting rooms serving as playrooms, is designed with pediatric cancer patients in mind, providing love, care, and compassion to its young patients.
The Pan-Mass Challenge
It is the mission of the Jimmy Fund and that of Dana Farber, that treatment does not only provide medicinal support but emotional support as well. Through countless fundraising events, the Jimmy Fund continues to thrive.
Since 1980, the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, a bicycle ride across the state, has raised more than $171 million. Every year, "nearly 4,800 cyclists from 36 U.S. states and six countries will ride up to 192 miles across the Commonwealth in the 28th annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) on Aug. 4 and 5". Another notable fund raiser is the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Participants walk the 26.2 mile, following the route of the Boston Marathon, in honor of those who passed away of cancer and to raise money to continue their fight. Today, the Boston Red Sox continues in the tradition of the Boston Braves, by working with the Jimmy Fund to raise money for the battle for cancer.
Since 1958 when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, the Red Sox took over the partnership with the Jimmy Fund and has become the longest standing charity partnership in any professional sport. The logo of the Jimmy Fund is seen in the Green Monster in Fenway Park, a trademark of baseball history.
The Jimmy Fund
on Fenway Park's
Red Sox Players spend time visiting children at the Jimmy Fund Clinic and hold various events such as an 18-hour radio telethon to seek donations. The Red Sox, like Sidney Farber, embodies the hope that one day, a cure for cancer will be found and in the mean time, the team works with the Jimmy Fund to accomplish this mission.
The Jimmy Fund works in conjunction with the Dana Farber Institute to provide funding for cancer research in hopes of continuing Sidney Farber's mission.