Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.
Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.

The Jimmy Fund celebrates 75 years

Summer 2023
By Robbie Merritt
Photography by Josh Campbell, John Deputy, Steve McLaughlin, Rachel O’Driscoll/Boston Red Sox, Pan-Mass Challenge, Bryce Vickmark

On May 22, 1948, Einar Gustafson, a young boy being treated for lymphoma by Dr. Sidney Farber and dubbed “Jimmy” to protect his privacy, shared his story from his hospital bed. The radio broadcast, organized by the Variety Children’s Charity of New England, inspired more than $200,000 in donations from across the country. That generous community of donors, who first rallied together to raise money for a TV (pictured) so Jimmy could watch baseball, is what became known, fondly, as the Jimmy Fund.

“As we mark the Jimmy Fund’s 75-year anniversary, we take pride in remaining anchored by the core principles of Dr. Sidney Farber’s mission: to make scientific discoveries and turn them into lifesaving treatments,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, Dana-Farber president and CEO. “The Jimmy Fund has enabled Dana-Farber to become one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment, saving countless lives.”

While it has grown considerably over the last 75 years—becoming the official charity partner of the Pan-Mass Challenge, Boston Red Sox, the Variety Children’s Charity of New England, and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association—the Jimmy Fund has remained a community: A grassroots movement of people of all ages and backgrounds, organizing events and participating in programs—such as this year’s Giving Day on May 22—solely dedicated to raising money for cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber.

In the decades since Jimmy’s original broadcast, the generosity of millions all over the world has helped the Jimmy Fund directly support Dana-Farber’s mission of turning groundbreaking research into lifesaving treatments to defy cancer, for patients of all ages.

“I’m continuously impressed by the resilience and dedication of the entire Jimmy Fund community,” said Larry Lucchino, Chairman of the Jimmy Fund. “What we’ve been able to accomplish together over 75 years for cancer research and care at Dana-Farber—the benefits of which I have experienced firsthand—is nothing short of monumental.”

Since 1947, when Sidney Farber, MD, completed the first successful treatment of blood cancer using chemotherapy, Dana-Farber has remained on the cutting edge of bench-to-bedside research and high-quality, total patient care. Today, breakthroughs continue thanks to support from the Jimmy Fund community, leading to new and innovative cancer therapies that change the way the world treats cancer.

“As the original ‘Jimmy,’ Dad was so proud to be able to show people that if he was able to make it based on the research and medicines available in 1948, with how improved it is today because of all the donations, that you could make it, too,” said Einar Gustafson’s daughters, Lynn MacLeod and Lisa Patti. “He wanted to show people hope. That was his legacy: hope.”

Together, we have continued Dr. Farber’s promise to never accept the incurability of cancer. Together, we celebrate 75 years of progress, impact, and dedication to creating a more hopeful, cancer-free future. Together, we’re all Jimmy, and we will continue to defy cancer.

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