Our fundraising efforts began while Brian was going through treatments in 2008. His sister Kristen and then boyfriend, now husband, Jon, decided to become part of the MGH Marathon team and run the Boston marathon. Brian let his friends know through Facebook, and the donations started coming. They eventually raised over $12,000 for MGH. Despite the fact that Brian passed away on April 8, 2009, Kristen and Jon completed their first Boston Marathon a little more than a week later. Two months later on June 15, 2009 Brian’s 25th birthday, his friends took over Pepperoncini’s restaurant in Framingham to celebrate his life. They took up a collection and made another donation to MGH.
Realizing that his many friends from high school and college, and his large extended family wanted to keep his memory alive, we established The Brian MacIsaac Sarcoma Foundation, Inc. on May 6, 2010. His friends again planned a night in his memory on his birthday, and wanted to raise money to fight the terrible disease that took his life. On June 15, 2010, the foundation received it’s first donations. Pepperoncini’s donated $1200 in cash, and combined with checks from his friends totaling $350, we opened our bank account with a $1,550 deposit. Over the next month we received 3 checks from family members who learned about the foundation, adding another $225. In September 2010, Brian’s friends organized a “pub crawl” in Brian’s memory and donated $2,050. Later that month Brian’s Uncle made the single largest individual donation to date of $5,000 in lieu of favors at his daughter’s (and Brian’s cousin’s) wedding. That was followed by “The Bigs,” a softball team named after Brian who was known to his friends as “Big Mac” or “Biggie” because of his 6’4” height, of $107. It was becoming obvious how much Brian meant to his friends, and how much they meant to him. We now had $7,050 in our account, and had yet to have an “official” fundraiser. On June 18, 2011 we held our first “official” fundraiser at the Woodland Golf Club in Newton. More than 170 people attended or made donations and more than 30 local businesses donated items for raffle and auction. We raised $11,553 that night, and on August 15, 2011, the foundation made it’s first donations.
After several conversations with both Mass General and Dana Farber, we have made annual donations to sarcoma research and clinical trials since 2011. Donations are allocated between these two hospitals based on the specific research and clinical trial endeavors happening at each institution in a given year. Both institutions are excited about the pace of new breakthroughs in the biology of cancers, including Ewing’s sarcoma, the disease that took Brian’s life. They are very grateful to receive these targeted donations because drug companies don’t see the return on investment for developing new drugs for a disease that only has hundreds of new cases per year.