SAN DIEGO – May 9, 2023 – Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego announced today a significant investment in the Hospital’s Neuro-Oncology program with a $2.5 million gift from Stacy and Don Rosenberg, which will seed the Rosenberg Fund for Innovation and Technological Advancement in Neuro-Oncology. The Hospital’s multidisciplinary Neuro-Oncology program is the only one of its kind in the San Diego region and provides comprehensive care to children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors.
For Stacy and Don, this fund is personal. In 1985, doctors diagnosed their 6-year-old daughter Amanda with a brain stem glioma, a type of central nervous system tumor. Although they were told this was an incurable cancer, the Rosenbergs nevertheless searched world-wide for experimental protocols that might provide some hope. Amanda was accepted into one such program at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital involving fractionated radiation which required her to undergo weeks of twice daily radiation. Unfortunately, the initial positive effects faded and their last-ditch effort with an experimental chemotherapy program at Duke University failed. Amanda died on June 10, 1986. She was 8 years old.
“It’s been 37 years and the pain of loss remains palpable. Yet any progress toward a cure for this terrible disease continues to elude,” said Don Rosenberg. “Amanda’s illness and death was devastating. So, the idea of participating in something that not only explores innovative treatments but helps with amelioration of symptoms in order to improve quality of life is something that’s really important,” Stacy added.
“No one other than those who have cared for a critically ill child, and watched her die can possibly appreciate the impact on a family including the effect on the child’s siblings,” Don Rosenberg continued. “We just want to do what we can to prevent that from happening to other families.”
Rady Children’s Neuro-Oncology Program cares for more than 500 children with newly diagnosed or previously treated central nervous system tumors and is one of the highest-volume programs in California. The Rosenberg Fund will support, among other things, the investigation of immunotherapy and immunomodulatory drugs that could play a significant role in future therapies; the expansion of the use of genomics for diagnosis and treatment selection; and the acquisition and utilization of technology such as AI to assist in diagnosis, treatment and the search for new and improved therapies.
“Philanthropic support is critical to driving medical advancements into areas of research and care that would benefit from increased financial assistance, and the Rosenbergs recognize this,” said Patrick Frias, MD, President & CEO of Rady Children’s. “They are truly paying it forward and I commend them for their selflessness and foresight.”
The Rosenbergs have been active in several non-profit organizations in San Diego that help people who are coping with desperate circumstances, whether it be illness or other misfortune, giving of their time and energy in addition to providing financial support.
“Families like the Rosenbergs are an inspiration and set an incredible example for others,” said Stephen Jennings, Senior Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officer at Rady Children’s and Executive Director at Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Through their generous gift, we are hoping to accelerate research and support investment into advanced treatments that will help relieve some of the burden families face when experiencing a cancer diagnosis.”
Before relocating to San Diego, among other professional endeavors including a law practice in New York City, Stacy served as the executive director of Friends of Karen, an organization that provides emotional, financial and advocacy support to children with life-threatening illness and their families.
Don was appointed to the Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center Board of Trustees in 2017 and the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine Board of Directors in 2020. He previously worked for San Diego-based technology company Qualcomm as its executive vice president and general counsel. When Don retired, in recognition of his service, the Qualcomm Foundation allocated $300,000 for Don to donate to the charity of his choice. He has chosen to direct that contribution to the Rosenberg Neuro-Oncology Fund.
“We’re interested in building awareness in San Diego of this grave illness,” said Stacy. “We’re hoping that our community will join us in trying to drive forward toward a cure.”
About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego:
Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is the largest children’s hospital on the West Coast and one of the nation’s top pediatric health care systems. Consistently ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties by U.S. News and World Report, Rady Children’s includes a 511-bed pediatric hospital that serves as the largest provider of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties. With more than 40 locations, Rady Children’s is the only health system in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric health care and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission. For more information, visit rchsd.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.