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For Immediate Release

Foundation Donates $40,000 to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to Support Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

Brain tumors are the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in children under 20 years old

As a tribute to their 8-year-old son, who died one year ago today, the Wichman Family created the Nick Eric Wichman Foundation with a mission of funding specific medical research and programs for pediatric brain tumors.

Ian Pollack, MD, neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh whose research will be supported by the Foundation’s donation, is dedicated to discovering innovative treatments for brain tumors and better ways of predicting which tumors will respond to planned therapies. Through this research, investigators have uncovered a molecular irregularity in the deadliest of brain cancers that occur in children, a first step in developing “molecular fingerprints“ that would allow doctors to tailor treatments for patients.

“My ultimate goal is to find better treatments for childhood brain tumors that more effectively target the tumor, with fewer side effects for the children affected,” said Dr. Pollack. “Thanks to recent and ongoing advances in the fields of pediatric neurosurgery, radiation therapy and pediatric oncology, there are many children we can cure today that we couldn’t have helped 30 years ago. However, there are many children that we still can’t cure.”

The foundation recently donated $40,000 to Children’s in support of the brain tumor research being conducted at Children’s. The Wichman family is from Ellicott City, Maryland, but both Richard and Karen Wichman were born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. When the Wichman family found out about research being done at Children’s, they knew it was a perfect fit.

“I’m just a mom with a broken heart, but I am not going to let this disease get away with this,” said Karen Wichman, Nick’s mother and foundation advisory board member. “There is nothing that can be done for our child, but there are so many more to help. I hope our efforts will raise awareness and help increase this seriously under-funded research effort, to help lead to a cure.”

Less than 30 days after Nick’s death, Karen participated at the Brain Tumor Awareness Week, held in Washington, D.C., as an advocate and after learning more about the staggering statistics decided to start Nick’s foundation. Nick was the Wichman’s only child. Family, friends and the community rallied together to help the Foundation kick off - from a classmate’s mother designing a Web site to children donating baggies of loose change, birthday money and weekly allowances.

Melanie Tush Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
August 5, 2013
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Last Update
August 5, 2013