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April 23, 2020

A Community Effort to Fight Brain Cancer: Sean Hunter Research in Action Bowling for Brain Cancer

by Caroline Mekhiel

On Sunday, March 1, 2020 community members and physicians gathered at the Bowlmor Bowling alley in Santa Monica in the name of fighting for brain cancer.

About the Event

Sponsored by the Uncle Kory Foundation and in memory of Sean Hunter who passed away from brain cancer, the event was created by Sean’s mother, Michele, together with family and friends, after Sean’s diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 20.

In years past, event organizers held large sponsored walks for brain cancer research and this year they decided to gather the community for a family-friendly bowling night.

This fun-filled evening featured bowling, prizes, pizza, and a silent auction while raising much-needed funds for brain cancer research. Net proceeds from the event go directly to benefit brain cancer research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute under the direction of Dr. Santosh Kesari, Director of Neuro-Oncology, and Chair of Translational Neurosciences & Neurotherapeutics, at Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI).

Dr. Kesari understands the urgency of improved response to therapy and is working to accelerate the development of novel therapies for brain cancer through drug innovations, immunotherapies and efficient clinical trials.

“The only thing standing between those trials and the patients who need them is funding,”

– Dr. Kesari

Uncle Kory Foundation

Dr. Santosh Kesari, Michelle Hunter and Uncle Kory Foundation Director of Operations, Renee Vachon
Dr. Santosh Kesari, Michelle Hunter and Uncle Kory Foundation Director of Operations, Renee Vachon

The Uncle Kory Foundation’s mission is to collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations to inspire and bring hope to those who are facing such life-altering challenges.

Their aim is to specifically improve the survival rate and treatment of those diagnosed with Glioblastoma (GBM).

GBM accounts for approximately 17 percent of all brain tumors and increases in frequency with age, affecting more men than women. 

Unfortunately, the prognosis is grim, as few will live to see 3 years after diagnosis. Most patients will live only 6-18 months, with an entire family being affected by the devastating news.

Dr. Kesari, Dr. Kian Karimi and other members of PNI were on hand to support and enjoy the festivities. Robert O. Klein, President and CEO of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation were also present at the event.

Michelle Hunter with the PNI Team
Michelle Hunter with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute team

During part of the evening, event organizers asked Dr. Kesari to speak about the impact and importance of brain cancer research. He was also joined by a special guest – a young woman who had also struggled with brain cancer, she described her challenging journey and gave thanks to Dr. Kesari and the other physicians who helped lead her through her life-extending treatment.

Dr. Kesari speaking at the Sean Hunter Bowl
Dr. Kesari speaking about the impact and importance of brain cancer research

The event was attended by over 175 people and organizers raised over $51,000 for cancer research.

Remembering Sean

Although Sean passed away from brain cancer in 2017, his Legacy of Love lives on through family, friends, and community members who continue to fight for a cure. Let’s keep moving in Sean’s honor, and in honor of everyone affected by brain cancer.

For more information about Dr. Kesari’s research programs, please contact us at 310-829-8265 or neuro-oncology@jwci.org.

To contribute towards life-saving research, please contact Saint John’s Foundation Director of Development, Mary Byrnes at 310-582-7102 or Mary.Byrnes@stjohns.org.

You may be interested in reading:

A Mother’s Love: Sean Hunter Research in Action Walk for Brain Cancer

Is Early Brain Cancer Detection on the Horizon?

About the Author

Caroline Mekhiel

Caroline Mekhiel

Caroline is an experienced marketing and communication professional, who has supported various health systems and academic medical centers across Southern California. Throughout her career she has supported key service lines and programs with an emphasis on implementing innovative strategies that drive volume and growth.

Last updated: September 16th, 2020