Our Story

“We found something…”

Those are the words that changed our family forever. Those are the three words that determined our family’s future. Those are the words we heard as we waited for our son, Ian, to finish what we thought would be only a routine MRI. That “something” turned out to be a tumor in Ian’s brainstem, arguably the most dangerous area of the brain on which to have a lesion. Even worse, the tumor is inoperable.

On November 1, 2005, our perfect family of five entered into what would become The Perfect Storm. For the first few months after Ian’s diagnosis, we saw countless doctors around the country in search of answers. The shocking statistic is that cancer is the second leading cause of childhood death, with brain cancer causing the most deaths. We quickly discovered that very little funding is being allocated to research these specific types of pediatric brain tumors. Therefore, we started Ian’s Friends Foundation (IFF) to fill this void for the thousands of children who suffer from this disease. Promising research can only occur with increased public awareness of this terrible condition and by donations from generous supporters. This research can raise survival rates, improve patient care and hopefully find a cure.

Fourteen years have passed since Ian’s diagnosis and a world of chaos has become our daily routine. We have a 24 hour, seven days a week commitment to ensure the health of our son, which includes doctor and hospital visits, continuous MRIs and diagnostic tests and a barrage of therapies. The pits in our stomachs and our overwhelming fear of what the future will bring never go away.  At the moment, Ian’s lesion is stable (thankfully) but as his body navigates puberty and hormone levels change, the tumor progression can increase aggressively. There are thousands of children in this situation and finding a cure has truly become a race against time!

We truly want to thank our family, friends and supporters who all have shown sincerity, determination and so much love for this cause. A social obligation to ensure every child has a chance in life is the greatest responsibility that any individual can ever have. We cannot thank you enough for joining us in this fight against pediatric brain tumors. Together we will win this battle!

With all our love and appreciation,

Cheryl and Phil Yagoda