The Chris Elliott Fund had a monumental moment last Friday, Jan. 3, when it opened the doors of the new Brain Tumor Patient and Family Support Services Center in Redmond. The organization was started in 2002 by Sammamish residents Chris and Dellann Elliott three weeks before Chris passed away from the deadliest form of brain tumor. Dellann said that in his last days Chris made the request to do something about the disease.
“While going through this disease with my husband, we experienced and realized that it was the norm for brain tumor patients to not be referred to dedicated brain tumor specialists or centers and it was the norm to not encourage clinical trials and advanced treatments as options for the disease,” Dellann said.
The non-profit organization focuses on brain cancer and brain tumor patient advocacy, with the ultimate mission of ending the disease. Help is offered free of charge.
The first person assisted was John Brace. It was three weeks after Chris’ funeral. Brace had just had his brain tumor removed and wanted to know what to do next. Dellann began responding to Brace’s concerns, and others, averaging approximately 40 inquiries a month. This number eventually grew to about 300 inquiries.
“I personally responded to and met with each person who reached out for help from me for 10 years,” she said.
Dellann was able to hire a Health Information Concierge for 20 hours a week in order to assist her, and eventually the Christ Elliott Fund acquired six employees to help with support services.
“We spent 10 years on the Sammamish Plateau delivering brain tumor patient support services as well as creating educational materials to a local and national audience,” Dellann said. “We are proud to locate our worldwide headquarters and patient support services center in Redmond.”
While the Chris Elliott Fund has been providing free brain tumor patient and caregiver services for the past 11 years, Dellann said that having a physical space for their organization will allow them to more effectively respond to the thousands of worldwide inquiries that come into their Patient Support Services Center every month. The fund is now looked upon nationally as an expert in the field and recently has been asked to set up a patient support center in Boston, Dellann said.
“The ultimate goal of the Chris Elliott Fund is to end brain cancer through education, awareness, advocacy and research through our day to day direct patient support services and through public education,” Dellann said. “Through these means, CEF can get brain tumor patients into advanced treatments and clinical trials immediately and make genomic testing and DNA sequencing part of the standard protocol for each brain tumor patient.”
Once these goals are achieved, Dellann said, pharmaceutical companies will invest more money into various options for brain cancer patients, giving them more treatment outlets. Her goal is to turn the treatment of the disease into more of a maintenance approach until, ultimately, a cure can be found.
Former Sammamish city council member John Curley is on the Chris Elliott Fund Advocacy Board and Kathy Huckabay, newly re-appointed Sammamish City Council member, has been a long-time supporter, said Dellann. The vice president of the organization, Tamara DePorter, is also a Sammamish resident.
The fund relies heavily on grants and donations. They have several events throughout the year, including a “Girls Night Out” at JM Cellars in Woodinville, an auction and celebration event in May, a celebrity golf tournament at the Bear Creek Golf and Country Club in August and participation in the Seattle Brain Cancer WALK in September.
The Brain Tumor Patient and Family Support Services Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The organization is always accepting new patients and inquiries. Those who wish to donate can send a check made out to Chris Elliott Fund to its new headquarters at 14959 N.E. 95th St. Redmond 98052. More information is available at www.chriselliottfund.com.