About Us

Humor to Fight the Tumor is one of the country’s premier fundraising events benefiting those living with brain tumors and those researching more effective treatments. To date, the event has raised over $1.7 million to aid in the fight against brain tumors.

The goal of Humor to Fight the Tumor is to move people through the power of hope and laughter to contribute to the important work of the funding research and patient services. The gala event features silent and live auctions, live comedy, dinner, and stories of determination and courage by brain tumor survivors and honorees.

By sharing stories of those affected by brain tumors—sometimes heartbreaking, always uplifting—we shine a light on the devastating effects of a disease that attacks the very centers of movement, thought, and emotion. That light kindles hope, hope fuels generosity, and generosity paves the way for new treatments.

When you sponsor or attend Humor to Fight the Tumor, or donate to the silent or live auctions, your generosity directly benefits patients, families, caregivers, doctors and researchers.


Humor to Fight the Tumor is proud to broaden our mission and support quality-of-life programs for brain tumor patients and their families through the "Fund-a-Cause" program. Fund-a-Cause dollars raised at Humor to Fight the Tumor are allocated to state-wide organizations whose mission is to improve the quality of life for patients and families dealing with life-threatening diagnoses. We have identified organizations willing to use the funds that we raise specifically to enrich the lives of families affected by brain tumors through financial assistance, patient and family respite services, support groups and research.

Humor to Fight the Tumor has contributed Fund-a-Cause dollars to the following organizations:
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Angel Foundation
Mayo Clinic
Miracles of Mitch
Sister Kenny Foundation
United Hospital Foundation

A message from event founder Joelle Syverson

Humor to Fight the Tumor began when a single woman diagnosed with a non-curable brain tumor marshaled family and friends to raise money for brain tumor research and treatment. Today the event Joelle Syverson created is one of the top fund-raising events supporting brain tumor research and patient services.

Joelle Syverson"Humor to Fight the Tumor" began as a dream of mine as a brain
tumor survivor. After attending a fundraiser for diabetes, I
decided to start a fundraiser of my own to raise awareness and
funds for brain tumor research. I was diagnosed with a
non-curable and recurring brain tumor in April 2001, 8 months
after giving birth to my 3rd child. At the time my two older
children were 5 and 3 years old. Since 2001, I have experienced four recurrences of my tumor, one in April 2003, another in 2007 and a third in 2009. A fourth recurrence occurred in the fall of 2013, with growth happening again in an area too risky for surgery, so chemotherapy treatment began.

After attending a fundraiser for diabetes, I decided to start a fundraiser of my own to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research, a worthy and often-neglected area of study. My hope in creating the event was twofold. First, to educate people about brain tumors and create awareness of a disease that is difficult to diagnose and very devastating. Second, to entertain and provide an uplifting evening that creates a sense of joy and appreciation for the life we have all been given.

I can truly say that having cancer is a blessing in my life. It has made me realize that every day is a gift from God, a gift that is not to be wasted, but treasured instead. We don’t get to choose when we are going to die, but we do get to choose how we are going to live, so I want to live being thankful for each day.

With the involvement and support of friends and family, the event has grown to exceed all expectations. Today a diverse committee of dedicated people is taking Humor to Fight the Tumor to the next level, expanding beyond a single night of fundraising to bring the message of hope and encouragement to people throughout the year.

Despite our success, we have a long way to go. Over 200,000 people will be diagnosed with brain tumors in the U.S. this year. Many of them will be children, for whom brain tumors are the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. It is my hope that you will consider attending Humor to Fight the Tumor—and that you will support our efforts with sponsorship, an auction item or a monetary donation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am deeply touched by the generosity and support Humor to Fight the Tumor has received thus far. It is a great encouragement to me as well as all individuals and families affected by brain tumors.

Thanks and blessings,

Joelle Syverson