Joelle Syverson


May, 2013

November, 2012

September, 2011

August, 2008

August 5, 2008, Minneapolis, Minn.. – The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has awarded a two-year fellowship in honor of Joelle Syverson, a local Minnesota woman. Syverson, a cancer survivor and founder of Humor to Fight the Tumor, a Minneapolis-based fundraising and cancer support nonprofit, was recently recognized for her outstanding encouragement of the ABTA’s research programs. This is the fourth time Joelle has been awarded a two –year fellowship in her name.

Since 2004, Syverson’s nonprofit organization, Humor to Fight the Tumor, has been raising funds for the ABTA. To date, the organization has donated close to $500,000 to the ABTA. Last year, the event introduced a “Fund-A-Cause” element to the gala. This component complements the work of the ABTA by benefiting patients and families close to home. Minnesota organizations have been identified whose mission is to enrich the lives of families affected by brain tumors through financial assistance, patient and family respite services, support groups and research.

This year, Syverson, along with co-chairs Matt Thurber and Kristin Gray and the volunteer committee that supports them, will be hosting their annual fundraiser at the Minneapolis Depot, Saturday, September 27. The event, which also honors other brain cancer survivors and the lives of those who struggled with the disease, is by invite only due to space constraints. However, information on how to donate can be found at

Syverson said, “Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under the age of 20. Brain cancer is a disease that is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms often mimic other diseases; and because there are over 120 different types of brain tumors effective treatment is complicated. As a result, raising funds and promoting new research for this disease, is key to eventually finding new cures and treatments.”

To learn more about Humor to Fight the Tumor, please visit their website at For more information about the ABTA, visit

August 20, 2008
Old idea with a (lemon) twist
Area kids’ stand raises money for brain tumor research

For the average fourth-grader, summer vacation usually means long days at the pool. But Eden Prairie’s Molly Dolan is not your average eight-year-old. In July, she had an idea. Something along the lines of “If life gives you lemons…”

A friend of Molly’s mother had been handed a whole bag of lemons, in the form of a brain tumor. That fact had drawn Brenda Dolan to become involved in Humor to Fight the Tumor, an annual Twin Cities event that has become one of the largest fundraisers for the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA).

Seeing her mother’s commitment to the event led Molly and brothers Matthew (age 9) and Peter (5) to launch a fundraiser of their own. They followed a business model that’s been proven by generations of kids: the lemonade stand.

Selling lemonade for a quarter a cup (with a sideline in homemade strawberry jelly—four dollars a jar), Molly, Matthew and Peter raised seventy-two dollars in a single afternoon—an impressive haul. Even more impressive: They’ll give every dollar to Humor to Fight the Tumor, where it will be invested in brain tumor research and patient services.

The kids made no secret of their mission. To field any questions, they prepped themselves with information from the Humor to Fight the Tumor and ABTA websites. They also handed out “save the date” postcards to thirsty customers.

“We hope customers will attend the gala and contribute money,” said Molly. “But even if they don’t, we still raised money for a good cause.” She adds, “The best part was when people said, ‘Keep the change.’”

“Our favorite thing was making and selling the jelly, because we knew it was for good reason,” says Matthew, echoing his sister’s sense of purpose.

And what did Mom make of this venture? Brenda Dolan, who is on the Humor to Fight the Tumor committee, says, “Everyone involved in planning the event was touched by the kids’ commitment and their generosity. For kids, it’s really simple. They know some people are sick, and they know some money can help. As we head into our fifth year of Humor to Fight the tumor, we hope that spirit catches on.”

The annual Humor to Fight the Tumor gala will be held Saturday, September 27, at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis.

About Humor to Fight the Tumor

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. 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 American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). The gala event features silent and live auctions, live comedy, dinner, and stories of determination and courage by brain tumor survivors and honorees. For more information, visit


Angel Foundation Press Release

Angel Foundation Recognizes Five Shining Stars who Support Cancer Survivors and their Families.

July, 2006
Press Release

Brain tumors to not discriminate, anyone can be affected – the very young, those in their prime, seniors, male, female – anyone!
American Brain Tumor Association Fellowships
In honor of
Joelle Syverson
In gratitude for support and encouragement or our research programs, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has awarded three Research Fellowships to the following doctors in honor of Joelle Syverson of Minnetonka.

Luni Emdad, PhD at Columbia University
Christopher Farrell, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital
Janine Lupo, PhD at the University of California San Francisco

These coveted peer-reviewed, two-year awards help to ensure a continuum of dedicated, well-trained brain tumor researchers. Criteria for award selection include the quality of the applicant, the quality of the training program, and the proposed research.

The Association also provides free patient education and resource information to help brain tumor patients and their families understand this disease and learn about available treatment options.

For more information, call 800-866-2282 or visit the ABTA website at