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$1.5 million family gift strengthens support for leukemia, ovarian cancer research

Washington University School of Medicine

A $1.5 million gift to the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine will advance the pace of medical discovery by supporting leukemia and ovarian cancer research at the School of Medicine.

The gift from the Bryan Thomas Campbell Foundation, named in memory of a patient of John DiPersio, MD, PhD, came as a welcome surprise.

“I was speechless,” said DiPersio, the Virginia E. and Sam J. Golman Endowed Professor and chief of the Division of Oncology at the School of Medicine and deputy director of Siteman. “The Campbell foundation and family are to be commended. What a remarkable gift for future patients.”

In 2001, Bryan Thomas “Soupie” Campbell was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He passed away from graft-versus-host disease, a complication from a stem cell transplant, six years later. His family established the foundation to comfort patients and their families faced with extended medical stays and to fund leukemia research.

“Bryan had endless amounts of energy as a kid,” recalled his father, Tim Campbell. “As a parent, you never think your child will get sick. I was floored by the diagnosis. But Bryan never let it change who he was – always giving, always smiling. Even on the hardest of days he’d give the shirt off his back to someone in need. That’s really why this foundation was so important. In a way, it’s kept his generous spirit alive.”

To raise money for cancer research, the foundation sponsored golf tournaments in Bryan’s memory, and they were a family affair. Linda Campbell, Bryan’s mother, spearheaded events, using her planning skills as a school teacher in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. Tim serves as the foundation’s secretary and treasurer. Chrissy Kaltenbronn, their daughter and Bryan’s sister, is the foundation’s president.

“After Bryan’s death, our entire family was grieving and just looking for some good to do in the world,” Chrissy said. “I remember my mom stepping up to do anything needed to start the foundation – event coordination, paperwork management, golf coach and enthusiast at the tournaments, you name it. As an athlete herself, my mom too shared a zest for life like Bryan.”

Unfortunately, Linda also was diagnosed with cancer, of the ovaries. She passed away in 2011.

“Linda was such a special person,” said her doctor, Matthew Powell, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the School of Medicine and Siteman. “She served our community working as an elementary school teacher for over 18 years. I can only imagine the countless young lives she transformed and changed for the better. Now, with the family’s generous gift, we will be better positioned to discover more effective ways to treat the cancers that affected the Campbell family and to further impact the lives of patients.”

In Bryan and Linda’s honor, Washington University researchers at Siteman will use the foundation’s gift to establish blood and ovarian cancer research funds. This funding will  advance the search for therapies and create a lasting legacy for Bryan and Linda.

An additional $200,000 from the foundation will be used to establish two Bryan Thomas Campbell Foundation Endowed Lectureships, helping to disseminate new knowledge in hematological malignancy and ovarian cancer research. The blood cancer lectureship will support a speaker series on gene and cellular therapy that features local and national experts. Similarly, the ovarian cancer lectureship will amplify knowledge on ovarian cancer.

For Tim and Chrissy, the foundation’s gifts to Washington University and Siteman are a meaningful way to celebrate their loved ones.

“I hope this research leads to successful advancements in care for cancer patients like my mom and brother,” Chrissy said. “I know they would both be thrilled to help bring about a breakthrough in cancer treatments.”

Added Tim: “To our generous donors and friends, thank you. We are deeply humbled by all who contributed to the Bryan Campbell foundation’s philanthropic efforts. It is our hope this gift helps bring us one step closer to finding a cure.”

Chrissy and Tim extend a special thank-you to fellow board members, including Matthew Campbell, Bryan’s brother and the foundation’s vice president; Renae Campbell, Bryan’s sister-in-law; Kane Kaltenbronn, Bryan’s brother-in-law; and Bryan’s friends Tom Medder and Kris Eubank.

To learn about supporting Siteman, call 314-935-4725, or email [email protected]. To make a donation today, visit Siteman’s online giving page.