The Cure Starts Now

International Cancer Consortium Adds Cincinnati Expert


Brooke Desserich, Co-Founder and CEO of The Cure Starts Now Foundation was named as the official Patient Advocate for the Steering Committee for CONNECT Consortium as well as a member of the International Patient and Parent Advocacy Committee.  She brings over 15 years of experience with support to over 700 cancer families and development of The Cure Starts Now, a leading world-wide brain tumor research foundation.  A passionate advocate for collaboration and innovative research, she and her efforts have resulted in the founding support for CONNECT, delivering trials to five countries.

"On behalf of CONNECT, we express our sincere gratitude to Brooke Desserich for serving on our newly established international patient and parent advocacy committee, which will provide critically important input for the development, design, and conduct of our early phase clinical trials. We are so grateful to have Brooke's unique voice and perspective as a parent to inform concept selection, protocol writing, and consent language. As we expand our CONNECT trials globally, it is essential we place critical issues regarding quality of life, access and equity to trials at the forefront of the challenges we are addressing in our trials. We can only do this by listening to, understanding and acting on the truly diverse, global yet unique perspectives of patient and parent advocates, like Brooke, who make up this international committee." - Dr. Maryam Fouladi, Chair, CONNECT Consortium | Professor co-executive director of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital


CONNECT Consortium is a cutting edge, international collaborative network of world class pediatric cancer centers focused on improving outcomes for children newly-diagnosed with high risk brain tumors such as DIPG and DMG. CONNECT represents a revolutionary approach to cancer research as they conduct small pilot studies to assess feasibility and efficacy of promising new therapies. This approach fills the gap between other larger pediatric cancer groups looking at novel agents independently or national consortia trials which require enormous amounts of time and extensive research. The Cure Starts Now helped in the formation of CONNECT and has provided the operational seed funding to create this one of a kind consortium with a donation of over $2.7 million.

The concept of CONNECT was born out of the understanding that families, whose children have been diagnosed with brain cancers like DIPG or Medulloblastoma, do not have the benefit of time to wait for the typical research trial cycle. Instead CONNECT understands we must find innovative ways to accelerate the process and to these families desperate for a cure. I am honored to be selected to represent the family perspective on these committees. Brooke Desserich, Co-Founder & CEO of The Cure Starts Now

Brooke’s journey began as a mother of a child diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma back in 2007.  Her efforts since then have touched and benefitted thousands of families who have and continue to battle pediatric brain cancer.  She has been recognized nationally as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities, one of the highest honors for philanthropic work in the world.   Her professionalism, entrepreneurial spirit and passion will surely add to the impact of the CONNECT consortium.

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The Cure Starts Now was started in honor of 6-year-old Elena Desserich, a Cincinnati girl who battled a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer known as DIPG. Today, The Cure Starts Now Foundation has over 41 chapters in three countries and is the only cancer foundation dedicated to finding the Homerun Cure™ for cancer by focusing on one of the rarest, most aggressive forms of cancer. Believing in more than just awareness, The Cure Starts Now, run by cancer families, has funded over $30 million in cancer research and support in conjunction with over 27 DIPG Collaborative partners and 700+ supporting families.  Research results include over 132 cutting edge research grants in 17 countries since 2007.