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Who We Are
Our History

We Can was formed in 1996 by Gigi McMillan and Kathy Riley, two mothers whose children were in treatment for brain tumors. In an open letter to the community announcing the first meeting of the group, they wrote:

"... As you probably did, we staggered through the trauma of diagnosis and treatment and struggled to cope with the changes we saw in our children.  Though the medical care we received was excellent,
each of our families felt alone as we searched for answers to many important questions. We needed a place to share information about blood counts and central line care, nutrition during treatment, and the emotional impact of this illness on the other members of our families. We wondered what kind of lives our children could hope for after treatment, what long-term neurological side effects we could expect as they matured, and how we could best deal with those effects. Unfortunately, answers were frequently hard to find and we could identify no central source for the information we needed. We decided to launch this support network."

We Can grew from a small group of parents sponsored by a single hospital, to an independent organization serving the patients and families of medical centers throughout California.

In 2016, We Can became the California Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. This union leverages the strengths of both organizations -- PBTF's expertise in research funding and We Can's expertise in family support programming -- to better serve our kids, teens and familes.

Board of Trustees

  • Joyce Derrickson, RN, BSN, Neural Tumors Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Dan Gitlin, investment banking, Guggenheim Securities
  • John Y.H. Kim, MD, PhD, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center
  • Rosie Newton, Northern California representative, parent
  • Gary Painter, PhD, Professor; Director of Social Policy, Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, University of Southern California; bereaved parent
  • Thomas Parham, PhD, Professor, Chair, Cinematic Arts, Azusa Pacific University
  • Kathy Riley, Executive Director, Co-Founder of We Can
  • Doley Wegener, Telecare Corporation
  • Rose Wright, grants manager, Providence Health and Services Foundation
Emeritus Members

  • Gigi McMillan, Co-Founder of We Can
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
(c) 2016 PBTF.  All Rights Reserved