The Giorgio Children’s Foundation Raises Over $200,000 During “An Evening to End NF1” Annual Fundraiser Country singer/songwriter Josh Gallagher named as the foundation’s Goodwill Ambassador

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The Blair County Convention Center was the setting for this year’s “An Evening to End NF1” fundraiser for The Giorgio Children’s Foundation ( The foundation raised $217,020 during the event, every dollar of which will go directly toward NF1 research, specifically for a treatment or cure for dermal neurofibromas (tumors). Also making this a memorable night was the introduction of renowned country singer/songwriter Josh Gallagher as the foundation’s Goodwill Ambassador.

Josh Gallagher - Goodwill Ambassador
Josh Gallagher – Goodwill Ambassador

“I couldn’t be more thrilled about the results of our fundraiser,” says Erin Borzellino, “and I’m equally enthusiastic about welcoming Josh Gallagher into our lives as the Goodwill Ambassador for The Giorgio Children’s Foundation. He earned the admiration of millions of viewers on ‘The Voice’ while turning in one fantastic performance after another. I look forward to the great advocacy work Josh will be doing on the foundation’s behalf.”

In June 2016, Gallagher auditioned for “The Voice,” NBC’s massively popular singing competition, joining approximately 43,000 other hopefuls across the nation. He not only made the cut — he eventually made his way into the final four contestants. In the process, he became a fan favorite owing not only to his songwriting abilities, but also his warm and relatable persona. Adam Levine and guest coach Garth Brooks both had high praise for Gallagher’s efforts after he finished in fourth place on the program; his remarkable success on “The Voice” gave him all the encouragement he needed to pursue his dream of a music career.

A native of Pennsylvania, Gallagher now calls Nashville home as he works to build his music career and give back to the fans who supported him on “The Voice.” In the Music City, Gallagher performs regularly at many of the city’s popular venues, including the Country Music Hall of Fame. To date, he has released two acoustic CDs and is now in the process of putting together a debut album.

In addition to a performance by Gallagher, “An Evening to End NF1” also featured the a cappella talents of “Pittch Please,” the University of Pittsburgh’s award-winning ensemble.  By every measure, the night was a resounding success. Now, The Giorgio Children’s Foundation’s mission is to continue working to build awareness and fund important research.

About 1 in 3,000 children will be diagnosed with NF1. However, awareness of the condition is surprisingly low, which is why enlisting the support of public figures like Gallagher is so vital. NF1 is the result of a single defective gene that controls tumor growth, resulting in the development of tumors on and throughout the body in affected individuals.

About The Giorgio Children’s Foundation for NF1

The Giorgio Children’s Foundation was established in 2013 to fund research into a cure for NF1, specifically dermal neurofibromas. The foundation’s mission is to enhance understanding of this condition and empower focused research into treatments and cures for NF1.

How is the Dermal Neurofibroma Consortium studying tumors? observing the tumor microenvironment in mice and petri dishes…

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With support from The Giorgio Foundation, scientists have isolated dermal tumors in mice and in petri dishes.  They determined that these tumors require peripheral nerves to grow.  Understanding the tumor microenvironment and the early stages of tumor growth is the most important first step to recognizing therapies.

Dig into the science in this article in Oncotarget Journal:

Giorgio Foundation’s Research Consortium Published in Oncology Times

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The “Dream Team” of NF1 researchers working with The Giorgio Foundation, Dr. David H. Gutmann, Dr. Lu Q. Le, and Dr. Robert A. Kesterson recently published a piece entitled “Defining the Research Landscape for Dermal Neurofibromas” in Oncology Times on Sept 26, 2016.

This piece summarizes some of the specific areas of research the NF1 Dermal Neurofibroma Consortium of these three doctors and their respective labs will be exploring in the coming years.  The Giorgio Foundation is proud to be the sole source of funding for this cutting-edge research to find answers for some of the least understood aspects of NF1.

Giorgio Foundation Announces Formation of NF1 Dermal Neurofibroma Consortium

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The Giorgio Foundation is a nonprofit foundation created to fund research for a cure for NF1 – a type of Neurofibromatosis. NF1 affects about 1 in 3,000 and is typically diagnosed in early childhood. NF1 disables the gene that normally controls tumor growth. The result is hundreds or even thousands of painful and disfiguring tumors on the skin, in nerve tissue, and throughout the body.

All NF1 patients fear the more rare life-threatening complications, such as tumors in the brain and spinal cord, or malignancies.

However, more than 80% of NF1 patients will have life-altering complications, the most prevalent being disfiguring skin tumors (dermal neurofibromas).

These tumors have a dramatic impact on employment, social interactions and quality of life.

Many millions of dollars are being dedicated already to researching the dangerous malignant and plexiform tumors, but there has been virtually no research into dermal neurofibromas.

In order to make an impact on quality of life for the largest population of NF1 patients, the Foundation teamed up with doctors at these Universities to form:

The Giorgio Foundation NF1 Dermal Neurofibroma Consortium

Washington University

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD Director, Neurofibromatosis Center Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurology

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Lu Q. Le, MD, PhD Associate Professor

University of Alabama, Birmingham

Robert Kesterson, PhD Professor, Department of Genetics Director, Transgenic & Genetically Engineered Models (TGEMS)


  • The research team will use what is already known about dermal neurofibromas to develop in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (mouse) models with NF1.
  • Once dermal neurofibromas have been established in these models, they will be analyzed to determine what factors influence their growth (or in some cases what influences a certain type of NF1 gene mutation to NOT develop dermal neurofibromas).
  • The ultimate goal of this analysis is to determine factors that could be relevant to new treatments.

Project Phases

Phase 1: Creation of the in vitro (cell) and in vivo (mouse) models

Phase 2: Analysis:

  • What is causing the tumors to grow?
  • Why, in some cases, do tumors not develop at all?

Phase 3: Preclinical therapeutic drug studies

Medical Research Grants

The Giorgio Foundation has issued $280,000 in grants to these Universities to initiate medical research. The 4 year plan is a total commitment of $1,280,000.


The NF1 Dermal Neurofibroma Consortium is comprised of an outstanding team of investigators with a strong history of collaborative research and a collective experience with the translation of pre-clinical findings, to clinical practice.

This program represents the first focused dermal neurofibroma initiative which aims to develop one-of-a-kind resources for the NF1 community and facilitate the discovery of promising dermal neurofibroma drug treatments.

It is also anticipated that this initiative will provide critical platforms to evaluate other therapeutic strategies, as well as generate new genetic models useful for studying other important NF1-associated clinical features and life-altering physical conditions.

The Giorgio Foundation receives 501(c)3 non-profit status

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After some period of waiting, we are proud to announce that as of May 13, 2014, The Giorgio Foundation has received 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue service!

Needless to say, this is a significant and necessary step forward for the Foundation and being able to secure donations to fuel clinical research of neurofibromatosis.  We hope you will consider giving to this worthy cause, and know that 100% of your donation will go directly to the research of NF1.

Time for our annual Evening to End NF1 on November 5, 2022  Get Tickets