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About the Jimmy Fund

Sidney Farber and Jimmy statue

The Jimmy Fund, established in Boston in 1948, is comprised of community-based fundraising events and other programs that, solely and directly, benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. The generosity of millions of people in Boston and around the world has helped the Jimmy Fund save countless lives and reduce the burden of cancer for patients and families worldwide.

The story of the Jimmy Fund is one of grassroots involvement — of thousands of people organizing bake sales, lemonade stands, runs, walks, golf tournaments, dances, and softball games to bring together their community and raise money for cancer research and care.

The Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Pan-Mass Challenge, and the Variety Children's Charity of New England, and it benefits from hundreds of events across the country, including these signature programs and events:


In 1948, the Jimmy Fund was launched with the help of the Variety Club of New England. The club organized a radio broadcast from the bedside of a young cancer patient, dubbed "Jimmy," as he was visited by members of the Boston Braves baseball team. Since then, the Jimmy Fund/Variety Children’s Charity Theater Collections have produced a series of short films that serve as movie trailers, inspiring movie-goers throughout the decades to learn about the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber and to give generously.

Who was Jimmy?

Jimmy's story began in 1948 when Dr. Sidney Farber's 12-year-old lymphoma patient, Einar Gustafson — the original "Jimmy" — was an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people. Dubbed "Jimmy" to protect his identity, Gustafson was selected to speak on Ralph Edwards' national radio program, "Truth or Consequences," which was broadcast from the boy's hospital room on May 22, 1948.

During the broadcast, Edwards spoke to the young cancer patient from his Hollywood studio as Boston Braves baseball players, Gustafson’s favorite, surprised him with a visit to his hospital room. The show ended with a plea for listeners to make donations, so Jimmy could get his own TV set to watch his beloved Braves play. Not only did he get his wish, but more than $200,000 was collected and the Jimmy Fund was born.

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