About the Event

Brain tumors are no laughing matter.. but sometimes laughter can be the best medicine.

After a pause in 2020, the No Laughing Matter fundraising gala returns on Friday, September 24th, at the New York Athletic Club (180 Central Park South). The theme for this year is "Hip Hop for Hope" as we welcome hilarious hip-hop improv troupe Freestyle Love Supreme to our laugh-out-loud lineup. Audience participation is encouraged for an interactive experience, and all ages are welcome.

This unique event is essential in supporting the important research of Drs. Jeffrey Greenfield and Mark Souweidane that is underway at Weill Cornell Medicine through the Children's Brain Tumor Project. Your support is critical to enabling this groundbreaking work toward improving outcomes for all children diagnosed with brain tumors. It is the support of our generous sponsors and ticket holders who bring HOPE to these children and their families.

Our Honorees

Tim and Barbara Michels

Inspired by their teen daughter, Sophie, our honorees Tim and Barbara Michels recently funded an endowed professorship in pediatric neurological surgery.

Diagnosed with a rare brain tumor at age 11, Sophie underwent a remarkable endoscopic surgical technique pioneered by Dr. Mark Souweidane, vice chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery; and director of pediatric neurosurgery, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Sophie has since been a patient of Dr. Souweidane and has had additional endoscopic surgeries with great success.

To honor Dr. Souweidane’s groundbreaking work, Sophie’s grateful parents, Tim and Barbara Michels, have pledged $3 million to endow the Michels Family Professorship in Pediatric Neurological Surgery. The endowment – the first in pediatric neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medicine – will help Dr. Souweidane innovate the promising field of endoscopic brain surgery.

“The generosity of the Michels family imparts an indelible mark on our program for children, who deserve the most innovative approaches to care for brain and spinal cord tumors,” Dr. Souweidane says. “This extraordinary gift will fuel creative pediatric brain tumor research at Weill Cornell Medicine, impacting the lives of countless families around the world.”

The Performers

Freestyle Love Supreme Academy is a hip-hop improv troupe founded by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale and a special Tony Award recipient in 2020. The talented cast is participating in “Hip Hop for Hope” to support children’s brain tumor research just before their long-awaited return to Broadway’s Booth Theatre on October 7.

This improv performance is interactive with the audience, so be prepared to participate in this hilarious show!

About the Beneficiary

The Children's Brain Tumor Project is a research initiative founded in 2012 by Drs Jeffrey Greenfield and Mark Souweidane at Weill Cornell Medicine. 

The mission of the Children's Brain Tumor Project is to improve the outcome for children with brain tumors by advancing scientific discovery and clinical research that focuses on targeted therapy, effective drug delivery, and low treatment-related toxicity. The Children’s Brain Tumor Project has a single goal: to bring hope to children and their families who are confronted with the diagnosis of a rare and often incurable brain tumor.

Rare pediatric brain tumors have been grossly neglected in the research landscape for years, and the Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell Medicine is emerging as the go-to research entity that has established a niche in developing new protocols for treating these children. We believe children from all over the world should have access to innovative options beginning with world-class, minimally invasive surgery, and extending into targeted treatment options centered on precision medicine and drug delivery approaches that would not otherwise be available to them.