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The one hundred honoree: Michael J. Dunleavy Foundation

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Michael J. Dunleavy Foundation

Mass General Giving

In spring 2002, Michael Dunleavy came to MassGeneral Hospital for Children with a newly diagnosed brain tumor. He was a bright, funny eight year old with an entrepreneurial streak and ambitions to take over his dad’s construction business in a few years. Unfortunately, Michael’s tumor could not be resected. With no safe surgical option, he was treated aggressively with radiation and chemotherapy.

Within weeks, Michael resumed school, rollerblading and judo classes. And, wanting to help other children, he started a lemonade stand, enlisting his four younger siblings in raising money to “fight cancer.” Sadly, despite his brilliant smile, snappy wit and indomitable spirit, Michael succumbed to his illness just five months after his diagnosis.

Gerry and Toni Dunleavy embraced their son’s desire to help children with cancer. In 2003, they created the Michael Dunleavy Memorial Pediatric Brain Tumor Fund at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. They also established the Michael J. Dunleavy Foundation and a sister foundation in Ireland to support pediatric cancer research and treatment and assist young patients and their families.