Lassiter family donates to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

The Children’s Difference Hits Home

After one of the Lassiter children needed advanced neurological care, the family committed to increasing their support.

A family committed to giving back to their community, the Lassiters were longtime supporters of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

They knew the value of quality pediatric care. But they never depended on it—until 7-year-old Ethan was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Rich, Ethan’s dad and an emergency department doctor, noticed their son was experiencing an early onset of puberty, which he explains is very unusual for a child that age. After having an MRI at Children’s, Ethan’s doctors discovered a brain tumor.

Ethan had a brain biopsy, and then started weekly chemotherapy treatments shortly thereafter. “He was in a constant state of fatigue, mentally and emotionally,” Ethan’s mom, Carrie, recalls. “He was always happy and in good spirits, knowing what he had to do, but you could tell he had this layer of exhaustion.”

While Ethan was being treated at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s, his parents launched a fundraising campaign, #TeamEthanGray. They sold T-shirts in support of the center’s Patient Family Assistance Fund, which supports families with children undergoing procedures and treatment for childhood cancer and blood disorders. The campaign raised nearly $12,000.

After 50 weeks of treatments, Ethan completed his final round of chemotherapy in 2018. “He’s happier. His energy is back,” Carrie says. “We have another son, Tyler, and they are playing again. It’s just been really awesome since he stopped chemotherapy.”

Funding the future of pediatric neurological care
Although the T-shirt campaign came to a close when Ethan completed chemotherapy, the Lassiters wanted to do something even more substantial to show their immense gratitude to Children’s.

Together with Ethan’s grandparents, E.G. and Marianne Lassiter, Rich and Carrie committed a major gift in 2018 to establish the Lassiter Family Innovation Fund for Brain Tumor Research. This fund will be used for practical research on inoperable brain tumors, with a specific focus on low-grade glioma outcomes and survivorship. 

"Children’s leads the largest Brain Tumor Program in the country,” Rich explains. “They are uniquely positioned to do this type of research based on volume. We want to help support Children’s neuro-oncology research in a way that will positively impact the quality of life of patients.”

"We ended up creating very close relationships with the people in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation who supported us throughout Ethan’s treatment,” Carrie adds. “They have really held our hands through setting up this fund. We want to invest in a place where children are actually being treated.”

We’re here when you need us
Children’s is a not-for-profit hospital, so every gift we receive—no matter how big or small—brings us closer to our goal of providing the most advanced pediatric care available. We hope for the day when the treatments and procedures we provide will become unnecessary and obsolete. We look forward to a time when families like the Lassiters don’t have to realize the value of Children’s by experiencing it firsthand. Until that time, we’ll keep striving to deliver our very best to the kids who need us most. 

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aflac cancer and blood disorders center doctor conducting research

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