Milestones in the History of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund



Sidney Farber, MD, establishes the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, now Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, introducing the first research program in chemotherapy for children with cancer.


The Variety Club of New England organizes a radio broadcast from the bedside of a young lymphoma patient named "Jimmy" as he is visited by members of the Boston Braves baseball team, owned by Lou Perini. Contributions pour in to buy Jimmy a television set on which to watch the Braves, launching the Jimmy Fund.


75 Years. One Mission.

As we mark Dana-Farber's 75-year anniversary, we can take pride that we are anchored by the core principles of Sidney Farber's mission: To make scientific discoveries and turn them into life-saving treatments.




Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Children's Cancer Research Foundation, Inc.


Construction of the four-story Jimmy Fund Building in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area is completed. In 1958, the building is expanded to eight floors to house research facilities and is renamed the Jimmy Fund Research Laboratories.


The Boston Red Sox, thanks to team owners Tom and Jean Yawkey, designate the Jimmy Fund as the team's official charity when the Boston Braves move to Milwaukee.


The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association designates the Jimmy Fund as its official charity.



The Charles A. Dana Foundation makes the first of several major grants to the Children's Cancer Research Foundation.


The 1967 Red Sox "Impossible Dream Team" votes to give the Jimmy Fund a share of its winnings from the World Series.


The Institute's charter is expanded to provide services for both adults and children with cancer.



Dana-Farber receives federal designation as a regional comprehensive cancer center.

Drs. Emil Frei III and Stephen Sallan start the first in an ongoing series of clinical trials for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). These trials, now provided through the DFCI/ALL Consortium, dramatically improve treatment and play a key role in building toward today's cure rates of 85 to 90 percent.

Dr. Farber dies.


The Children's Cancer Research Foundation is renamed the Sidney Farber Cancer Center in honor of its founder. Two years later, the name is again modified, becoming the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute.


The all-volunteer Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is established to raise funds through special events, provide services to Institute patients and sponsor public education programs.


Drs. Emil Frei III and Norman Jaffe use pre-operative chemotherapy to facilitate the world's first limb-salvage surgeries by Dr. Hugh Watts for children with osteosarcoma. This leads to increased cure rates and improved quality of life.



Institute President Baruj Benacerraf, MD, receives the Nobel Prize for work that unveiled the genetic underpinnings of the human immune system.

The Pan-Mass Challenge is founded. This two-day, 192-mile Sturbridge-to-Provincetown ride has grown into the Jimmy Fund's single largest fundraising event.


The Sidney Farber Cancer Institute is renamed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in recognition of generous support from the Charles A. Dana Foundation. The new name honors industrialist Charles A. Dana, who shared Dr. Farber's conviction that there is "no such thing as a hopeless case."


As part of Dana-Farber's 40th anniversary, the first patient reunion is held, uniting cancer survivors and their families for a day of celebration and education.

The $7.5-million Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research is established with a challenge grant by Institute Trustees J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver to foster innovative research by the Institute's most talented researchers.


Two out of every three children who enter the Jimmy Fund Clinic are cured.

The Louis B. Mayer Research Laboratories are opened, providing state-of-the-art facilities to pursue answers to the many questions surrounding cancer.


Institute physicians, in conjunction with Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy and doctors from other U.S. cancer centers, collaborate with Russian cancer specialists to bring innovative cancer treatments to the Soviet Union.

The Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk is founded. The event unites thousands of walkers, sponsors, and volunteers to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.



The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is founded. This event, run in conjunction with the Boston Marathon®, supports the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.


Dana-Farber initiates the Women's Cancers Program to reduce the incidence of cancers in women, specifically breast cancer, lung cancer, and gynecological and reproductive cancers. A National Advisory Council of local and national leaders is formed to raise funds and public awareness of the program.

Dana-Farber establishes the High Risk Research Clinic, one of the nation's first genetic testing programs for members of families with an inherited susceptibility to cancer.


A chapel is dedicated at Dana-Farber, providing a spiritual sanctuary for patients, families and staff members.

The Jimmy Fund honors longtime supporter Ted Williams by forming the Ted Williams 406 Club, named after the former Red Sox slugger's 1941 batting average.


The Eleanor and Maxwell Blum Patient and Family Resource Center opens.

The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge passes the $1 million mark with 400 participants running in the 100th Boston Marathon.


The Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Research Laboratories, housed in a new 12-story building devoted to cancer research, are dedicated. The nearly 270,000-square-foot building provides space for more than 500 Dana-Farber researchers, state-of-the-art laboratories, an expanded library, parking and specialized research centers.

The Institute's Inpatient Hospital moves to its new location within Brigham and Women's Hospital. The Institute opens several floors of new clinics in the Dana building dedicated primarily to adult outpatient care.


Dana-Farber welcomes back the original "Jimmy," 62-year-old Carl Einar Gustafson, who, as a 12-year-old patient of Institute founder Sidney Farber, MD, helped launch the Jimmy Fund in 1948.

Dana-Farber opens its first on-site radiation therapy center, used primarily for patients being treated in the Gillette Center for Women's Cancers.

The Institute establishes the nation's first Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council. This Council has become a model for other centers to involve patients and their families in developing the highest standard of comprehensive and compassionate health care.


The Institute announces the formation of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, which places the Institute at the hub of cancer research within the Harvard medical community.



The Institute formalizes its 50-year-plus affiliation with Children's Hospital with the creation of Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Care.


Reflecting a focus on translational research, the Center for Experimental Medicine at Dana-Farber is established. The center coordinates the Institute's efforts to convert laboratory advances into better treatments for patients.


The Lance Armstrong Foundation Adult Survivorship Clinic opens with a focus on the needs of adult patients in the years after cancer treatment. Established with a grant from the foundation of champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the center is part of the Perini Family Survivors' Center at Dana-Farber.


In recognition of the excellence of Dana-Farber nursing care, the American Nurses Credentialing Center bestows Magnet designation on Dana-Farber. Considered the highest achievement in nursing care, the award makes Dana-Farber the fourth "Magnet" hospital in Massachusetts and one of only 150 worldwide.


In the largest single gift from an individual in Dana-Farber's history, longtime Institute trustees and benefactors Richard A. and Susan F. Smith pledge to make an unrestricted gift of $50 million to Dana-Farber, which enables the Institute to begin construction of a new center for cancer care and clinical research on Brookline Avenue.


Construction begins on the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center's second satellite outpatient clinic, located at Milford Regional Medical Center, 35 miles southwest of Boston. Opening in 2008, the two-story, 54,000-square-foot facility offers chemotherapy infusion, radiation therapy, and diagnostic imaging to adult cancer patients.


In December, Dana-Farber opens a new medical oncology outpatient unit in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The new unit, Dana-Farber/New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology, offers clinical trials, pain management and palliative care, genetic screening, a resource room, social work, nutritional counseling, and a survivorship program.


Advanced radiation therapy equipment that enables doctors to treat small tumors with an unprecedented degree of precision goes into clinical use at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The stereotactic body radiosurgery system combines the latest radiation-delivery machinery with imaging technology for mapping the exact contours and location of tumors within the body.


William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, Wins 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Read about Dr. Kaelin's award, his scientific discoveries, his reactions to winning the award, and much more.




Dana-Farber successfully completes the largest capital campaign in its history, raising $1.18 billion for cancer research and care, new technology, and construction of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care. The total makes Dana-Farber the first hospital in New England to set and reach the $1 billion mark in a capital campaign.

Surgeons at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center pioneer the use of robotic technology in laparoscopic surgery on women with endometrial cancer.


Dana-Farber officially dedicates the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, the Institute's new home for adult patient care and clinical research. The state-of-the-art facility, designed with extensive input from patients and their families, quickly wins plaudits from patients, staff, visitors, and the architectural community.


The Dana-Farber Community Cancer Center and Lawrence + Memorial Cancer Center break ground for a 47,000 square-foot clinical facility in Waterford, Conn. The $34.5 million cancer center, which will feature medical and radiation oncology programs, is slated to open September 2013.

Dana-Farber opens a community cancer clinic at the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston's Roxbury section. The clinic features exam rooms, large consult and meeting areas, and a patient resource room, and is believed to be the country's first dedicated oncology space in an inner-city clinic.

Officials including former President Bill Clinton inaugurate the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in northern Rwanda, a facility created through a collaborative effort by the Rwandan Ministry of Health, the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, Partners in Health, and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. The first facility to bring comprehensive cancer care to rural East Africa, the center will be visited by Dana-Farber nurse fellows, who will instruct local nurses in cancer care techniques.


The Dana-Farber community loses one of its most distinguished and influential figures with the death of Emil "Tom" Frei III, MD. Frei, 89 years old at the time of his passing, was Dana-Farber physician-in-chief from 1972 to 1985 and is known as the "father of combination chemotherapy" for demonstrating the effectiveness of multiple drug agents to treat cancer.


The Institute receives a $30 million gift from Albert A. Marcotte, PhD, which helps expand research and clinical facilities, and creates the Marcotte Center for Cancer Research at Dana-Farber.

The Institute announces two initiatives to expand its network of clinical care facilities in the region. The first is a partnership in which Dana-Farber will provide hematology and medical oncology care services at Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton. The second is the acquisition of Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology (CHO), the largest community-based cancer care program in New England. With the purchase, CHO is renamed Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care.


The first of a dozen Dana-Farber laboratories begin moving into the Longwood Center, a state-of-the-art research facility at the corner of Longwood and Brookline avenues.

After two and a half years of planning and preparation, the comprehensive electronic health and administrative record system Epic goes live at Dana-Farber and partnering Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plans call for the system to be implemented across the Partners HealthCare System by 2017.

The Molecular Cancer Imaging Facility opens on Dana-Farber’s Harbor Campus. The center houses a cyclotron that generates short-lived radioactive isotopes that enable researchers to study the behavior of anti-cancer drugs in the body without resorting to invasive procedures such as biopsies.


Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, an internationally recognized immunologist, is named the next president and CEO of Dana-Farber. The Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of the Medical College at Weill Cornell Medicine at the time of her selection, she previously headed one of the top immunology programs in the world at Harvard Medical School. Taking office in October, she becomes the Institute’s seventh president and the first woman to hold the position.

The Helen Gurley Brown Presidential Initiative at Dana-Farber kicks off with the naming of five pairs of female junior and senior faculty researchers. The initiative, named for the longtime editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, supports the research of young women scientists and expands mentoring opportunities for women scientific leaders. The senior researchers supervise the younger investigators in projects of particular scientific promise.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative welcomes two new members:
Stamford (Conn.) Hospital’s Carl & Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center joins the partnership in July, and Eastern Maine Medical Center Cancer Care at the Lafayette Cancer Center in Brewer, Maine, joins in November. The Institute further expands its reach by signing a letter of intent with Lifespan Health System to enter into a partnership in Rhode Island.


The Dana-Farber Community Care Collaborative welcomes two new members: Eastern Maine Medical Center Cancer Care at the Lafayette Cancer Center in Brewer, Maine; and UMass Medical Center in Worcester. Members of the collaborative provide direct care to patients while agreeing to standards and practices set by Dana-Farber for medical oncology care for adults.

The Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living moves into an expanded, dedicated space at the Institute. With the move, Dana-Farber becomes the first comprehensive cancer center in Boston such a broad selection of supportive services to patients.

Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center announces plans to routinely test patients' tumor tissue to determine whether the cancer is likely to respond to immunotherapies. The testing program, expected to begin in early 2018, will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will initially be offered to select patients in several Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center treatment centers.


The Connell and O'Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core Facility moves to new, larger quarters in the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Research Laboratories. The facility, where cell products for stem cell transplants, CAR T-cell therapies, and other novel treatments are produced, is designed and constructed to meet some of the most stringent standards for working with biological materials.

The Pan-Mass Challenge's 2018 contribution of $56 million is the largest gift Dana-Farber has ever received from an organization.


Construction begins on the Institute's new 140,000-square-foot clinical care facility in Chestnut Hill. The facility, an extension of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, will house 45 exam rooms and 60 infusion rooms, along with an imaging center, clinical laboratory, pharmacy, cafeteria, and resource center.

Dana-Farber opens the Center for the Prevention of Progression (CPOP), a first-of-its-kind clinic for patients with precursor conditions that may develop into a blood cancer such as leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, or multiple myeloma. The center provides patients with a roadmap for clinical care and monitoring, while aiding scientists in developing therapies to prevent precursor conditions from advancing.

Dana-Farber names Ildemaro Gonzalez its first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer. A native of Venezuela, Gonzalez is charged with creating an environment that respects the diversity of staff and patients.

Dana-Farber scientist William Kaelin Jr., MD, is named a co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research into the mechanism by which cells sense and adjust to varying levels of oxygen. His discoveries, and those of co-laureates Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Simenza, could lead to new therapeutics for a wide range of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, anemia, and macular degeneration.

Dana-Farber unveils new logos for the Institute and the Jimmy Fund, the first change in the Institute’s visual identity system since 1996. The new Dana-Farber logo, showing an interlocking “D” and “F,” conveys the intersection of care and research that distinguishes the Institute.



The newly launched Direct Connect program creates new opportunities for partnerships between Dana-Farber and companies throughout the region. Firms participating in the program offer employees enhanced access to oncology services and educational resources at the Institute.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley, a new facility with 24 exam rooms and 32 private infusion bays, opens. Uniting Dana-Farber’s physician practice sites in Lawrence and Methuen, Massachusetts, the facility gives patients access to many Dana-Farber clinical trials and support services such as genetic counseling, social work, and nutrition.

Richard A. Smith, Dana-Farber’s longest-serving trustee and, with his wife and children, its largest donor, dies at the age of 95. Smith’s legacy at Dana-Farber encompasses the Institute’s clinical and research programs, as well as many of its buildings and facilities.

Responding quickly to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dana-Farber adopts new procedures and policies to ensure that patients can continue to be treated safely at the Institute and that staff can continue to work safely. As a result of these efforts, clinical research stays largely on course at the Institute, with nearly all patients remaining on clinical trials and new patients continuing to enroll in trials. A shift to remote work for most non-clinical staff keeps Institute operations functioning.


In January, Dana-Farber - Chestnut Hill opens, providing the same world-class cancer care in its new 140,000-square-foot facility, and marking the Institute's largest clinical expansion since 2011. The facility, conceived as an extension of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care on the Institute’s Longwood campus, has 61 chemotherapy infusion chairs and 49 exam rooms. In addition to treatment services, the center offers clinical trials, genetic testing, a pharmacy, dietary guidance, consultations with social workers, supporting counseling, and other services.

For the 21st straight year, Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center is recognized as a Best Hospital for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center is ranked as the best hospital for cancer care in New England and #4 in the nation for 2021-22.

U.S. News & World Report names Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center the top pediatric cancer program in New England and #2 in the nation. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's has been recognized as one of the top three pediatric cancer centers in the U.S. each year since the rankings' inception, earning more #1 rankings than any other program.

Dana-Farber awards a total of $4 million to 12 community organizations in Greater Boston for projects working to ensure that all residents, particularly those at higher risk of cancer and other chronic conditions, have access to coordinated and equitable health services. Recipients of the Access to Services awards range from Project Bread to the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative to the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.

The Institute launches the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. The Dana-Farber Campaign seeks to raise $2 billion to accelerate the Institute’s priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise.


Dana-Farber launches a year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary. The anniversary will be marked by signage in the Longwood Medical Area, a dedicated web hub, social media content featuring important moments in the Institute's history, a workforce celebration, and a video project to capture thoughts and memories from Dana-Farber leaders, faculty, staff, and supporters.

The Institute begins offering CAR T-cell therapy to some adult patients on an outpatient basis. The program is a milestone for a form of treatment that became standard therapy just five years earlier.

Dana-Farber partners with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) as a member of the PICI network to study the tumor microenvironment and apply research discoveries to improve cancer immunotherapies.