Mar 16, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

We invite you to join us in our annual Team Superman fundraiser for brain tumor research. Starting this year, we are supporting a new organization and a new event: the National Brain Tumor Society's (NBTS) Race for Hope 5K Walk/Run on Sunday morning, May 1.

We have shifted our support to NBTS because they have the resources to fund major, cutting-edge initiatives in both adult and pediatric brain tumor research, and we want our fundraising -- and your contributions -- to have the biggest bang for the buck. Last year, the Race for Hope attracted more than 10,000 participants and raised $2.3 million for brain tumor research.

Please click on the right-hand column to join us as a participant or donor. Our family has participated in the Race for Hope four years in a row. It's an exciting, well-organized event that goes down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, past some beautiful Washington landmarks. If you cannot make it to the event, we welcome a gift in any amount. Registration and donations are 100% tax-deductible.

To celebrate all our Team Superman friends and say thank you for your support, we plan to host a post-race celebration on Sunday evening after the event. Stay tuned for details!

Hope you will join us this year!
Jaime and Jon

Jul 8, 2010

What's New

It has been a great relief, over the past year, to feel like things are normal, boring even. From now on, in our lives, boring will ALWAYS be a welcome condition. And part of boring, for me anyway, is the luxury of not having any news to report. But, with our Team Superman/Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation fundraiser coming up in a few months, it feels like the opportune time for an update.

Matthew is coming off a successful year at Landmark College. Some students enter Landmark with the goal of pursuing a two year associates' degree, but Matthew's intent was to have a gap year, a cushion betwen high school and college. This turned out to be a productive move. He gained confidence living on his own, excelled academically, and became involved in campus life, (Student Government, jazz band, choir, etc.) Over winter break, Matthew filed applications with a short list of colleges and, after serious consideration made the decision to enroll at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, this fall. He plans to study either psychology or education.

Newly turned nineteen, Matthew has his first paying job this summer, working as a day camp counselor at the DC Jewish Community Center. He is also taking voice lessons, accumulating road hours toward his driver's license, and volunteering his time with the American Cancer Society, helping to launch a program which pairs high school students with teens who have just completed cancer treatment.

Like many of our friends whose children just went off to college, this was the year we adapted to being one family member down at home. Daniel did not always welcome the undivided scrutiny! He allocated his time among school, soccer, fencing, and "height development," which is another way of saying that he now looks down (literally and sometimes figuratively) on every member of the family except his dad, on whom he is gaining daily. Danny starts high school in the fall but at the moment is mainly concentrating on his upcoming trip to Nicaragua, where he will spend two weeks in the home of family friends hopefully practicing his Spanish.

The big news in our family is that Ali was married a couple of weeks ago to Mr. Chafic Maalouf, whom she has known for six years. The garden wedding was held in Assonet, Massachusetts, near the couple's home in Norwood, and attended mainly by family. Ali did a great job of planning the wedding down to the last detail. The boys were delighted to be included in the wedding party, and Jon beamed as proud father of the bride.

This summer has been graced not only by a wedding but also by the arrival of a new family member: little Liana Jade Doppmann, born to Jon's sister Ilene and her husband Greg. I flew to Tucson for a week, just after the birth, to help with the baby, cooking and chores. It felt like a sacred gift to be in the presence of this precious, long-awaited baby and her delighted parents.

Jon continues to work hard in the down economy, while I am spending more time on childhood cancer concerns. This year I am co-chairing the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation fall 5K, which has been renamed the CBTF Superheroes 5K Walk/Run/Kids' Run. The new name is partly a nod to the positive impact of Team Superman over the past few years, but is mainly a confirmation of what some of us know firsthand: fighting a brain tumor requires superhuman courage and resolve, and everyone in the fight is a hero.

We hope to see many of you at this year's event on Sunday, October 3. The 5K is moving to a convenient, new location: Meadowbrook Park/Candy Cane City, in Chevy Chase, MD. If you are on my mailing list, you should have already received an email with all the details, but just in case, here's the link to register online: . Sign up as a team member and choose "Superman" from the team drop-down menu.

Email or call if you have any questions!
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Take care,

May 20, 2010

Heads Up, Team Superman!

Please mark your calendars... join Team Superman in the fourth annual
Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation Superheroes 5K Walk/Run*

Sunday, October 3
Meadowbrook Park/Candy Cane City
Chevy Chase, Maryland*

*This year, the race has a new name and a new location,
but it's still for the same important cause:
to fund children's brain tumor research.

Look for our e-mails about online registration and fundraising.
Please forward this to anyone who might be interested.
Thank you for supporting our cause!

Sep 4, 2009

Join us on Sept. 13 - Walk-Ins Welcome!

Be a part of Team Superman on Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation "Stride for Life" 5K Walk/Run and Kids Fun Run!The 5K starts at 9 a.m. Check-in starts at 7:30.

The address is: 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, about seven miles west of Tyson’s Corner.Directions:From 270 - Take Beltway to VA-267 W - Dulles Toll Rd. After about 1.7 miles merge onto LEESBURG PIKE / VA-7 W via EXIT 16 toward LEESBURG. Travel on Rt. 7 for about five miles and turn left on Barron Cameron Road. At the second light turn left onto Lake Fairfax Drive. This road will lead you into the park. Look for signs leading to event site.

Park website:

Matthew Grossman, College Freshman

Last week, our family had an emotionally intense experience of the positive variety for once.

Like so many of our friends, we packed up the car with all manner of teen necessities, and drove many hours from home to deliver a child to college. But Matthew's route to college was, of course, anything but ordinary - and we were acutely aware of that.

For two days before school started, we had medical appointments in New Hampshire and Vermont, setting up a medical safety net, so that Matthew will hopefully have support nearby, in case he needs it. Around those visits, we explored Hanover and Brattleboro, and visited various local landmarks like the Cabot cheese creamery and the King Arthur Flour Factory Store. We had a lot of fun.

Our last night together in the hotel, Matthew sat on the bed and played his guitar. I asked him to play "Wonder Wall," by Oasis, a song he had sung many times in the hospital. The lyrics of that song always get to me:

"And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I
would like to say to you but I don't know how
Because maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you're my wonderwall"

Listening to him, I recalled all the times he'd sung that for the doctors, and I thought of all the doctors who'd treated Matthew over the years, who had been his "wonderwall." The next day, on the way to Landmark College, we stopped and bought a stack of postcards (Vermont apparently lends itself to scenic postcards), and Matthew signed them, and I tucked them into my purse for later.

We went through registration and move-in, transforming Matthew's tiny shoebox of a room into a homey space. The whole family chipped in, with Matthew directing. By the end, the room looked great.

From this...

To this...

By 12:30, we were done, with time to spare before lunch. So, Matthew, Jon & Danny fanned out across the lawn in front of Matthew's dorm, and started winging the Frisbee to each other, pulling other kids into the game. I sat and watched Matthew, blending in with the other college freshmen, and felt I was witnessing a miracle.

That evening, after we'd attended parent orientation sessions, and eaten two meals with Matthew in the dining hall, and said a mini goodbye, knowing we'd see him again the next day, we returned to the hotel. I pulled out the stack of postcards, addressed them to the various members of our medical team, and wrote the same note on each one: "Today, Matthew started at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Thank you for helping us reach this day."

Aug 9, 2009

It's That Time Again!

It's time for Team Superman's annual appearance in the "Stride for Life" 5k Walk/Run & Kids' Fun Run to benefit The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation

Sunday, Sept. 13, 9 AM
1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Lake Fairfax Park, Reston, Virginia
(close to Tyson's Corner, same location as before)

Please join our family and be a part of Team Superman this year!

For the third year in a row, we will meet at a beautiful park, on a (hopefully) sunny September Sunday, to celebrate life, support a worthwhile cause, stand with families like ours, whose lives have been changed by a childhood brain tumor, and honor those who tragically lost their struggle.

Brain tumors remain the deadliest form of childhood cancer, with 3,400 new cases diagnosed each year. More research is desperately needed to develop safer, more targeted and more effective treatments.

Since 2007, Team Superman has raised sufficient funds to support a two-year study that examines new approaches to treating recurrent mixed germ cell tumors of the brain, the very rare and difficult-to-treat diagnosis that Matthew faced. We plan to bring you a research update in the coming months.

In the meantime, please mark the morning of September 13 on your calendar and plan to join us. Whether you walk or run, it's a fun chance to exercise, see people you know, and come out for a great cause.

You may have already received a brochure/registration form in the mail. If not, click on the link at the top right corner of this site to download a copy in .pdf format. Advance registration ends September 1.

We look forward to seeing you!

Jaime, Jon, Matthew & Daniel

Aug 11, 2008

Team Superman Flies (Walks? Runs?) Again!

Last year, as you know, our goal was to fight back against the rare, malignant form of brain tumor that attacked our son. And, with your help, that’s what we did!

We collected over 400 donations and raised more than $50,000 for germ cell tumor research. In the spring, the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) issued a special call for germ cell tumor grants and is now providing major funding for a two year clinical study.

Thank you for supporting our cause and for helping us achieve our goal.

This year, we are asking only for your participation…!

This year, our goal is simply to gather together, celebrate life, and support the CBTF and other brain tumor families.

Please join our family at the 2008 CBTF Stride for Life/5K Walk/Run
Sunday September 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM
At Lake Fairfax Park, in Reston, Virginia (close to Tyson’s Corner; same location as last year, but different course)

Whether you’re a returning participant or joining us for the first time, we would love to see you!

You can register one of two ways:
1. Online at

2. Or print out the attached registration form, fill it out and mail it in.

On the registration, be sure to note you’re on TEAM SUPERMAN – so we can include you in our team mailings and in the T-shirt count!

Advance registration closes September 1.
If you have any questions, drop me an email.

Hope to see you there!

Jaime, Jon, Matthew & Daniel

Oct 9, 2007

Team Superman Soars!

“Team Superman” made a dramatic appearance at the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) 5K on Sunday, September 30. Our team numbered more than 150 and accounted for approximately half of the participants at the event. Moreover, we were highly visible in our brightly colored Team Superman T-shirts! It was a phenomenal day -- the weather was perfect, the trail through the woods was serene and beautiful, and we were incredibly grateful to be together. Special thanks to those of you who got up early on a Sunday morning to join us. Additional photos may be found at:

We thank all of you for generously supporting the cause of pediatric brain cancer and for helping us turn Team Superman into a reality. All of the money raised will be used to fund a study on germ cell tumors of the brain, Matthew's rare diagnosis. To date, we have raised over $40,000 -- more than twice our original goal! Thank you to all of you for making this possible.

With much gratitude,
Jaime, Jon, Matthew & Daniel

Sep 19, 2007

We're on Track... meet our goal - and surpass it!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has contributed to our campaign so far! Thanks to the generosity of so many, we whizzed past our initial goal of raising $20,000 and have set a new goal of $30,000, which will allow us to attract a stronger pool of proposals from major research institutions. If you'd like to donate, please go to our fundraising page at

If you are wavering about joining us for the 5K Walk/Run, there is still time to sign up. You can register in advance online at and walk-ins will also be accepted. The event will be held at Lake Fairfax Park, Reston. I visited the park today. It's a beautiful site, about 7 miles northwest of Tysons Corner Center (see sidebar, top right, for directions). We'll be following a circular route, and many of us (myself included) will be walking, not running. So there's no excuse for not coming out and joining us! If you register by September 20, you're guaranteed a really sharp looking Team Superman T-shirt. After that, I can't make any promises, but we'll do our best.

By the way, I've just learned that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which makes our campaign even more meaningful. The Conquer Childhood Cancer Act was introduced in both houses of Congress earlier this year with the aim of increasing federal cancer funding by $150 million over five years; however, the bill remains stalled. In the meantime, more than 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer annually and 1/4 of them lose the fight, not to mention those whose lives are irreparably altered. Brain tumors are the deadliest form of childhood cancer; yet, according to the Children's Oncology Group, the leading consortium of childhood cancer researchers, "survival rates for Central Nervous System (CNS) tumors have not seen a dramatic change across the board in the past twenty years." In my opinion, it's a national disgrace. But this is not the time or place...

A HUGE thank you to all of you who are supporting Team Superman with your contributions and/or with your participation in our upcoming event. We are overwhelmed by all of the support we've received and deeply grateful. We look forward to seeing you on the 30th!

Sep 3, 2007

Team Superman Soaring High

Thanks to all of you, Team Superman is off to a super start!
As we move into September, we are already at 40% of our goal - and we are tied for first place as the most popular fundraising page on the website. This is all fantastic!

There is still plenty of time to sign up for the 5K Walk/Run. The advance registration deadline is September 20. (You can still register after that, or even as as walk-in, but the fee is slightly higher.)

If you'd like to register, either email me for a brochure ( or download it at When you register, be sure to indicate that you are part of Team Superman AND please drop me an email as well, so that I can keep a running list of team members.

Please contact us if you have any questions - and thank you for your support!

Here are some recent photos:

Having a Blast at Ali's 25th

Woodneck Beach, the Kids' Favorite

Back to School, 6th and 11th Grades

Jul 8, 2007

What's New with Us?

Announcing Team Superman

During those many long months of struggling to get even one step ahead of Matthew's brain tumor, we could only dream of a time when we, as a family, might have an opportunity to strike back against this dreaded disease. Well, we feel that time has come...

We are excited to announce that we are organizing Team Superman (for the significance of this name, check out our 2/2/06 posting) to participate in the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation "Stride for Life 5K Walk/Run" on Sunday, September 30, in Reston, Virginia.

All proceeds raised by Team Superman will be used to fund a study on germ cell tumors of the central nervous system (Matthew's diagnosis). Research is seriously needed to fight this rare disease. One of the more horrific aspects of our ordeal was that, after Matthew failed his initial chemo protocol, there were no data to guide his treatment. Our goal is to raise sufficient funds to support one good study that will advance understanding of treatment options.

We will be sending out more info by email and mail in the next few weeks on how you can support Team Superman with your participation and/or donations. We would love to include everyone who reads our blog and might be interested in participating. If there's a chance I might not have your email and home address, please send this information to so that I can keep you in the loop.

Thank you in advance for supporting us in this effort!!!


... and a Long-Overdue Update

It's been a long while since I posted a family update. Now that we're back home and in a mostly normal routine, it's hard for me to know what and how much to post. (My thinking goes like this: If our lives are more or less similar to everyone else's lives at this point, why would anyone want to read about us?) Nevertheless, I run across a fair number of people who say to me (wistfully? reproachfully?): "You're not writing the blog anymore, and I miss it," and this gives me the encouragement to post this brief update of what's been happening in our lives over the past few months.

Family Trip to Utah

We had an awesome spring break trip to Utah for five days of skiing, followed by five days of touring the national parks.

For Matthew it was a sweet return to the sport he loves so much and a relief to find he had lost none of his skill or balance. Danny turned into a real skier on this trip, leaving me behind after the first day and heading off with Matthew & Jon for tougher trails. For the second half of the trip, we drove across much of Utah and hiked the gorgeous scenery of Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks. It was quite spectacular.

Matthew's Trip to Russia

Matthew had an amazing time in Moscow. He stayed with a most welcoming host family, met some fantastic people, saw many sights and took a ton of photos. His dominant impressions were 1) that Muscovites don't generally smile in public, and 2) that life in Moscow is very different from life back home. His best story involves how he and the host son, Daniel, talked their way into a disco, (despite not being old enough), using math skills to impress the bouncer into thinking they were college students. It's a lot more colorful the way Matthew tells it.

Race for Hope

The first weekend in May, our family, along with several friends, participated in the Brain Tumor Society Race for Hope 5K to support brain tumor research. This amazing event attracted more than 6,000 participants and raised over $1 million. At the check-in area we had the unexpected pleasure of running into both Matthew's neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins and our consulting neuro-oncologist from Children's National Medical Center. As the race started, it was uplifting to see Matthew among the large group of yellow-shirted survivors surging down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol building, as well as sobering to see how many lives are affected by this devastating disease.

School Year Round-Up

Well, without mincing words, the 10th grade school year was extremely tough: Matthew spent every ounce of energy and nearly every second of free time doing homework just to keep up with the workload - and he was still going to have to attend summer school this summer and next if he was going to graduate on time with his class.

On the sidelines, Jon & I were becoming more & more convinced that something "had to give." After getting loads of valuable input from friends and professionals (and friends who are professionals!), we sat down with school personnel and came up with a proposal to extend Matthew's high school term by one semester beyond 12th grade. The proposed plan permits Matthew to remain with his class while taking a reduced schedule over the next 2 1/2 years, have breathing room over the summer, and postpone SATs/college planning for another year. We are all pleased to have arrived at this option and hope that it will make our lives considerably less stressful!

Summer Plans

Summer has gotten off to an excellent start. Matthew is concentrating on fulfilling his high school community service requirement. He attended two weeks of community service camp downtown and is now working two afternoons a week as a youth counselor at The Children's Inn, with children who are receiving treatment at the NIH. He is also practicing with the swim team, working out with a trainer, playing guitar, and catching up with friends. He turned 16 last month, but so far has not pushed too hard on the driving front!

Danny (who has sprung up like a weed and is now practically my height) has been attending a very active day camp for the past three weeks (one week left to go), where they swim twice a day, play all kinds of sports (soccer, football, ultimate frisbee, etc.), go kayaking and horseback riding, do drama and art, and come home pleasantly exhausted.

In mid-July, both boys will head off to different sleepaway camps and Jon & I will fly up to Maine for a week of biking, kayaking, and hiking. Later in the summer, when the boys come home from camp, we hope to spend a week on Cape Cod visiting Jon's mom.

Hope you are having a good summer. We'll be in touch!