Striving to Support World-Class Care in Neurosciences

Peter Carr is biking 5,000 miles across America to raise money for the Mayfield Education & Research Foundation. He is doing it in memory of his mother, Jenny Carr, who was treated at Mayfield Brain and Spine in Cincinnati for a cancerous brain tumor. Unfortunately, she passed away earlier this year from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most virulent brain cancers with no cure. Carr hopes the money he raises will enhance the research and development of treatments.

Dr. Vincent DiNapoli at Mayfield, who treated Jenny, was able to prolong her life for about a year and a half. During that precious time with her family, the former kindergarten teacher wrote a children’s book in honor of Dr. DiNapoli called “Vincent the Dragon Slayer.”

The 18-page story, illustrated by Ben Williams, is about a princess named Jenny whose castle is invaded by an evil dragon. The princess asked Dr. DiNapoli, “a great knight from the land of West Virginia,” to slay the dragon and fight for her, which is what Dr. DiNapoli did for Jenny.

During a seven-hour operation, Dr. DiNapoli removed the tumor without damaging critical brain functions that control talking and walking. Jenny then underwent radiation and chemotherapy. “It’s a difficult diagnosis to deal with,” Dr. DiNapoli says. “The surgery and radiation take over your life, at least for a short period of time.”

After Jenny recovered from her treatment, she felt good. In a two-page letter to Dr. DiNapoli at the end of her book, she wrote that the operation gave her an amazing gift. “It gave me extra time to spend with my family and friends. I can tell you, I didn’t waste that time.” She enjoyed Thanksgiving, two Christmases, a trip to Florida, a cruise and a few hundred simple but priceless days with her family.

Since Jenny was enthusiastic, positive and optimistic through the entire ordeal, her son wanted to honor her. An enthusiastic bicycle rider, Carr decided to ride from Maine to Los Angeles to raise money. He is blogging about his self-supported trip at

“This is a great thing Peter is doing in honor of his mother and for the community,” says Deborah Livingston, development director for Mayfield Education & Research Foundation. “He’s supporting a foundation that is focused on providing funding for promising research.”

The foundation’s objective is three-fold. It provides seed money for physicians and researchers who are developing innovative tools, technologies and procedures that improve patient care in the field of neuroscience. For example, the foundation may provide small amounts of money like $50,000 to a physician or researcher for small-scale studies with a promising concept that need additional help to pay for a graduate assistant, equipment or software necessary to build a case for a large grant from the government.

Last year, seed money helped researchers at the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurosurgery to gather the data needed to earn a $4.7 million grant from the Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program at the Department of Defense.

The grant will enable UC and five other institutions to use new monitoring techniques to study the wave of secondary injury that follows an initial blow to the head. Secondary injury occurs in the form of damaging, seizure-like waves that spread slowly through the brain following a traumatic brain injury. The team will investigate less invasive techniques to monitor these waves of electrical disturbance or “brain tsunamis.”

Secondly, it supports hands-on education of residents, fellows and physicians to guarantee that Cincinnati and the U.S. continue to lead the way in neuroscience. Finally, it supports education of patients and their families as they cope with their diagnosis and recovery, and provides community leadership in prevention, health and wellness.

“The mission of the foundation is a part of the soul and spirit of Mayfield,” said Dr. Andrew Ringer, a neurosurgeon and foundation board member. “We’ve always felt our mission is more than the delivery of excellent medical care, and the foundation is our way to support advances in neurosciences while attracting innovative intellectual property and ideas to the area.”

In March of this year, the Foundation launched the first Spark Grant, a new donor-driven program that provides seed funding for promising researchers. The $50,000 “Starr Family Spark Grant in ALS Research” has been awarded to John MacLennan, PhD, at the UC College of Medicine. Dr. MacLennan, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, submitted a proposal titled “Novel ALS Treatments Targeting Muscle Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor Signaling.”

The Mayfield Education & Research Foundation is located at 3825 Edwards Road, Suite 300, Cincinnati, OH 45209. For more information, call 513.569.5277, email or visit