Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund have long been connected with baseball. So it’s only fitting that the new statues of Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, and 12-year-old Einar Gustafson, one of his early patients, reflect this historic relationship.
Gustafson of New Sweden, Maine, was the young cancer patient who helped launch the Jimmy Fund. In a national radio broadcast in 1948, Gustafson – dubbed “Jimmy” to protect his privacy – was visited in the hospital by members of the Boston Braves baseball team as listeners were encouraged to champion the fight against cancer. The statues on Jimmy Fund Way in Boston were created by Brian Hanlon; they show “Jimmy” in his authentic Boston Braves uniform and cap given to him by the team.
Long-time Dana-Farber supporter James “Jim” Vinick commissioned the statues to celebrate Dana-Farber’s rich history, and to preserve the story of how a young patient’s love for baseball helped launched a fundraising movement.
Vinick’s son, Jeffrey, and daughter, Beth, were both pediatric patients at Dana-Farber. Jeffrey passed away, but Beth was successfully treated for a brain tumor when she was 12, the same age as Gustafson in the statues.