Bequest honors memory of compassionate teen and a promise to help others

Zachary Carson was just 17 years old when he was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an extremely rare and inoperable brain tumor. Despite this shocking and scary diagnosis, Zach remained optimistic, and galvanized his family into action to raise funds for DIPG research.

“It was important for us to remain hopeful and do something for Zachary and other children who would be diagnosed in the future,” said Roberta Carson, Zach’s mother. “Zachary was very enthusiastic about fundraising.”

Zach and his family planned fundraising events and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in just two years to support DIPG research at Dana-Farber’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Center. Before he passed away after a valiant 27-month battle, Zach asked Roberta to promise to continue fundraising to help children with DIPG. Roberta and her husband, Paul, have made it their mission to honor that promise, and they established the Zachary Carson Brain Tumor Fund in his memory.

In addition, Roberta and Paul will pay tribute to Zach’s kind and thoughtful legacy with a generous bequest to Dana-Farber in their estate plans.

“There is no better way to honor the memory of a loved one than through a bequest,” said Roberta. “I think you can find a balance between honoring someone through a cause close to your heart and still taking care of your heirs. It does not have to be all or nothing, and every gift is meaningful.”

Even thought he knew a cure would not come soon enough for him, Zach wanted Roberta, Paul, and his brother, Jacob, to continued moving Dana-Farber’s mission forward. The Carsons’ bequest will do this by providing vital funding for the progressive research Zach hoped would lead to a cure.

“Bequests are important because they allow Dana-Farber to count on future funding and they are an affirmation of donors’ faith in the institution,” said Roberta. “Our bequest is a meaningful way to fulfill our promise to Zach, honor someone we love, and support a great institution with cutting-edge research and treatment.”

Jennifer Skala Bodio
Assistant Director, Development Communications