Rick and Shaye Sauers in 2005

Established in 1983 in Atlanta, GA, the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children (BTFC) was the first nonprofit organization in the United States to focus on pediatric brain tumor disease.

The mission of the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children is to provide financial assistance, social support, and information for families of children with brain and spinal cord tumors; fund research projects that improve treatment options and search for a cure; and raise public awareness of the disease and advocate on behalf of children who are affected. 

In the Beginning…

In June of 1980, Rick and Sheila Sauers' five-month-old daughter Shaye was diagnosed with a highly malignant brain tumor. Offered only a two percent chance of Shaye's long-term survival, Rick and Sheila began a relentless campaign seeking knowledge and treatment to save their child. They found that very little information was available on brain tumors in children and little research was being done. The overall message was that most children died from this disease.

Together with several other parents, the Sauers began a local parents' support group to offer comfort and support to each other. In 1983, Rick Sauers, Julia Hartman, and several other parents established the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children, Inc., as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help families like theirs and to educate the public.

Rick provided 23 years of service as a dedicated President and later Chairman of the Board. He currently serves as Chairman Emeritus in an advisory capacity. BTFC will forever be grateful to Rick for his wisdom and guidance and for his work in establishing the Foundation.


The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and small staff. In addition to year-round local metro-Atlanta events, the Foundation’s largest program, The Butterfly Fund, provides critical financial assistance for families throughout the southeast who are struggling with the effects of the disease on the family.  BTFC has assisted countless children and families and funded many research projects since 1983, making a major impact on the pediatric brain tumor community.