Kahn family honors Beth Kahn by 'planting seeds' for brain cancer research

Beth Kahn

By Meredith Diers

Champions of gratitude and giving, members of the Beth and Gary Kahn Family have created and encouraged several new research funds that are enabling further understanding and treatment of brain cancer – specifically glioblastoma – at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Beth Kahn was diagnosed with glioblastoma in May 2013. Just as she had always lived her life, first as a student and later as a teacher, Mrs. Kahn continued her passion for the encouragement of learning by establishing the David Lee Frankfurt Family Fund for Brain Cancer Research with her husband, Gary. The fund has raised more than $110,000 in support of the glioblastoma research of Dr. Robert Bachoo, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Elizabeth Maher, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics. 

“As all who knew Mrs. Kahn saw, she had a tremendous gift for planting seeds,” noted Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation

“Beth’s remarkable vision allowed her many times to see the possibilities in a person or a situation before others could see them. In studying and then supporting this important research, Beth saw an opportunity to help advance breakthroughs in the treatment of brain cancer, far beyond herself,” Ms. Gibson said. “The opportunity to help others gave Beth great joy.” 

Later, as a tribute and in gratitude for Mrs. Kahn’s exceptional treatment, her mother, Ethel Zale, created the Ethel and Eugene Zale Family Fund for Brain Cancer Research, which has received contributions totaling more than $100,000. 

Lauren Rosenbloom, Mrs. Kahn’s daughter, said, “My mom was especially thankful that we had world-class research and clinical care offered in our backyard – in Dallas. Here’s an incredible woman fighting for her life and at the forefront of what she’s thankful for is UT Southwestern.” 

In anticipation of Mrs. Kahn’s 60th birthday and their gratitude that she was able to mark this special milestone, her family established the Beth F. Kahn Roots & Wings Fund for Brain Cancer Research to raise $60,000. Mrs. Kahn’s two children, Lauren and Michael, named the fund in tribute to their mother’s passion for teaching core values and principles (Roots) and instilling the confidence to chase dreams (Wings). To date, the fund has raised $150,000. 

Mrs. Kahn passed away Jan. 17, 2016.

Inspired by his mother’s gratitude for the care she received at UT Southwestern and her passion for her entire care team, Michael Kahn helped found The Cary Council, named after the late Dr. Edward H. Cary, one of the primary founders of Southwestern Medical Foundation and Southwestern Medical College, known today as UT Southwestern. The group is made up of visionary young leaders who have the desire to further the support and strengthen the impact of the Foundation and UT Southwestern, especially in backing early career researchers. 

“We are tremendously grateful to the Kahn family for the indelible mark they have made on the Medical Center, particularly in the area of glioblastoma research,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Providing hope to others, the fund they created to honor Beth’s memory is making it possible for UT Southwestern researchers to find potential new approaches to blocking growth of these deadly tumors.” 

“My mom led by example, living a life of meaning and purpose, celebrating small victories, and deeply appreciating the preciousness of each moment. She understood that the most important qualities are those you cannot measure and quantify with statistics – qualities like faith, love, and especially hope,” said Michael Kahn. Her hope was rewarded. Months before she passed away, Mrs. Kahn embraced her first grandchild, William, the son of Michael and his wife, Alex. 

“I’m so thankful to the doctors at UT Southwestern,” said Michael Kahn, “for making that meeting possible.” 

Dr. Bachoo holds the Miller Family Professorship in Neuro-Oncology.

Dr. Maher holds the Theodore H.Strauss Professorship in Neuro-Oncology.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.