“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” –John Lennon
When Adam Resnick, former Brooksville resident and graduate of Hernando High School, completed his training at the Department of Neuroscience at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, he was propelled by his dream to cure pediatric brain cancer.
Five years later, in a research lab across the street from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Resnick analyzes brain tumors, most of which were removed surgically by his colleague and friend, Dr. Phillip (Jay) Storm.
The blending of Adam Resnick, a Neuroscientist, and Jay Storm, a Neurosurgeon, is a unique partnership that was actually incepted at John Hopkins School of Medicine where the two met. Resnick was completing his training in neuroscience while Storm was doing his residency.
“By chance, we began to interact,” Resnick said.
At the end of his residency, Storm accepted a job at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as a brain surgeon. And the two parted.
“I was just finishing up my training at Hopkins when I got a call from Jay,” Resnick remembered. “He asked me what I thought about doing brain tumor research.”
Storm explained that CHOP was embarking on a revamped brain tumor research lab and there were funds available for a scientist. “I immediately thought of Adam,” he said. “I asked him if he’d be interested in working with me to build a brain tumor center.”
Resnick knew of CHOP’s prestigious ranking as one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals.
In fact, according to www.CHOP.edu, “Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shares the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals.”
And Resnick learned that CHOP had been making serious efforts toward reorganizing their brain tumor research program.
“They invested heavily in the infrastructure for determining the culprit and identifying the genetic basis of many brain tumors,” Resnick explained. “It ended up being a perfect fit to have collaboration between a basic scientist interested in the intricacy of how cells behave and a clinical neurosurgeon who deals with the patients.”
The rest, you might say, is history as the two integrated their specific skills, fueled by a common goal toward finding a cure for pediatric brain cancers. And the partnership has been an exceptional union, gaining momentum year after year.
The lab’s success, due in part to an outpouring of local donor support, has gained notoriety with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In fact, the Division of Neurosurgery, where Resnick and Storm perform miracles, is this year’s recipient of the hospital’s largest volunteer fundraising event.
The Daisy Day Campaign was started in 1953 by the Auxiliary of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has raised more than $13 million for the hospital since its inception. It began when volunteers stood on the streets of Philadelphia and handed out daisies for donations. It has since grown into an annual fundraising event, this year marking its 56th year.
To benefit from Daisy Day, each department at CHOP had to provide substantial donations from private means to even be considered. The event’s Honorary Co-Chairs; Helaine and Joseph Banner and Nancy and James Minnick, made the final decision.
Nancy Minnick said the board’s decision to support the Division of Neurology was particularly personal to her. Minnick’s daughter, Jennie, had a lesion removed by Jay Storm five years ago.
Jennie, who suffered a seizure on a ski slope in Colorado when she was 14, was diagnosed with a Cavernous Malformation in her brain. Cavernomas are linked to epilepsy and can be life threatening. Fortunately for the Minnicks, Jennie’s cavernoma was in a location that allowed Storm to safely remove the lesion and cure the seizure.
“No matter how good the scenario,” Minnick said, “it is still life-altering.” The Minnicks, who live in Philadelphia, knew of the reputation of CHOP. “We were lucky,” she added. “Not everyone has the best possible hospital in their backyard.”
The experience impassioned the Minnicks to pay it forward by jumping behind the support of the neuroscience lab. Nancy and James Minnick were happy to chair a poker tournament in 2010 to benefit the Division of Neuroscience at CHOP.
“We became quiet convinced that these two guys are going to change the course of a lot of kids’ lives,” Minnick added.
The 2012 Daisy Day, which took place on May 3rd, was a gallant affair, combining an elegant luncheon and a prestigious fashion show, featuring designer Keren Craig Marchesa Fall 2012 Collection, and held at the Grand Ballroom of Philadelphia’s Hyatt at The Bellview.
The event broke records and raised more than $1.3 million to support Adam Resnick and Jay Storm’s brain tumor research efforts. It featured Storm as speaker and Resnick as a guest “model”, walking the runway alongside Jennie Minnick, attired in Saks Fifth Avenue clothing lines.
Adam Resnick grew up in Brooksville, attended Hernando High School and graduated as Valedictorian. By all accounts, he represents what makes a hometown hero.
His father, Peter Resnick, is Adam Resnick’s most pivotal supporter. The elder Resnick started a foundation, called Resnick Storm Labs, Neurosurgery, and began promoting the lab’s work to colleagues, friends, and customers.
Since its beginning, Resnick Storm Labs Neurology has raised well over $100.000, mostly from local Hernando County donors. That figure is in addition to the money raised through CHOP’s national advertising campaigns.
Facts don’t lie. And when presented to willing donors who recognize the importance of supporting one of their own, the interest only grew. Prominent members of the community have been more than willing to assist in furthering the life-saving research conducted at Resnick Storm Labs.
Joe Mason, whose family has been in Hernando County for five generations, has been donating to Resnick Storm Labs for about two years.
“I didn’t even know the research lab existed,” Mason said. Mason is a partner of McGee & Mason PA in Brooksville. “When Peter told me about his son’s lab and showed me some of the results, I was astounded. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty promising.”
Joe Lowman of the Lowman Law Firm paralleled Mason’s impression.
“I thought it made sense,” Lowman said. “It was something that was near and dear to Pete, and it was the kind of charity we like to donate to.”
The Lowmans are advocates for children’s charities and have donated to Shriners and St. Judes for years. Adding Resnick Storm Labs to the list was an easy decision, especially when given insight into its success in just five years.
But Anna Liisa and Tony Covell, also of Brooksville, might be the most dedicated donors for Resnic Storm Labs because they experienced the miracle first hand. Their young grandson, Benjamin, was diagnosed in December 2010 with Neoblastoma. He was just three months old.
Tony Covell’s friendship with Peter Resnick was the precursor that got Benjamin the best possible care from CHOP without ever stepping foot into the hospital.
“Within 30 minutes of getting the news about Benjamin, Peter was on the phone with Adam,” Anna Liisa Covell said.
Within 24 hours, Dr. John Maris, M.D., was in contact with the family. Maris is the director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and specializes in Neuroblastoma research.
Benjamin’s surgery to remove the tumor was performed at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. But Adam Resnick and Dr. John Maris were the family’s support throughout the process.
“They had an open door,” Covell said. “And they were there every step of the way. And they still are.”
Benjamin, now 19-months old, has received consistent evidence that his Neuroblastoma is in remission.
For Adam Resnick and Jay Storm, building the lab to its current status has been an amazing experience. “For us it’s been a phenomenal marriage,” Adam Resnick said. “It’s an authentic partnership that works.”
Jay Strom wrapped it up with a poignant thought. “The goal of our whole partnership is to put me out of business.”
For more information on the Daisy Day Campaign or how to donate to the Resnick Storm Lab, Neurosurgery, see www.daisydayluncheon.org or contact Pat Feeley at the CHOP Foundation, 267.426.6483 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Resnick Storm Labs, Neurosurgery
Kim Dame is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com.