Ollie's Journey: From Diagnosis to Inspiration

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In the words of Rachel Krieger, Co-founder of Ollie's Orchestra, "Ollie taught me to reprioritize everything. The focus should be on love, understanding, and kindness." Together, Ollie's Orchestra and CBTN harmonize their efforts to create a brighter future for children affected by brain tumors.

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In April 2019, Ollie's life took an unexpected turn when he began experiencing symptoms which led to a devastating diagnosis of a brain tumor. Rachel, Ollie's mother, vividly recalls the whirlwind of emotions and the urgent brain surgery that followed, revealing the aggressive nature of the tumor—ATRT.

Forever changed by their son's journey, Rachel Krieger and Max Horn embarked on a challenging yet transformative experience, seeking treatment at Boston Children's Hospital. It was here that music emerged as a powerful source of solace and healing for Ollie and his family. The music therapist introduced an ocean drum—something that made Ollie smile for the first time in days. This magical moment sparked an idea by Rachel’s sister in-law: what if musicians could visit the hospital to play for Ollie during his chemotherapy sessions?

The impact was profound. The music not only lit up Ollie's eyes but also provided a sense of calm amidst the chaos of treatment. After losing the ability to open his mouth and make sounds, music reengaged him, offering moments of joy and respite even in the face of adversity. Soon, the oncology floor became a gathering place, as patients and families alike found comfort in the melodies that filled the air. And Ollie found great solace in musical instruments that were gifted to him by the musicians.

Fast forward to 2021, Ollie's journey took a miraculous turn. The tumors, once malignant, had been stabilized—a sign that sparked the inception of Ollie's Orchestra. Founded with a mission to bring music to children facing cancer diagnoses, Ollie's Orchestra provides instruments, music education, and support to families navigating the challenges of pediatric cancer.

Central to Ollie's Orchestra's mission is advocacy and support for pediatric cancer research. Rachel emphasizes the importance of collaboration and data-driven approaches in accelerating progress in the field. That's where the partnership with CBTN comes into play.

Introducing Our First CBTN Champion

As the first-ever CBTN Champion, Ollie's Orchestra sets a precedent for a new level of partnership within the Children's Brain Tumor Network. The CBTN Champion tier signifies a deep commitment to the mission and values of CBTN, embodying the spirit of partnership, advocacy, and innovation in the fight against pediatric brain tumors. As a CBTN Champion, Ollie's Orchestra not only has our gratitude for their commitment but also serves as an inspiration and catalyst for change within the pediatric cancer research community.

CBTN shares Ollie's commitment to collaboration and data-driven research in the fight against pediatric brain tumors. By joining forces, the two organizations amplify impact and advance a shared mission of improving outcomes for children like Ollie.

Gerri Trooskin, Director of Partnerships at CBTN, underscores the significance of this partnership. "Ollie's Orchestra brings a unique perspective and unwavering dedication to our mission," Gerri notes. "Their focus on support for pediatric cancer research aligns perfectly with CBTN's values and goals."

But what exactly does this partnership entail? At its core, it's about leveraging collective expertise, resources, and networks to accelerate research, drive innovation, and ultimately, improve outcomes for children facing brain tumors. Together, Ollie's Orchestra and CBTN are committed to:

  • Accelerating Research: By facilitating data sharing and supporting collaborative research initiatives, Ollie's Orchestra and CBTN aim to accelerate the pace of discovery and develop targeted treatments for pediatric brain tumors.
  • Providing Support: Beyond research, Ollie's Orchestra and CBTN recognize the importance of providing holistic support to families navigating the challenges of pediatric cancer. Through education, advocacy, and access to resources, they aim to empower families and ensure no child fights alone.
  • Amplifying Impact: Together, Ollie's Orchestra and CBTN are greater than the sum of their parts. By amplifying their collective voices, mobilizing communities, and driving awareness, they strive to create a ripple effect of change that reaches far and wide.

Through their partnership with CBTN, Ollie's Orchestra gains access to a vast network of researchers, clinicians, and resources, furthering their mission to bring music to children facing cancer diagnoses. In return, CBTN benefits from the generous giving and advocacy of Ollie's Orchestra, enriching their collaborative efforts and bringing new perspectives to the table.

Beyond the partnership with CBTN, Ollie's Orchestra continues to spread joy and hope through music. From providing high-quality musical instruments and lessons, in-person performances to virtual rhythm circles, the foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every child facing cancer has access to the healing power of music.

As Rachel reflects on the road ahead, she shares her hopes for the future: "With CBTN by our side, we are empowered to dream bigger, fight harder, and never lose sight of our ultimate goal—a world where pediatric brain tumors are a thing of the past."

To learn more about the CBTN Champion giving tier, visit our webpage here.