Media Contacts: 
Alysse Normoyle, (360) 701-9918,
Cas Johnson-Villalobos, (360) 742-0736,

What is the Peterson Family Foundation?

The Peterson Family Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeks to treat the whole child with an integrative approach to pediatric healthcare. The foundation supports music therapy programs and medical research in childhood leukemia in children’s hospitals in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, as well as nationally and internationally.

Why Music Therapy?

Music therapy uses the physical, emotional, mental, aesthetic and spiritual facets of music to help people improve their overall health. This type of treatment helps reduce a patient’s pain, offers them the ability to express themselves without words and facilitates relaxation through singing, playing instruments, writing songs or listening to music.

How Does Music Therapy Hospitalized Children?

Music therapy is proven to:

  • Promote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Help express difficult feelings
  • Enhance memory
  • Improve communication
  • Promote physical rehabilitation

Find out more about the benefits of music therapy here.

The Peterson Family Foundation’s Support of Childhood Leukemia and Other Causes

Since 2003, The Peterson Foundation has worked to help families and children struggling with prolonged hospital stays, uncertain diagnoses and long-term healing. This focus was a priority for the Peterson family from the beginning, as the Foundation was created following Eric Peterson’s childhood struggle with pediatric diabetes and leukemia and his mother’s tragic passing from mesothelioma lung cancer.

The foundation began by donating to medical research in pediatric diabetes, pediatric leukemia, thoracic oncology and general medicine at UCSF Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.

As the Peterson family spent more time visiting UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and seeking ways to facilitate patients’ healing, the organization’s focus moved toward music therapy to facilitate healing in those struggling with chronic and terminal illness.

The Peterson Family Foundation now focuses on both pediatric music therapy as well as research toward therapies for childhood leukemia through four University of California, San Francisco hospital programs. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, leukemia is the second most fatal form of cancer among pediatric patients, as well as the most common cancer diagnosed in children and adolescents. However, breakthroughs in cancer research since 1969 have resulted in a 78.6 percent increase in the survival rate for childhood leukemia.

As our video explains, experimental research into pediatric leukemia is currently underfunded, making the research supported by the Peterson Family Foundation even more important. The organization’s mission remains to heal the whole child through integrated therapies and groundbreaking research. Since its founding in 2003, the Peterson Foundation has now given over $4.5 million to the programs it has supported.

Which Organizations Does the Peterson Family Foundation Support?

With the Peterson Family Foundation’s support, the music therapy program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco increased from one full-time music therapist to three.

They provided start-up funding to bring music therapy to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and have created programs at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and the Great Ormond St. Children’s Hospital in London, England.

To date, more than 5,100 children have received music therapy because of the Peterson Family Foundation’s efforts. They look forward to helping many more hospitals create and expand their music therapy programs as well.

The Peterson Family Foundation currently supports the music therapy programs at these facilities:

The foundation currently supports these pediatric diabetes programs:

The Peterson Family Foundation also currently supports these lung cancer and leukemia programs:

Where Can Donations be Sent?

The Peterson Family Foundation greatly appreciates financial gifts that help support music therapy and leukemia research programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, as well as internationally.

Please mail your check or money order to:

John Brychel, CPA
12657 Alcosta Blvd., Suite 500
San Ramon CA 94583

Where Can I Find More Information?

More details about the Peterson Family Foundation, music therapy and current research can be found at

Why Was the Foundation Formed?

The Peterson Family Foundation was formed in 2003 after the passing of Karen Peterson, wife to Jeff and mother to twin boys, Kort and Eric. For 22 months Karen gracefully and valiantly battled lung cancer, while at the same time helping manage Eric’s diabetic leukemia. Thankfully, Eric fully recovered from his cancer.

Despite the enormously challenging yet rewarding years when Karen and Eric were sick, the Petersons met countless people full of knowledge, expertise, empathy and kindness. Prior to Karen’s passing, their family agreed they would do all they could to help these remarkable individuals and their organizations that are actively working to treat, and eventually cure, these life-threatening diseases.

Their primary mission is to seek out and support experts and institutions dedicated to enhancing and improving the lives of children and teens afflicted by life-threatening and life-long diseases.

Who is the President of the Foundation?

Jeffery Peterson, a native of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, heads the Peterson Family Foundation. His life took a dramatic turn when both of his twin boys, Eric and Kort, were diagnosed with childhood diabetes and Eric was also diagnosed with leukemia. Soon after, his wife, Karen, passed away from lung cancer. From these enormous challenges, Jeff’s life was propelled in a new direction. He became devoted to being a good father to Kort and Eric, who are now adults and living with diabetes. Jeff wished to honor his late wife and help others by founding the Peterson Family Foundation.