About BMF page


The Brian Morden Foundation was created to honor Brian, a courageous 19 year old, who battled Ewing's Sarcoma for more than two years. He lost the battle on February 15, 2003, but his family, friends, and many others who only knew Brian by reputation have vowed to continue the fight against this horrible disease.

The foundation has three goals:

  • Fund Ewing's Sarcoma and childhood cancer research.
  • Support patients, family, and staff of pediatric oncology units*
  • Provide funding for "Brian Morden Memorial" higher education scholarships

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The Brian Morden Foundation and countless others are grieving the deaths of another one of our “BMF kids,” Kiera N. Chirdon, and Brian’s PopPop, Robert M. Suckling, who was the wind beneath many of our wings. Kiera was courageous in her battle against cancer and PopPop helped his grandson Brian and so many others in their fight against this horrendous disease.

Both will be missed immeasurably.


In Memory of Robert M.  Suckling
Feb. 27, 1932 – June 13, 2017

Robert McCleary Suckling, 85, formerly of Altoona, passed away Tuesday afternoon in Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg.

He was born in Hollidaysburg, son of the late Melvin E. and Rosanna B. (McCleary) Suckling. On Feb. 12, 1956, he married MaryLou Morris in Williamsport.

Surviving are his wife, MaryLou of Mechanicsburg; four children: Dawn Morden of Altoona, Kevin (Louise) Suckling of Altoona, Scott (Lori) Suckling of Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y., and Lisa (Paul) Cronin of Harrisburg; five grandchildren: Jamin Morden, Nicole (Nemo) Ashong, Chelsea Cronin, Matthew Suckling and Kayleigh Suckling; a great-granddaughter, Aubree Cronin Washington; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a grandson, Brian Morden; and a sister, Margaret Meadows.

Robert was a 1949 graduate of Hollidaysburg High School. He attended Penn State Altoona and, in 1955, he received a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He was a retired captain of the U.S. Army, where he was a photo interpreter and involved in military intelligence.

He became a registered architect in Pennsylvania in 1961, Maryland in 1973, New York in 1973, Ohio in 1973, West Virginia in 1973, Kentucky in 1978, Virginia in 1982 and North Carolina in 1992. In 1973, he also became a certificate holder with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

From 1957-61, he worked as a designer and job captain for Hayes Large Architects (Hunter, Campbell and Rea, Architects); designer and job captain for Nicholas J. Fiore, AIA, Altoona (1961-62); designer and project manager for N. Grant Nicklas, AIA, Altoona (1962-64); project architect for Pietrolungo and Kimball, Architects & Engineers, Ebensburg (1964-66); project coordinator, specification writer and project manager for Hayes, Large, Suckling, Fruth and Wedge Architects (Campbell, Rea, Hayes and Large Architects) in Altoona, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh (1966-74); and from 1974 until his retirement in December 1994, he was partner of Hayes Large Architects (formerly Hayes, Large, Suckling, Fruth and Wedge Architects) in Altoona, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

From 1961 until the present, he was an AIA member emeritus of the American Institute of Architects and on the Accessibility Advisory Board with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

His past professional affiliations included: the Council of Educational Facility Planners, where he was an international board member; Pennsylvania Society of Architects Central Pennsylvania Chapter/AIA, where he was a past officer; Pennsylvania Society of Architects Middle Pennsylvania Chapter/AIA, where he was president; Mount Aloysius College, where he was vice chairman and a member of the board of trustees; National Fire Protection Association Architects/Engineers and Building Code Officials and Health Care Sections; American Association of Hospital Planning; Society of Fire Protection Engineers; Pennsylvania School Board Association, where he was chairman and a service associate member of the advisory council; and Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he was a member of the advisory committee on school construction.

Robert was a member of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg from 2004 until the present; St. Timothy Church, Camp Hill; Juniata Lodge No. 282; Free and Accepted Masons, Hollidaysburg; Mount Moriah Royal Arch Chapter No. 166, Hollidaysburg; Mountain Commandery No. 10 Knights Templar, Altoona; and Jaffa Shrine Temple, Altoona. He was also a member of Hollidaysburg Chapter No. 471 Order of the Eastern Star, where he was a worthy patron from 1997 to 2007; Pennsylvania Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, where he was grand sentinel from 2002-03; a library volunteer and member of the model railroad club at Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg; and a plural member of Astro Chapter No. 380, Berlin.

Additionally, he was a former member and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Altoona from 1973 to 2004; a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Hollidaysburg; council president of First Lutheran Church, Altoona, from 1984-85; a life member, past president and gift shop volunteer for Altoona Hospital Auxiliary; a member of Altoona-Blair County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where he was chairman for the 1986 Annual Dinner; a member of the Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce; a 12-year member of Altoona Area School District Instrumental Music Parents Association Executive Committee; a neighborhood commissioner for Boy Scouts of America; a member of the executive board of Camp Sequanota; a member of the Private Industry Council of Blair County; a member of the board of directors at Allegheny Lutheran Home; and a member of Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity.

Robert’s extensive traveling took him to the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China and Hong Kong, Egypt, Mexico, Australia, Tahiti, Greece, Aruba, Granada, Barbados, Martinique, Curacao, Puerto Rico, the Canary Islands, Spain, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Chile, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Hawaii, Venezuela, the Panama Canal Zone, Alaska, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Sweden and Russia.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 19, 2017, at Duncansville Evangelical Lutheran Church, where a funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Pastor Jaime Olson and Vicar Amanda McCaffery officiating. Interment will be at Presbyterian Cemetery, Hollidaysburg. Arrangements are by Plank, Stitt & Stevens Funeral Home, 421 Montgomery St., Hollidaysburg.

The family asks that donations in memory of Robert be made to the Brian Morden Foundation, 2809 Columbia Drive, Altoona, PA 16602.


In Memory of Kiera N. Chirdon
October 22, 2000 – June 17, 2017

Kiera N. Chirdon, 16, Altoona, went to be with the Lord on Saturday after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born in Altoona, daughter of Daniel B. Chirdon and Danielle R. Thomas.

Surviving are her parents; her stepmother, Nicole A. Chirdon; a brother, Silas Chirdon; a sister, Mira Moore; her grandparents: Robert and Cathy Chirdon and David and Corinda Thomas; her stepgrandmother, Gladys Schor; her great-grandparents, Bennie and Patricia Plunket; and many special aunts, uncles and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her great-grandparents, Anna and Joseph Chirdon; and a stepgrandfather, Michael Schor.

Kiera recently had completed her 10th grade year as an honor roll student at Altoona Area High School. She loved music, especially playing the violin in the school orchestra, and enjoyed singing, dancing and attending Wehnwood Music Camp. Kiera was very adventurous and loved to kayak. She was a Junior Ambassador for The Griffith Family Foundation.

Kiera was very strong in her faith. She was a member of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Church, where she played the violin in the choir.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 22, 2017, at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Church. Committal will be at Grandview Cemetery.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Griffith Family Foundation, 309 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg, PA 16648, or The Brian Morden Foundation, care of Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, 1330 11th Ave., Altoona, PA 16601.

Kiera stood up to cancer with grace, courage, and spirit. Fighting alongside her were her loving family, friends, and PopPop who was a wonderful supporter of the Brian Morden Foundation ... from being on the first board, to donating money for a scholarship every year with his wife, to helping out at as many events as possible, to always being willing to listen to Brian’s mom talk about "our kids," to his final wish to help the BMF through donations in his memory. PopPop will be wearing a Brian's legacy gold ribbon pin forever and hopefully Briney will know what good work we're doing here to continue his fight against childhood cancer.

In the final analysis neither cancer nor death won the battle against Kiera or PopPop. We look forward to the day when we will see them again and hope at that time we can tell them there is no more cancer on Earth. <3


















































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Brian Morden Memorial Scholarship
Congratulations to Kyle Siskron

Thanks Grammy and PopPop for your yearly birthday gift to Brian
and the BMF, ensuring that we will be able to award
a Brian Morden Memorial Scholarship.

Thank you to those who organized and participated
in the Erin Dodson Scholarship Fund Basket Raffle in September 2016
and others who have generously given
so that we will be able to award
additional scholarships this year.

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February 15, 2017 - Remembering Brian, his life, and those he loved
                        who continue to support local children with cancer,
                        pediatric oncology units at PA Children's Hospitals,
                        award higher education scholarships,
                        and fund promising research studies through
                        The Brian Morden Foundation.

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The Brian Morden Foundation and Alex's Lemonade Stand
Team Up to Fund Childhood Cancer Research

February 15, 2016
13 years after Brian passed away from Ewing’s Sarcoma, cancer has not won the battle. Brian’s legacy continues through the lives of many others. The Brian Morden Foundation is excited and grateful to be able to announce a partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Initially, we will be helping to fund a promising research study by John Bushweller, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Cancer WILL NOT win.

For more information, please see the press release.

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BMF 2016 Collage

November/December Holiday Newsletter

August 2016 Newsletter

Happy New Year 2016 Newsletter

BMF Newsletter - Season's Greetings 2015

October's Newsletter 2015

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Brian
Brian in 1984
January 10, 1984


Please sign our guestbook to help us celebrate his life.

Free Guestbook from Bravenet

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YOU can make a difference
in the lives of the innocent children and families
who have to suffer with this horrendous disease.

Some suggestions from the Brian Morden Foundation:
  • Send cards to children with cancer. Contact the BMF for addresses.
  • Donate to the Brian Morden Foundation through our website.
    You will be helping to fight back against childhood cancer.
  • Adopt "Issy" to send to a childhood cancer patient, give to a loved one, or keep for yourself.

  • Help Issy spread the word about the need for childhood cancer research!
  • Support the BMF through the purchase of an ornament or other merchandise
  • Attend any upcoming BMF event!

Please see our National Childhood Cancer Awareness page to find out more.

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*Brian was lovingly cared for at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, the initial focus of the second BMF goal. We still plan to contribute in important ways to the oncology unit there, however, we have expanded our outreach with Brian Baskets and "Issy" bears, sending them to other pediatric cancer patients especially to those in the Altoona Area, Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Geisinger, Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where some of our area children are being treated. We have also tried to brighten up the day for some children from the Ewing's Sarcoma list serv. If you know a child with cancer who could use a "pick-me-up," please contact us at fdj@brianmordenfoundation.org. We hope to be able to help as many pediatric oncology patients as possible.

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Join our mailing list for newsletters and other updates.

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Contact The Brian Morden Foundation at dbjmorden@brianmordenfoundation.org

last updated 6/21/17