Guest blog: Cancer League of Colorado Celebrates Most Successful Fundraising Year in its History

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Gary Reece and Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD

More than $1 Million Dispersed to Cancer Researchers & Patient Support Groups in the State of Colorado in FY 2015

The Cancer League of Colorado presented Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, University of Colorado Cancer Center director, with a check for $690,000, the highlight of a record fundraising year for the all-volunteer nonprofit organization.

This substantial amount is in addition to $30,000 donated for cancer research at National Jewish Health; $178,500 that has been granted to 31 different organizations in Colorado that support cancer patients and their families; and $150,000 that has been committed to CU Cancer Center for investigator-initiated clinical trials to be launched in 2016. All told, the amount raised and granted or committed to cancer researchers and patient care organizations by Cancer League during the just-ended fiscal year is nearly $1.1 million.

“Cancer League is unlike any other nonprofit in the state, or possibly anywhere else in the country,” said Gary Reece, President at Cancer League of Colorado. “First off, our organization is 100% volunteer-run with no offices, so we have no overhead expenses to get in the way of good research. Every dollar that we raise through our events goes directly to our mission of finding a cure or a means to control cancer. Our Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of approximately 15 Colorado doctors and researchers who volunteer their time, carefully reviews each grant request we receive and recommends the most promising ones for funding at each grant cycle. As a result, many of the grants we fund lead to major grants from the NIH and other large grantors that have averaged more than 20 times the amount of our original grant, which significantly increases the impact of dollars donated to Cancer League.”

The total amount raised for CU Cancer Center this year – $840,000 – is slated to support research into all types of cancer. “We rely on the generosity of the Cancer League to advance cancer research for Coloradans and people worldwide,” according to Dr. Theodorescu. “This money will help our physician/scientists test ideas that may not get tested any other way. Gifts like this allow us to make discoveries that can lead to breakthroughs for cancer patients – there is nothing more satisfying.”

Reece added: “Cancer League has set fundraising records for each of the last five years. It’s important to thank and recognize our tremendous sponsors and supporters who have made this incredible achievement possible. We are entering a thrilling time in terms of breakthroughs on the research front, and we are proud to be part of it.”

Founded in 1969, Cancer League of Colorado is the fundraising leader for cancer research in the state of Colorado. Its partnership with the CU Cancer Center – a consortium of several research institutions throughout the state – also includes the Cancer League of Colorado Endowed Chair, established in 2015 and awarded to the director of pediatric neuro-oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH as a source of perpetual funding for a leading cancer scientist. Cancer League of Colorado has always been run entirely by volunteers, with membership dues offsetting costs of any minor expenses of running the organization. Cancer League’s mission is to secure the cure or control of cancer by raising funds to support innovative cancer research and cancer-related services in the state of Colorado.

Cancer League’s primary fundraisers for the current fiscal year are: 2

  • Race for Research, August 21, 2016 at Wash Park. Learn more and register here.
  • Over the Edge – September 8-10, 2016. Learn more and register here.
  • The Hope Ball, May 13, 2017
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Golf Tournament – June 26, 2017

    Visit: www.cancerleague.org for more information or to make a donation.

About the author: Taylor Abarca

Taylor Abarca (Bakemeyer) is the Social Media Web Specialist at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Contact her at Taylor.Bakemeyer [at] ucdenver.edu.

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