In an interview Thursday Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, “cancer has touched us all.” You can tell by the certainty in his voice how true it is for him. He is so very right isn’t he? Almost anyone you ask will tell you about someone they know who is fighting or has fought cancer. Either that or they have battled it first hand. We all care. It is close to all our hearts because it is our friends and family fighting these battles. We all want to see a cure in our lifetime. But what can be done to make it happen?
The biggest unmet need in cancer treatment today is a large-scale program dedicated to early detection of lethal cancers. Earlier detection leads to earlier treatment which will ultimately lead to cancer prevention.
Robin Roberts, who is seen as a beacon of hope and survival for many, having beat cancer herself, was the perfect person to interview Phil and Brian Druker, the director of the OHSU cancer institute, on Thursday morning.
They had a big announcement for the world regarding the Knight Cancer Challenge.
Full interview Here
What is the Knight Cancer Challenge? Two years ago Phil and his wife Penny challenged that if OHSU could raise $500 million, they would match it. It seemed like an almost unattainable goal. How could OHSU raise that much money?
Gifts came in from all parts of the community, snowballing into an unstoppable movement against cancer. People bonded together over the cause to fix what is broken in cancer care today, because in the fight against cancer we are all on the same side. Children held craft sales and collected cans, sending in shoe boxes of change. Local businesses and labor unions banned together sending in funds. The state of Oregon agreed to invest $200 million in OHSU facilities needed to support the building expansion.
As the goal came into view last week the Kuni Foundation stepped up to the challenge and gifted $5 million to the cause. The Kuni foundation is the largest share holder in Kuni Automotive. Since its founding in 2005, the Kuni Foundation has made grants totaling several million dollars to support the research of a number of “Kuni Scholars” working in leading cancer research hospitals in the Northwest, including OHSU. Kuni Scholars are carefully chosen by a scientific review panel, which works on behalf of the Foundation. One of OHSU’s most prolific cancer researchers, Dr. Joshi Alumkal, is a Kuni Scholar who is credited with making great strides in prostate cancer research. Thursday’s gift was a fitting tribute to the long-standing relationship between the two organizations, and a reflection of Kuni’s commitment to supporting OHSU’s work to find smarter, foolproof ways to detect cancer in the early stages.
On Thursday morning Phil and Brian announced on GMA that the goal had been met. OHSU had raised $508 million!!
The Kuni foundation’s gift in the final hours helped to tip the scales and reach the goal in an unprecedented 22 months! The Knight Cancer Challenge is now the largest successful fundraising challenge on record.
As promised Phil and Penny Knight matched the funds raising the total to ONE BILLION DOLLARS!
Dr. Brian Druker, aptly noted: “We will never forget those we have lost to this disease. This money is not a gift; it is an investment.”
The first step, fundraising, has been completed. Now its time for step two, the building process. What does that entail?
*Recruit 25 of the worlds top researchers
*Hire 225-275 scientists and physicians focused on the detection of cancer
*Build a state of the art cancer research facility & clinical trial center to break ground March 2016
We will attack cancer as aggressively as it attacks us.
We Will Win.