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The Power of the Third Party

By Victor Scott

From left, tournament volunteer Missy Maxwell, MD Anderson patient Cody Paul, volunteer Sandy Shaw and Paul’s cousin Ryan King take a break at the Legends of Friendswood fundraiser. Photo by Victor Scott.

Ever wonder if a $25 donation to that fun run really makes a difference? When the beneficiary is MD Anderson, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Bake sales, golf tournaments, motorcycle rides, art shows and other third party events across the nation, are an important part of the institution’s philanthropy.

Multimillion-dollar gifts are rare, says Patrick B. Mulvey, vice president for development at
MD Anderson. Most of
MD Anderson’s donations don’t attract headlines, but every gift matters in the fight against cancer.

From a cumulative perspective, the money third party events raise is substantial. During MD Anderson’s 2008-09 fiscal year, they generated more than $1.5 million.

Often these funds provide seed money for innovative research to find novel treatments for rare cancers that typically attract fewer federal research grants. Osteosarcoma, for example, is the most common bone tumor in children but is considered a rare childhood cancer and therefore fits in this underfunded category.

A number of third party events benefit osteosarcoma research at MD Anderson. Among events already held in 2010 and those coming up are the Mike Doiron Legends of Friendswood Golf Tournament, the Jori Zemel Children’s Bone Cancer Foundation Party With a Purpose and Haynie Spirit Galveston SeaWalk.

Eugenie S. Kleinerman, M.D., head of MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, leads a team of researchers focused on pediatric osteosarcoma. She knows firsthand how critical funding from third party events can be.

“These fundraising events provide seed money so we can generate the preliminary data that will help secure NCI grants to support this research,” says Kleinerman.

Third party events hold yet another lasting benefit: the hope for a world without cancer, reflected on the faces of the participants. Their inspiration offers a future of endless possibilities in the fight against cancer.

To learn about the logistics of hosting a third party event, contact the MD Anderson Development Office at 713-792-3450.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center