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Unconventional fundraising idea rocks

Rod Ryan Show t-shirts sales benefit cancer research

Promise - Spring 2013

By Miriam Smith

Joe Dotterweich, Anthony Lucci Jr., M.D., and Rod Ryan in The Nellie B. Connally Breast Center. Photo by Miriam SmithRod Ryan, known as "the most dangerous man in Houston radio," has a softer side. The provocative radio host, alongside Joe Dotterweich, both natives of Buffalo, N.Y., have teamed up to support MD Anderson for the past four years. Dotterweich, owner and founder of Bull-Shirts, supplies the fundraising products, while Ryan promotes them to his many listeners on The Rod Ryan Show, which airs weekdays on Houston’s 94.5 The Buzz from 6 to 10 a.m.

Proceeds go to breast and prostate cancer research — breast cancer because it’s so widespread and prostate cancer for a more personal reason.

“I turned 40 and had an intimate visit with my doctor,” Ryan says. “After getting my first check and hearing the statistics about prostate cancer, it almost seemed ridiculous not to do something, knowing that we have so many male listeners.”

The team’s bold fundraising vehicle, “Boobs Rock” apparel for breast cancer awareness and “Kick Ass” gear for prostate cancer, was Ryan’s brainchild.

“We knew we needed more than just the Rod Ryan shirt with a pink logo, and we knew we could push things a little further since there’s a good underlying message to it,” Ryan says.

“We sell shirts to people from 15 to 85 years old. People connect with the message and want to help,” says Dotterweich.

Ryan and Dotterweich have donated $232,000 to MD Anderson since 2009, including their most recent contribution of $76,000 in 2012.

“It’s really a number that, through sales of T-shirts, is pretty amazing,” Dotterweich says. “Rod’s listeners are such great MD Anderson supporters.”

On air in December, Anthony Lucci Jr., M.D., thanks radio personality Rod Ryan, Bull-Shirts owner Joe Dotterweich and 94.5 The Buzz listeners for raising $76,000 in 2012 for breast and prostate cancer research at MD Anderson. Photo courtesy of The Rod Ryan ShowThe majority of the money raised supports the breast cancer research of Anthony Lucci Jr., M.D., professor, and Carolyn Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor, both in the Department of Surgical Oncology. Lucci appeared on The Rod Ryan Show in December, and Ryan and Dotterweich visited Lucci and Hall in January.

“When I talk to them, they give you hope that there may be a finish line,” Ryan says. “That’s why it’s a no-brainer that we continue with this funding.”

Ryan and Dotterweich have committed to supporting MD Anderson for at least another three years, with a goal of raising $100,000 in 2013.

"Team Lucci," from left: Josh Upshaw, Joe Dotterweich, Anthony Lucci Jr., M.D., Amber Anderson, Rod Ryan, Carolyn Hall, Ph.D., and Barbara Laubacher after touring the lab in The Nellie B. Connally Breast Center. Photo by Miriam Smith

Visit to learn more about Ryan and Dotterweich's fundraising efforts.

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