John Stamos, The Beach Boys and more raise $10.5 million for rare cancers
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center celebrated 80 years of Making Cancer History® at Toyota Center Thursday, March 24, 2022 to the sweet sounds of The Beach Boys and to the tune of more than $10.5 million raised to end cancer, surpassing an initial goal of $8 million.
The one-of-a-kind concert, emceed by actor John Stamos and including artists Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, The Commodores and Generation Radio (featuring Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and Jason Scheff of Chicago), was aimed at raising awareness and funds for rare cancers in support of the entertainers’ dear friend, rare cancer survivor Jeffrey Foskett, a vocalist, musician and arranger who earned his credentials performing pop classics with The Beach Boys, America and Jeff Beck.
A voice for MD Anderson
While touring with The Beach Boys in late 2018, Foskett began struggling to hit the notes that had been his livelihood for more than 40 years. In early 2019, he was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare malignancy. He received a grim prognosis at a California hospital before seeking a second opinion at MD Anderson, where a multidisciplinary team devised a treatment approach that reduced his cancer. Although he can no longer sing, Foskett now aims to use his voice for MD Anderson to raise awareness of the possibilities and opportunities for rare cancer survivors like himself.
“Where you go first matters. Had I come to MD Anderson first, I think I would still have a singing voice.” said Foskett. “Now I’m a voice for MD Anderson rather than the singer I once was. The institution and the people that serve here daily are a great blessing to Texas, the nation and the world. They are Making Cancer History.”
The 80th Anniversary Celebration Concert was the brainchild of Foskett who enlisted his friends and industry contacts to be a part of the evening’s entertainment.
“These people at MD Anderson really care about everybody, but they really care about our Jeff,” said Stamos. “I wished my mom was alive to come to MD Anderson. She died of cancer. My dad died of cancer. But I was just happy that my dear friend was there.”
Later in the evening, a group of MD Anderson faculty and employees who played critical roles in the institution’s COVID-19 response gathered on stage with Stamos and were recognized.
“As we reflect on 80 years of Making Cancer History, it is incredible to see the progress we have made in our mission to end cancer,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “Countless employees, donors and grateful patients have and will continue to play a pivotal role in advancing cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. We remain grateful, inspired and excited for the collective impact we will continue to make over the next 80 years and beyond.”
The evening ended with Stamos and Foskett taking the stage with The Beach Boys to sing hits such as Barbara Ann, Surfin’ USA and more. Before a final bow, Foskett presented Pisters with a special guitar, signed by all of the evening’s entertainers. Plans are underway to display the guitar at MD Anderson’s Faces of Philanthropy exhibit at the Texas Medical Center campus.
80 years of Making Cancer History®
Since opening its doors more than eight decades ago, MD Anderson has cared for hundreds of thousands of patients facing cancers both common and rare.
MD Anderson experts diagnose and treat 5,000 patients with rare cancers each year. The World Health Organization defines rare tumors as those occurring at a frequency below six cases per 100,000 individuals annually. But collectively, rare tumors account for 25% of all cancer cases and cancer deaths. MD Anderson provides care for such a high volume of patients that certain rare tumors are not rare.
The institution remains one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.