- Posted Thursday November 20, 2008
Celebrities, bedding industry unite to fight nation's most deadly form of cancer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Nov. 20, 2008 - The Seena Magowitz Celebrity Golf Classic is expected to surpass the $1 million mark this year when the 6th annual fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research swings into action Dec. 5 and 6 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.
The star-studded event has collected more than $900,000 since 2003 when it started as a small charity by executives of the home furnishings industry.
That number should top $1.2 million this year, continuing to make it one of the nation's top fundraisers in pursuit of treatments and a cure for the cancer with the highest mortality rate.
Among the celebrities expected are: Brandon Webb, Cy Young winner and All-Star pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks; Stefanie Schaeffer, winner of The Apprentice; Gregory Itzin, 24; Rex Linn, CSI: Miami; and Christopher Rich, Reba.
Tournament proceeds will help fund pancreatic cancer research through the El Segundo, Calif.-based Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
The event, themed "An Industry Unites," is known for bringing together such rivals as Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Protect-A-Bed. Many executives have lost colleagues or family members to the disease and the industry has rallied around the cause. Despite a difficult economy, the event this year is expected to raise as much as $350,000.
Scottsdale resident Roger Magowitz began the tournament in honor of his mother, Seena, whom he lost to pancreatic cancer in 2001.
"Despite this perfect storm of an economic disaster, leaders from our industry are coming to this oasis in the desert to be part of something that is productive and to remember and honor those lost to this and other forms of cancer," said Roger Magowitz, co-founder of the event and President of Mattress Discounters in Virginia Beach, Va.
On Dec. 5, Roger Magowitz and co-founder Ray Bojanowski will welcome sponsors, celebrities and survivors, as well as present plaques and copies of The Last Lecture, a book by the late Dr. Randy Pausch, to corporate sponsors. Dr. Pausch was a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor who died of pancreatic cancer in July after delivering his now famous The Last Lecture speech about the importance of achieving childhood dreams.
Following the Dec. 6 tournament, Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, one of the world's leading authorities on pancreatic cancer, will discuss the progress being made against this disease and approaches underway throughout the world to improve the quality of life for those struggling with the disease.
"Discoveries directly follow funding and pancreatic cancer receives little in comparison to the percentage of lives it takes," said Dr. Von Hoff, M.D. F.A.C.P., Physician-in-Chief and Senior Investigator at TGen, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Tucson's Arizona Cancer Center.
Pancreatic cancer, the nation's fourth leading cause of cancer death, is the most lethal type of cancer, with a five-year mortality rate of 95 percent. Yet, less than 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute's federal research funding is dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.
"Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of just 5 percent. We urgently need funding for pancreatic cancer research to give patients a fighting chance," stated Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "Funds raised through events like this will help us advance research, which can lead to finding more effective treatment options and early detection methods." More than 37,000 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and nearly 33,000 will die.
If you go
What: Seena Magowitz Celebrity Golf Classic, one of the nation's largest fundraising events for pancreatic cancer research.
Where: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix, northwest of Scottsdale Road and Greenway Parkway.
When: Dec. 6 - Registration, 7:30 a.m.; Tournament start, 8:25 a.m.
Beneficiaries: The El Segundo, Calif.-based Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Details: Visit www.seenamagowitzcelebritygolfclassic.com; the TGen Foundation at www.helptgen.org; and www.pancan.org for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's current campaign: November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
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To set up interviews and photos with celebrities:
Catherine Sarreal, Stan Steinreich
For more information about pancreatic cancer research:
TGen Senior Science Writer