Gary Reece, President of Cancer League of Colorado

Gary Reece, President of Cancer League of Colorado


January 2017
(Click here to read the 2016 letter)

I hope that each of you had an enjoyable holiday season and a great start to 2017!

As we begin this new year, we will remember loved ones we have lost to cancer, while extending our deepest sympathies to their families and friends.  At the same time, we will keep in our thoughts and prayers those individuals close to us who are battling cancer.  Our dedication to protecting the ones we love from this dreaded disease fuels the passion we share for the mission of Cancer League – to find a means to cure or control cancer.

Gratitude for Continued Fundraising Successes

Two of our four major fundraising events for the current fiscal year already are in the books.   While no major fundraisers were held over the last three months, the financial support has continued to come in from many sources.  In this regard, I would like to express, on behalf of all of us, our most sincere appreciation to these donors, as well as everyone else who has contributed their time, talents and/or financial resources to the mission of Cancer League.

Over the last few months, we were the beneficiaries of several large grants, for which we are extremely grateful.  These grants included $2,500 from Joy and James Hoffman for Colorado Gives Day, as well as $15,000 from the Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation (thanks to Sandy and Elaine Wolf).  Also, just before Christmas, the JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation (Bill and Daniel Ficke and Big Bill’s Pizza) made a $30,000 grant to Cancer League, bringing total grants made over the last seven years by this organization in support of our mission to $255,000.

In addition to these grants, we have received $9,000 from the October Drink for Pink campaign, held at microbreweries across the Denver area for the benefit of Cancer League of Colorado by Alex Mozota and Jeremy DuVall.  We are very appreciative of their efforts and support.  We also received over $7,000 in connection with UBS Pink Week, thanks to the efforts of Jeff Nemechek, Scott Young and Cindy Hansen.  Finally, Brighton Park Meadows named Cancer League beneficiary for their October Power of Pink program, from which we received $2,500.

Magical Holiday Party

On December 2nd, we held our December General Meeting at the beautiful home of Rosalina and Richard Diecidue.  The holiday atmosphere, combined with the wonderful food donated by a number of caterers, the wide variety of vendors available for shopping, and the tremendous attendance by so many members and guests, contributed to a delightful and memorable experience for all who attended.  And the giving spirit kindled by this experience brought Cancer League more than $7,500 in proceeds from auctions, vendor sales and outright donations.  We express our sincere thanks to the Diecidues, the event chairs Lori Marks-Connors and Elise Marks-Gruitch, Tara Meekma and her group of dedicated volunteers, our caterers and vendors, Jay’s Valet for providing the valet services, as well as everyone else involved in making this one of our most successful December events ever.

Membership Night on February 23rd

We held our third annual Cancer League of Colorado Membership Night on a snowy February 23rd at Glenmoor Country Club.  This was a fun and informative event that enabled new and prospective members who braved the nasty weather to interact with current members, Corporate Advisory Board members and event chairs in learning about Cancer League and, in particular, opportunities to participate in, or volunteer for, each of our four major events.  We express our sincere appreciation to Elise Marks-Gruitch and Barbara Reece for organizing this event, Glenmoor Country Club for hosting the event, Tara Meekma and her fabulous group of volunteers for their efforts, and all of our event chairs, committee members and Board members who contributed to the success of this event.

Grants for Service and Clinical Trials Completed

Our Funds Allocation Committee (FAC) has been very active over the past several months preparing for the accumulation and review of research grant requests, as well as reviewing and assigning dollars to requested grants for qualified service organizations.  In anticipation of another strong fundraising year for Cancer League in 2016-2017, our FAC has recommended and our Board has approved the payment of a record $203,000 in grants to 33 different organizations that provide services to cancer patients and/or their families in the state of Colorado.  Research grant requests have been collected and are being reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).  Our FAC will be meeting with the SAB in late April to review these requests and develop recommendations for funding to the Board in May. You may recall that we funded $720,000 in research grants last year, and we hope to have the funds available to fund research grants of at least that magnitude again this year.

As we communicated to the membership throughout the first half of the current fiscal year, our Board has allocated up to $150,000 per year, beginning with our 2015-2016 fiscal year, to the funding of Phase 1 clinical trials, subject to review and approval of our FAC.  These clinical trial grants are in addition to the research grant funding discussed above.  I am excited to report that the first $150,000 has been allocated and will be fully funded in the near future for two Phase 1 clinical trials.  The first clinical trial grant funded by CLC was $50,000 for an advanced pancreatic cancer study to be conducted by Dr. Karyn A. Goodman.  The second grant will be $100,000 for a head and neck cancer clinical trial, subject to final Cancer Center approval.  The most fascinating aspect of this trial is that it resulted from the research performed under a seed grant that CLC had awarded to the same researcher in a prior year.  As a result, CLC has an opportunity to participate first-hand in the continued success of this research effort.

We look forward to an exciting year ahead for our organization as we set the stage for our four major fundraisers (see details on our website), including:

The Hope Ball, Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center – May 13, 2017

Golf Tournament, The Country Club at Castle Pines – June 26, 2017

Race 4 Research, Washington Park – August 20, 2017

Over the Edge, September 7-9, 2017

For the next several months, we will be concentrating our efforts on making the Hope Ball and our Golf Tournament the most successful events of their kind in our history as we pursue our goal for this fiscal year of raising $1.2 million to fund grants for cancer research and related patient services.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support!

With Dedication,

Gary Reece
President, Cancer League of Colorado