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President's Messages

Huntsman SportsFest and the Power of Uniting for a Shared Cause

July 10, 2023

Huntsman SportsFest reminded me of my first University of Utah football game. I was enthralled. There’s energy and strength in being united and having a common purpose. Football is one thing—cancer is entirely another. It demands the power of people coming together, and that power fuels hope. That’s what SportsFest is all about. On June 10, the energy was tangible, and the feelings were tender. And there’s no greater purpose than a cancer-free future.

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After 19 Years, I’m Retiring. Here’s How I Measure Success.

Dec 12, 2022

As the year comes to a close, we turn introspective and draw close to our loved ones. Loved ones include all of you—our loyal, generous supporters. I want to let you know of my decision to retire. For now, all that I might claim as an accomplishment is the collective work of everyone at the institute and foundation, and within our committed donor community. And that’s the point, isn’t it? We all have worked hard to establish something better than anyone could have accomplished alone.

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Mom’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis Sparks Researcher’s Passion

Oct 10, 2022

Katherine (K-T) Varley, PhD, was 15 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When doctors couldn’t answer all of her family’s questions, she wondered how something so important could be unknown. Now, Varley is a world-class expert expanding such knowledge. We’re incredibly grateful for her work to advance cancer screening and treatment—and for people like you who support her.

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A Warrior's Determination

Sep 16, 2022

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I have previously written about this particularly wrenching kind of cancer, but this firsthand account speaks to this tragedy far better. Thank you to the Brown family for courageously sharing their story.

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The Cancer Care Term Patients and Loved Ones Need to Know

Aug 15, 2022

In medical care and research, we hear a lot of seemingly incomprehensible terminology. There is one term, however, everyone needs to know. That term is National Cancer Institute–Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, or NCICCC. What does this label mean? It means that you are at a place that meets the most rigorous standards for researching, diagnosing, and treating cancer.

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Fundraising for Huntsman Cancer Institute: A Humanitarian’s Dream Job

Jul 08, 2022

In a guest message, Huntsman Cancer Foundation event coordinator Raegan Erickson, a self-professed humanitarian,  reflects on why she loves her job. Raegan works with the Huntsman Heroes running and cycling teams as they train for endurance events and raise funds to support Huntsman Cancer Institute's mission. As Heroes share their stories with Raegan, their "whys" become her own. Whether she's fundraising alongside a cancer survivor or handling a check from a rural Mountain West town, Reagan constantly finds herself inspired by you—our community of fellow humanitarians.

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How Your Donations Are the Keys in Our Ignition

Jun 13, 2022

I recently read a story about a Ukrainian family who escaped their besieged city thanks to someone who intentionally left the keys in an abandoned car. We are all the proverbial “keys left in the ignition” for someone who can use help right now. Like the war in Ukraine, cancer is often an urgent matter of life and death, and we are grateful for your impulse to help when tragedy strikes.

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Transforming Loss into Hope

Apr 11, 2022

In a guest message, Huntsman Cancer Foundation Major Gifts Officer Brad Bishop remembers his father, who passed away from prostate cancer. Shortly after Brad started here, he attended a Huntsman Cancer Institute seminar about a new treatment to help patients just like his late dad. Brad feels blessed to work with families who believe, like he does, in paying it forward and funding research that might help someone else’s father.

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Thank You, Utah Legislators, for Your Lifesaving Votes to Support a New Cyclotron

Mar 14, 2022

In 2004, Huntsman Cancer Institute introduced the first and still only cyclotron in the Mountain West. A cyclotron manufactures medical isotopes used to treat patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other devastating diseases. Our cyclotron is now 18 years old. The usual lifespan of this equipment is about 15 years. That is why I’ve dedicated this month’s message to thanking the Utah state legislators who voted to fund its replacement.

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Founded on Love and Optimism

Feb 07, 2022

When Jon and Karen Huntsman founded Huntsman Cancer Institute, it was an act of both love and optimism. They knew the people of Utah and the Mountain West deserved better care than what Jon was offered after his prostate cancer diagnosis. Now, Huntsman Cancer Institute offers state-of-the-art cancer research, technology, and clinical care, helping more patients survive this deadly disease. In turn, we feel the love from more than one million donors and hope you’ll continue to support us this year.

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How a Grandmother—Gone Too Soon from Cancer—Helped Future Patients through Her Passion for Genealogy

Jan 10, 2022

In a guest message, Huntsman Cancer Foundation Director of Integrated Communications Jacqueline Brakey remembers her beloved grandmother, Jean Funkhouser. Jean died in 1996, only six months after a brain cancer diagnosis. But her dedication to genealogy has played a role in lifesaving advancements at HCI. Family history records, including work by Jean and others, have helped researchers identify genes responsible for many inherited forms of cancer.

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Building a Movement through the Multiplier Effect

Nov 15, 2021

A reflection on our “multiplier effect”—when a donor’s passion and generosity inspires others, including those who haven’t yet been impacted by cancer, to join our cause. This Thanksgiving, we're incredibly grateful for every donor who makes up our multiplier effect, from the longtime supporters behind Swing for Life and Sigma Chi International Fraternity, to people like you.

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This October, Carve Out Time for Your Annual Cancer Screenings

Oct 11, 2021

The Wasatch Range has certainly offered us a spectacular show as it has turned from green to crimson, yellow, and orange. The foliage is a brilliant reminder of how beautiful it is to let some things go. BUT, there is one thing I am asking you not to let go. And that’s your annual cancer screening appointment.

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A Mother’s Legacy of Support for Childhood Cancer Research

Sep 10, 2021

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time for special focus on the children who are diagnosed with and who are fighting cancer. As a mother who has worked at a cancer center for more than 17 years, my awareness and worry that one of my children would face cancer was always in the background.

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Thanks to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation Team

Aug 16, 2021

Gratitude. It is a word we often hear these days. We are advised that by keeping a journal that records our daily thoughts of gratitude, we improve our wellbeing. The very act of expressing appreciation improves our state of mind and sense of optimism and abundance.

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Reflections on Huntsman Sports Fest

Jun 16, 2021

Saturday, June 12, was the Huntsman SportsFest. The day marked the first in-person event held by the foundation since the pandemic began. In all, more than 1,000 people participated in running and cycling to raise $500,000 for cancer research.

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Musings on Imperfection

May 12, 2021

Our family Opa (grandfather) passed away many years ago after living a wonderful, full life. He was 96. He believed in working hard and he instilled the notion of teamwork and productivity in us. He was an amputee due to a WWII injury, but he never missed a minute of living a full and beautiful life.

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Cancer—My Grief and My Gratitude

Apr 16, 2021

When I meet people, I am often asked why I work for a cancer center. I am asked if I find the work depressing or feel defeated by what I do. Hardly. Like so many of you, I came to the cancer work via personal grief. My grief was lifted by the hope offered by cancer research.

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