Monday, October 11, 2010

Legacy and Leadership

At the end of September, the American Cancer Society hosted an evening at the Space Needle [sponsored by Amgen -- so no donor dollars were used here :) ].   The Legacy and Leadership Awards Ceremony is the annual event where the ACS awards the current year's Research Grantees (for 2010-2011).  This year was special for our family as they also recognized 'special friends' to the Society in addition to the Research Grantees.

Currently, the American Cancer Society is funding 25 researchers with more than $6.3 million in research grants in Washington State, in addition to serving more than 8,500 cancer patients and their family members in this region.  Dr. Mary Claire-King from the University of Washington was the highlighted speaker: she is known for proving that the "breast cancer gene" (now known as BRCA1) existed at all.  She is always fascinating, and we loved having the chance to hear her speak.

For us, being able to hear and meet American Cancer Society-funded researchers is always a treat.  Not only are they brilliant, but you get to see the 'real people' behind the life-changing research that is happening.  You get the chance to put a face behind the funds you are raising...and this time, it's not a face that you simply celebrate or remember, but a face that can potentially hold the key to the future of cancer in our world.

The invitation to the evening said:
"Celebrate with us those current and promising leaders in science who are finding a cure,
and those individuals and organizations, who by their various contributions of time, talent
and treasure, are leaving their legacy in the fight against cancer."

And it's with that second part that the Sprouffskes from Rainier got thrown into the mix.

With Mark Horoszowski, one of my good friends and co-Nationwide Leadership Training Team trainers, as the emcee, he told our "Relay love story", and a little of how we both became involved with the American Cancer Society.  From Jonathan's Relay proposal to fundraising to a major fundraising focus at Merrill Lynch and now with Connolly Tacon & Meserve to our family.  It was, at the same time, both very humbling and an incredible honor to see our names along side the other award winners (especially Team Aloha -- led by our good friends Karen and Dave Conley) and the Research Grantees.

I love that Erin Sheahan (pictured above, she is the Regional Vice President for our area), titled our story as she did.  The American Cancer Society is a part of our family in how we choose to fight back against cancer, and it was a very meaningful evening for the Skis.  I just wish that Jonathan's parents, especially his mom, had been able to be there with us.  I hope they were, at least in spirit. My parents were able to make it that evening -- delaying the start of their 40th anniversary getaway to make it happen.  Mom and Dad, thank you for being there.  It meant the world to us.  ♥

One of my favorite parts of the evening?  Being stopped by one of the Research Grantees to be thanked for how we've supported the Society.  It was incredibly ironic, because the thanks, in our eyes, belong to the Researchers.  It deeply touched our hearts.

And it's then that I was reminded how important everyone is to this fight.  As it's said at Relay...
Survivors make it personal.
Researchers make it happen.
Supporters make it possible.

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