On the wings of the Eagles Cancer Telethon

There are many ways you can measure the success of the annual Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester. You might note that this year marks the 60th year of the event that raises funds for cancer research at Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute, and the University of Minnesota. Or, that it's the "longest running locally produced event of its kind in the country," according to KTTC, which televises the event. Or that it's raised more than $11 million for cancer research at Mayo Clinic over the years. Or, as Mayo Cancer Center Director, Robert Diasio, M.D., suggests, that nearly every Mayo Clinic Cancer researcher has been impacted by support from the Eagles in some way.

telethon750For Mayo, those involved say the Eagles continue to have the longest-running record of philanthropy in our history. "The Fifth District Eagles Cancer Telethon has advanced cancer prevention, detection and treatment by providing Mayo Clinic Cancer Center with more than $11 million over the past four decades," says Dr. Diasio. "Their support provides the spark and tinder for discoveries in the fight against cancer."

Like those being made by Mayo cancer researcher Yuichi Machida, Ph.D., who lost his mother-in-law to cancer five years ago, an experience he says reminded him "of the importance of conducting science that matters to patients." And since coming to Mayo, he and his research team have been doing just that, thanks in part to the support they've received from funds raised during the telethon. "I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the support of our research on the tumor suppressor gene BAP1," Dr. Machida says. "My team and I are just beginning to understand the function of this important gene, and the funding from the Eagles provides a great opportunity to extend our work to understanding how loss of BAP1 causes cancer."

Dr. Machida is far from alone. You can read about the 10 Mayo cancer researchers whose projects received funding from last year's Eagles Cancer Telethon Research Fund in this nifty booklet produced by Mayo Clinic. Their projects were selected from a highly competitive pool of submissions by Mayo cancer investigators in Arizona, Florida and Rochester.

You can tune in this Saturday, Jan. 18, to see some of the area's biggest and brightest performers (from singers to dancers to tumblers and more) take the stage at the Rochester Civic Center. For those not watching live and in person, you can tune your dial to Rochester TV station KTTC or watch on line on the Eagles Cancer Telethon website. The telethon runs from 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Afterward, brush the popcorn off your lap and share your favorite telethon memories or other observations with a comment below.