If you're a Husker fan, you may remember Team Jack. Thousands of people in Nebraska and around the country bought shirts this fall and now the money's being put to good use.
On Wednesday Jack Hoffman, along with his parents Andy & Brianna Hoffman, joined Executive Director for Uplifting Athletes Scott Shirley and Christine Bork, Chief Development officer for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, in presenting a $275,000 check to pediatric brain cancer researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
The check represents money raised during the 2012 football campaign through Team Jack t-shirt sales, private fundraisers, University student fundraisers, and donations to CureSearch and Uplifting Athletes.
The anonymous $100,000 donation recently made to Nebraska’s Uplifting Athletes Chapter, is also included. Jack’s family estimates that, to date, fans have purchased approximately 14,000 t-shirts.
Jack's dad Andy Hoffman said, "Nebraska should be very proud of what it accomplished today in the fight against pediatric brain cancer. Cornhusker fans showed this past fall that when they get behind a team, they get behind a team. Their unending loyalty to the cause campaign of pediatric brain cancer has put the disease in a position to be further researched by one of the most accomplished cancer research centers in the world. We have never been more proud, than today, to be “from Nebraska”.
The $275,000 award to Dana Farber Cancer Institute represents a research grant for pediatric brain cancer research. The research grant will go towards a specific research project. The research project includes such things as improving drug delivery methods to the tumor (i.e., analyzing the molecular structure of existing cancer medications and re-engineering them so that they can get past the blood-brain barrier and to the tumor site for treatment efficacy) and identifying genetic mutations (aka: “abnormalities”) in pediatric brain tumors so that these “mutations” might someday be able to be treated with chemically engineered “smart drugs.”
Hoffman added, “I am not sure that it has sunk in yet. It is incredible when you stop and think about how we got to this point today—one college football player made a 5-year old boy battling brain cancer important. Because of the notoriety created by that relationship, the disease was given a platform from which successful fundraising could occur.”
The research project at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute will be managed by Dr. Chuck Stiles, Director of Cancer Biology at Harvard Medical School.
Research is scheduled to begin by the end of January 2013.
Hoffman told 10/11 on Wednesday the family got good news from doctors in Boston--Jack's MRI looked great and the growth in his brain is stable, even smaller. He'll continue with the rest of his 6 months of chemotherapy.