LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In Nebraska, brain tumors are one of the most common cancer diagnoses among Nebraska children between 5 and 14 years old, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
One of those Nebraska children is Jack Hoffman. He was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was just five years old. The Team Jack Foundation started after Hoffman ran a nearly 70-yard touch down at the Husker spring game, captivating the crowd and the state.
Jack- who was 7 at the time- inspired former players, and the state to band around him and other kids and raise money for pediatric brain cancer research.
"We didn't think it would take off like it has," said Rex Burkhead, a board member for Team Jack and a running back for the Patriots. "We just thought, 'Oh, this is cool. Let's raise a little bit of money and hope it goes to the right people.' Just to see where it is now is unbelievable."
The night's keynote speaker was ABC's 20/20 co-anchor Amy Robach, who was diagnosed with breast cancer after getting a mammogram live on Good Morning America. She said the only way to cure cancer, especially pediatric brain cancer, is to support research.
"We have to fund their research, we have to fund their collaboration, and I do believe that we will find a way to make cancer a chronic condition, not a terminal one," said Robach. "If we can find a way to stop the unnecessary deaths from this insidious disease and find a way for people to live with cancer and to live beyond their diagnosis, that's what we're all fighting for. And yes, we need to keep funding our researchers and our doctors and our scientists and we need to keep raising money because that is what is going to bring us to that day where we can say we've cured cancer."
In the seven years of the Team Jack Foundation, the group and its supporters have raised a little over $7 million. Jack's dad Andy said the end goal for Team Jack is to go out of business because pediatric brain cancer is cured.