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Kaw Valley

Ensuring support for research continues

By Marisa Larson 

What began with the friendship between two neighbors has grown to be an everlasting gift of support for cancer research. Gene Klingler, a Manhattan physician and rodeo enthusiast, and Terry Johnson, the founding director of the Johnson Cancer Research Center, developed a partnership between the center and the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association (KVRA) that has strengthened over the years.

Since 2007, the KVRA has consistently supported research at the center through activities such as an annual spaghetti dinner and the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, which brings the sport of professional rodeo and the western community together to rally against breast cancer. The Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Kaw Valley Rodeo has raised more than $60,000 for cancer research since the first pink night in 2007.

The KVRA has recently created an endowed gift to the Johnson Cancer Research Center, ensuring that their support continues in perpetuity. “There have been many people in our organization affected by cancer,” said Randy Holle, KVRA president. “The research benefits all of society and by endowing our contributions to the center, we can ensure that our support continues forever.”

The funds from this gift support K-State researchers, faculty and students, as they work toward better ways to detect, fight and cure cancer. “The center is working across several departments to investigate the cause of cancer,” Gene Klingler said. “I like the direction the investigation is taking because it involves undergraduates and class-act scientists. I would not be surprised if within the next 10 years we see a Nobel Prize coming out of K-State just because of the quality of people.”

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