One Dollar To Cure Cancer? Son Inspires CEO Dad To Start Ambitious Fundraiser For Cutting-Edge Treatments - NBC Bay Area
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One Dollar To Cure Cancer? Son Inspires CEO Dad To Start Ambitious Fundraiser For Cutting-Edge Treatments

Rider McDowell's goal is a big breakthrough in cancer treatment, one small donation at a time. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017)

Cure cancer for a dollar?

Not likely.

Cure cancer one dollar at a time?

Now you're speaking Rider McDowell's language.

"If you want to cure cancer, it can be done," McDowell said.

The CEO of cough drop maker Pine Brothers is hoping, through his Cancer A-Go-Go fundraiser, to raise $325 million, or one dollar from every man, woman, and child in the United States, to fund research into 26 cutting-edge cancer treatments.

"There is a screaming need for this," McDowell said.

McDowell's optimism and urgency are borne out of his own family's experience. His son, Errol, has twice been diagnosed with brain tumors. The second time McDowell and his wife, Victoria, traveled with their son to Florida so he could take advantage of a promising immunotherapy treatment.

It worked.

McDowell, however, realized that few families were in a position to take advantage of such treatments. McDowell was also shocked at how little money, in his opinion, was being spent on cancer research in general and immunotherapy in particular.

"Immunotherapy is the game-changer we have been waiting for," McDowell said.

So McDowell decided to do something to help facilitate more research. Exactly how that would happen, was Errol's idea.

"We were talking about funding our own clinical trial and Errol said, 'Well, why don't we start a grassroots fundraiser?'" McDowell said. "And instead of asking for the world, why don't we just ask for a dollar?"

With that idea, Cancer A-Go-Go was begun.

McDowell believes that asking for just a dollar makes the fundraiser much more approachable and inclusive.

"It's easy to ask for $1 and invariably people offer $2 or more you know and we're grateful for it," McDowell said.

The McDowells are picking up the overhead costs for their venture so that every penny raised makes it to researchers. They also are promising that all the data from the studies will be made available to anyone who would like to use it.

The goal is, ultimately, a giant leap in the treatment of cancer. One, small donation at a time.

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