Although we have always philanthropically supported cancer research, we truly didn’t understand the magnitude of the disease until it became excruciatingly personal to us. As well-documented, Greg’s father, Glen Gard, passed away in October of 2015, after a 6-month battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a form of brain cancer. A few months following his death, we began reflecting on our journey and having conversations about how to embrace and carry forward the lessons we learned. We considered the best ways we could use our experience to help other people, while honoring our late father.
Through this process, it became clear to us that we wanted our impact to be across the state of Wisconsin as it’s these very same people and places that have made both of us who we are today. We wanted our presence to be felt by patients and researchers in the Dane County community as well as from border to border across Wisconsin. Glen was very entrenched into helping locally first and foremost and therefore the idea to help our home state became a top priority. We wanted to think globally but help locally, just as Glen did for much of his adult life.
Thus, our “Garding Against Cancer” campaign was born. As to gain ground and catch this dreaded disease, our campaign supports cancer researchers around the state. We utilize our platform, our voice and resources, our time and energy to offer awareness of all types of cancer, support those who spend their daily lives studying prevention of this disease, stand with those who are searching for cures, fight with those who are providing better treatment options and most importantly, support the patients and their families who are personally affected by cancer. With so many great resources and people right here in Wisconsin, it made perfect sense to us to do as much as possible, with, and for, those right here at home.
We know that with highly dedicated people and resources behind this campaign, we will have a tangible, visible impact across Wisconsin.
Coach Greg & Michelle Gard
2021 IMPACTS OF GIVING
Already, through the generosity of donors and friends, progress is being made in the fight against cancer. From breakthroughs in research to advancements in patient care, funds raised are going to where they can do the most good. These articles describe some of the impacts donations from Garding Against Cancer are making toward furthering research and compassionate patient care right here in Wisconsin.
- UW Carbone Cancer Center’s Innovation Fund provides unrestricted funding to strengthen operations, expand scientific capabilities, support faculty recruitment, and advance the development of innovative products and approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer
- UW Carbone’s shared resources provide campus researchers with a wide variety of services to ensure that their science is supported by state-of-the-art technology and techniques. Shared resources are designed to support multidisciplinary research and unite physicians and scientists to speed the transfer of science to patients.
- Continued research in colon cancer, pediatric cancer, and brain tumor specialties at UW Carbone
- Supportive services for patients in Rock and Jefferson counties of Wisconsin. Some of these services have included a mammogram voucher program, exercise program, financial assistance to those undergoing treatment, and increasing cancer screenings.
- UW Carbone continues to focus on theranostics, which combines therapeutics and diagnostics and has the potential to revolutionize how cancer is found and treated. This research is ever-evolving at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
2020 IMPACTS OF GIVING
In 2020, as the pandemic began, several cancer researchers at UW Carbone Cancer Center, steadfastly continued their life’s work – advancing cancer research that has a global impact. Garding Against Cancer donations supported these endeavors.
- Improving outcomes for brain cancer
Mahua Dey, MD studies the immune system’s response in glioblastoma and how that response could be manipulated in the clinic through immunotherapy to get rid of these brain tumors.
- Pushing Immunotherapy Research Forward
For nearly 10 years, Christian Capitini, MD has maintained an active research lab at the UW Carbone Cancer Center while also providing care for children with cancer. It’s a varied mix of clinical and laboratory responsibilities, but there’s one big thread that ties it all together: immunotherapy. While the idea of using the body’s own immune system to fight disease isn’t new, significant advances made at UW Madison over the past decade have transformed immunotherapy into an increasingly viable treatment option, especially in pediatrics.
- Clinical trial offers new treatment
Kari Wisinski, MD continues to focus her efforts on enrolling breast cancer patients in clinical trials to test new therapies and drugs. Meet a patient enrolled in one of Dr. Wisinski’s trials.
- The spirit of innovation: The rise of the Precision Medicine Molecular Tumor Board
UW Carbone’s Precision Medicine Molecular Tumor Board, created in 2015, reviews cancer cases based on patients’ specific genetic mutations. Since its inception, the Tumor Board has reviewed over 5,500 total cases, with the annual number of cases reviewed increasing every year. The board now averages around 1,600 case reviews per year.
- The Cancer Health Disparities Initiative
The Cancer Health Disparities Initiative (CHDI) partners with Wisconsin’s underserved communities by working together to improve the health of everyone who faces greater cancer risk. CHDI focuses on:
- Developing research on cancer disparities.
- Conducting outreach and education activities with rural, African American, American Indian and Latinx communities.
- Helping researchers partner effectively with underserved communities.
IN THE NEWS
Check out the latest news and stories on how Garding Against Cancer is making a difference.
Garding Against Cancer suprasses $4 million in cancer research
The event raised $800,000 and the money will go to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, benefiting cancer research . Gard has raised $4.2 million over the past 29 months through his Garding Against Cancer Foundation.
Bucky on Parade Comes to an End in Finale Auction Party, Raising Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
Marking the end of the months-long Bucky on Parade public arts project, more than 30 statues re-creating the University of Wisconsin mascot were auctioned Saturday, raising more than $800,000 for cancer research and other causes.
Greg Gard Targets Cancer Here at Home
So instead of Bedford Falls, there is Cobb, Wisconsin. Instead of George Bailey, there was Glen Gard. Now we have his son, and he is building big things in real life.