On the Town: Cancer Hasn’t Gone Away and Neither Have We

September 30, 2017 pixelmark

two men riding on their horses

Cowboys for Cancer Research Celebrates 35 Years Fighting the Good Fight

Written by Charlotte Tallman

If you asked Denny and Geraldine Calhoun 35 years ago to describe the future of cancer in the Las Cruces community, they wouldn’t have had an answer. But to the Calhouns, executive directors of Cowboys For Cancer Research, not having an answer didn’t matter. What they did have was a desire to make sure cancer didn’t stand a chance. Now, more than three decades later, the Calhouns are sticking to that desire, and not a day goes by that someone in the community doesn’t say, think, or write the words Cowboys For Cancer Research.

The familiarity of the Cowboys For Cancer Research name can be attributed to many things: the cancer research happening across the state, the partnerships maintained over the years, and the events that bring together philanthropists. And, once again, it’s that time of year to pull on the boots, grab the checkbook, and change the future of cancer with Cowboys For Cancer Research.

“There is no time that we aren’t in the public raising funds and awareness,” says Denny. “Thirty-five years ago the Las Cruces community pulled together when Alma Cohorn died of cancer, and they’ve been roping in her name ever since. And because of that community support we’ve been blessed, and the organization has grown.”

As a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money to support ongoing cancer research projects at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, Cowboys for Cancer Research has grown far beyond the team roping event to include their sixth annual golf tournament—held this year in late August—and the upcoming dinner, dance, and silent auction scheduled for October 6.

“This year’s events are even more exciting than ever because of this 35 year milestone,” Denny explains. The silent auction boasts nearly 350 items (ranging from diamond rings to pinto beans, Denny likes to say) and at times, a saddle. “We now have the Steward of the Saddle live auction, and the story behind it is something special,” he adds.

collage of people supporting the cancer research

Years ago, the group auctioned off a custom saddle, yet the winning bid had no use for it, so it was re-donated back to the organization. The next year, the same thing happened. After the saddle had brought in $25,000 from people who kept giving it back, the highest bidder gave the saddle to her son, in memory of her late husband.

“I went to the committee and said we need to get our thinking caps on and continue on with this excitement, and Steward of the Saddle was created,” Denny explains. “Now the highest bidder displays the saddle for one year, then each year when they return it, we provide them with a custom trophy buckle and start the bidding again.”

Money raised at the events help seed new research studies and equipment that will benefit patients directly by providing promising new treatments.

That is done through an endowment, now worth $2.1 million, and immediate funds.

“We get requests from researchers who can’t receive funding, but they really feel they are on to something,” Denny says—and he believes they are on to something too. “We had a researcher come to us and request funds to study estrogen receptors and early breast cancer detection. We provided the money, and because of that, they are on the path to detecting breast cancer early. They are also receiving more funding because they proved they were on to something.”

From initial cancer research by NMSU and UNM researchers, to developing more effective cancer chemotherapeutics, to finding effective cancer treatments that avoid the side effects of existing drugs, the money raised by Cowboys For Cancer Research is paving the way to zero cancer thanks to the impact and foresight of a group of cowboys.

Denny says, “We’ve been so blessed with community support, and because of that support, we are able to say, ‘Cancer hasn’t gone away, and neither have we.’”

Money raised at the events help seed new research studies and equipment that will benefit patients directly by providing promising new treatments.

35th Annual Team Roping
September 16 and 17
Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds

Dinner, Dance, and Silent Auction
October 6
Las Cruces Convention Center

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to donate, visit c4cr.com or call 575-642-5696.

The post On the Town: Cancer Hasn’t Gone Away and Neither Have We appeared first on Las Cruces Magazine.

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