Video: A Colorful night to remember

October 4, 2022  //  FOUND IN: News

Friends, faculty and staff of the Rogel Cancer Center gathered amid a rainbow of lights, ribbons and balloons on Sept. 23 to raise money for cancer research.

The event, called Colorful to represent the wide range of advocacy ribbons that draw awareness to specific cancers, was held at the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building and streamed live across the country. 

It featured NFL alums Dhani Jones as host and Devon Still as a special guest. Rogel Cancer Center faculty members also shared news of their research and gratitude for the role philanthropy plays in their work.

“Philanthropy is really a critical element in our success,” said Eric Fearon, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Rogel Cancer Center. “It is really the initial rocket stage that gets you off the launch pad. And then we can generate a compelling story to seek funding from the National Cancer Institute and other major funding agencies. But without the philanthropy to launch the very best ideas and support them, you can’t compete at the national level.”

Jones, a former U-M linebacker who played with the New York Giants for 11 years and is now an entrepreneur, author, multimedia broadcaster and philanthropist, led the audience through an evening of compelling conversations and stories of cancer’s impact on families.

A video featured Jim Plocki, performance operations manager in the U-M Department of Athletics, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in fall 2017. After a bone marrow transplant, he is now nearing his five-year anniversary for being cancer-free.

Guest speaker Still was a defensive end at Penn State and played for the Cincinnati Bengals when his daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He launched a public campaign to support research and help other families affected by neuroblastoma. Eight years later, Leah is cancer-free.

“I felt hopeless when Leah was first diagnosed, but her resiliency inspired me, and it inspired millions of people. Many stories end differently than ours did, which breaks both of our hearts. It is my life’s purpose to recycle my pain, to be an advocate, and to help others see they are not alone,” Still said. “I am so honored to be a part of Colorful. As we come together as friends of the Rogel Cancer Center, we are gathering as a community to ease the burden for families and to create hope, which so many people facing cancer need.”

Proceeds from Colorful fuel the Rogel Cancer Center’s efforts to improve cancer outcomes through research, innovation, and transdisciplinary collaboration. Make a gift here.