Kicking Ovarian Cancer
Last year, Cleveland Browns kicker Billy Cundiff decided to make a difference in his community by doing what he does best: kicking a football through the goalposts.
A pledge of $200 for every kick he made during the season, along with donations from supporters and matching funds from Colleen’s Dream Foundation, resulted in a $20,000 gift to help fund the ovarian cancer research of Angela Ting, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.
For the Love of Family
In February 2013, Mr. Cundiff’s beloved mother-in-law Colleen Drury was in the final stages of a six-year battle with ovarian cancer.
“The family established Colleen’s Dream Foundation in December 2012 to support research for early detection and improved treatment for ovarian cancer,” says Mr. Cundiff, who heads the foundation. “I wanted to find a way to involve the kicking community in this cause that is so dear to me.”
He came up with the idea to create online pledge pages that kicking specialists from all levels – high school to professional, active to retired– can use to raise money for the fight against ovarian cancer. Funds raised through Kicking For The Dream directly benefit Colleen’s Dream Foundation.
Ovarian Cancer Research
Mr. Cundiff and Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning created pledge pages on Kicking For The Dream and raised more than $10,000 in the 2013 season. "Both Spencer and I agreed it was important the money we raised should be kept in Cleveland to help grow the talent at Cleveland Clinic," says Mr. Cundiff.
Their support is helping to further Dr. Ting’s research, which focuses on the study of epigenetics. Epigenetics is defined as modifications of DNA or chromatin that do not directly change the DNA sequence but can significantly influence gene expression and organizations of the genome. One of Dr. Ting’s goals is to establish an epigenetic signature for chemo-resistance in ovarian cancer.
"An ‘epigenetic signature’ is a unique epigenetic pattern that distinguishes drug-resistant ovarian cancers from those that are responsive to treatments,” says Dr. Ting, noting how she greatly admires the thoughtful generosity of Mr. Cundiff and Mr. Lanning. “Raising awareness and promoting research are truly the most essential and powerful strategies to improve the management of ovarian cancer and to reduce suffering it causes."
And because the Cleveland Browns have extended Mr. Cundiff’s contract for the 2014 – 2015 NFL season, he has again pledged to support ovarian cancer research at Cleveland Clinic through Kicking For The Dream.
"Cleveland Clinic is doing amazing work,” he says. “And the ovarian cancer research they are conducting is very important in fighting this deadly disease."