Killebrew-Thompson donates $1 million to cancer research

Organizers of the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial, a leukemia and cancer research benefit held each August in Sun Valley, announced last month that their 2018 contribution totaled $1 million. The funds are split between the event’s two beneficiaries: St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise and the Masonic Cancer Center of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

This year’s donation marks the second year in the organization’s 41-year history that funds raised have reached $1 million, bringing the total contributed since the event’s inception in 1976 to more than $17.6 million.

“I was completely blown away by the generosity of our donors this year,” said Hannah Stauts, the organization’s executive director. “It was clear that people weren’t just coming to Sun Valley to golf and enjoy the surroundings—they were here to make a significant impact on cancer research, and they certainly did that in the auction room.”

The Killebrew-Thompson Memorial (formerly known as the Danny Thompson Memorial) has become one of the leading fundraisers of its kind for cancer research, and is among the single largest annual donors to St. Luke’s every year. The idea for the tournament was founded by Hall of Fame baseball legend and Idaho native Harmon Killebrew, and Idaho Congressman Ralph Harding. Killebrew wanted a way to honor his former Minnesota Twins teammate, Danny Thompson, who died of leukemia at the young age of 29. For four decades, the Killebrew-Thompson has gathered celebrities, members of Congress and large corporate sponsors in Sun Valley to enjoy four days of activities that benefit advancements in cancer research. Funds donated to St. Luke’s MSTI and the University of Minnesota are leveraged nearly fivefold with federal and other grant programs, helping to increase the KTM contribution to the million-dollar level annually.

Dr. Dan Zuckerman, executive medical director of St. Luke’s MSTI, praised the work of the organization.

“Killebrew-Thompson has once again astounded us with their generosity and commitment to the fight against cancer. … It is because of KTM that we can offer such an array of cutting-edge clinical trials and experimental therapies to cancer patients all across Idaho.”

On Nov. 29, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial board members Joe Puishys, CEO of Apogee Enterprises in Minneapolis, Doug Oppenheimer, president of Oppenheimer Companies, Mark Johnson, KTVB/NBC newscaster, and Evan Robertson, attorney with Robertson & Slette in Twin Falls, presented a $500,000 check for MSTI’s portion of the event proceeds to Dr. Zuckerman, Dr. David Pate, CEO of St. Luke’s Health System, Rich Raimondi, chairman of the St. Luke’s Health System board of directors, and Eldon Book, chairman of St. Luke’s Health Foundation board of directors.

The Killebrew-Thompson plans to present its donation to the University of Minnesota next spring during a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field.

The 43rd KTM golf tournament is scheduled for August 14-17, 2019, in Sun Valley.

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