With a net of $1.49 million, the 2011 Nebraska Cattlemen's Ball in West Point has shattered the event's previous record for most money raised by $487,000.
The total topped the previous high of just more than $1 million raised by the 2010 event in Kearney. Since its inception, the Cattlemen's Ball has raised more than $6.29 million.
All of the proceeds remain in Nebraska, with 90% going for cancer research at the Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the remaining 10% distributed to local health and wellness programs and other entities in the West Point area.
"I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but every year just seems to be getting better with this event. It's amazing," says Dr. Ken Cowan, director of the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center. "With the down economy that we've seen the past few years, to top the million-dollar mark the past two years is absolutely incredible.
"It shows how the entire state has truly rallied around this event," Cowan says. "Every family has been touched by cancer, and this is a proactive way to attack the problem. I can assure everyone who raised this money that we will do everything in our power to try to come up with new discoveries needed to make a difference with this dreaded disease and to make sure that new therapies are offered to cancer patients across the entire state."
The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and that about 570,000 people will die as a result of their cancer.
The theme of this year's event was "Plow Cancer Under," and that's exactly the attitude that led to this year's record amount, says Gary Kaup, one of the co-chairs of the event.
"The generous spirit of everyone who donated their time and talents was remarkable," he says. "Breaking the million-dollar mark for a second year was our goal, and it took a lot of people and dedication, time and resources to raise this record amount for cancer research and local health programs."
The Cattlemen's Ball is hosted by a different Nebraska ranch or feedlot every year. The 2011event in West Point was hosted by Harry and Doris Knobbe. Co-chairs were Gary and Connie Kaup and Allen and Cheryl Meister.
The mission of the Cattlemen's Ball is to raise money for cancer research at the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center, while showcasing rural Nebraska and promoting beef as part of a healthy diet.
The 2012 Cattlemen's Ball will be held June 1-2 at the Allen and Shelly Clark property near McCool Junction. Event details and tickets will soon be available online at www.cattlemensball.com.
Cowan says that the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center-- a distinction held by only 65 centers in the country and the only NCI-designated center in Nebraska.