IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fran and Margaret McCaffery hosted their annual Hawkeye Basketball Tipoff Party Thursday evening at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The event benefits the Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program at the UIHC. Over 250 supporters in the Iowa City community attended the event at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to help raise funds for AYA.
“It’s amazing how much this event has grown,” said McCaffery. “When we held the first event seven years ago, we raised $52,000 and it has gone up significantly ever since. We can’t thank the sponsors, restaurants, and the incredibly generous supporters enough.”
The event is close to surpassing $1 million for cancer research.
“We will be right around $1 million, which will be an incredible benchmark for us to reach in a short period of time,” McCaffery said. “It speaks to the people of the community and their support and involvement because that type of commitment is ongoing, it’s not a one-time thing.”
People in the age range of 13-31 respond differently to treatment and cancers react differently in their bodies. The McCafferys have been a champion for raising awareness for AYA.
“Iowa City and the AYA program at the UI is one of the few in the Midwest and it’s really grown and there is tangible results,” said McCaffery. “We’re fortunate to live in a community where we have that kind of comprehensive cancer center in the UIHC. The publicity and how it has grown and our partnership with UIHC has been tremendous.”
McCaffery lost both of his parents to cancer, and his son, Patrick, has made a full recovery from thyroid cancer since being diagnosed in 2014.
“When I first got involved with the program it was the result of the fact that my parents died of cancer and I was happy to use my name in any way,” said McCaffery. “But then you go to events and people come in and speak about their experiences, and you never think that you’re going to be the one up there talking about your experience. When you’re on the other side of it is where you see the incredible advancement of modern medicine and what that means. So that when you tell somebody they have cancer, it doesn’t mean that’s a death sentence.”
Redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery was in attendance Thursday evening and showed reporters in attendance a tattoo on his left arm that is a tribute to his younger brother. It says, “you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”
“This event means a lot,” Connor said. “Obviously, my brother going through what he did, cancer is a huge part of my life. I’ve got it tattooed on my body. It’s something that makes me emotional. Being able to come out and see the support and all the great people throughout the community that come and raise money for this cause is awesome.”