The past two years have brought challenges – both in business and in our personal lives – and a myriad of changes that few could ever see coming. But over a period of 20 years, two years is a relatively short period.
Twenty years. This is how long Roger Magowitz has been beating the drum to help find a cure for pancreatic cancer. He founded the Seena Magowitz Foundation in 2001, the same year his mother was diagnosed. The same year, a few months later, she died in early summer that year.
The organization started small and in 2003 the foundation held its first golf tournament to raise money to fight the disease. Every year since — except for the last two when COVID-19 sidelined the gathering — the organization has held the golf tournament, which now includes an auction, dinner and other activities. Over $12 million has been raised through the foundation’s activities over the years under the passionate tutelage of a founder who refused to step down.
This first event in 2003? He raised $10,000.
Roger gives much of the credit during this time to the companies and people in the bedding category who stepped up to support the quest from the start. Companies such as Mattress Firm, Leggett & Platt, Serta Simmons Bedding, Tempurpedic (now Tempur Sealy International) and Protect-a-Bed took up the cause from the earliest days of the founding.
This year, the Seena Magowitz Foundation’s “Power of Us” event will return to an in-person event in Phoenix, March 4-6. Most activities this year, including spring training games and dinner on the diamond at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field, will take place outdoors in accordance with pandemic protocols.
Karl Glassman, longtime supporter of the foundation and executive chairman of Leggett & Platt, will serve as honorary chair of the event, which he credits with significantly impacting the landscape of pancreatic cancer research.
In fact, funds raised through the group’s efforts have funded pilot studies and Phase 1 studies that have led to over $150 million in additional funding for expanded clinical trials. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has increased from 6% to 11% over the past 10 years.
While Roger gives credit to others who have supported the cause, Karl is quick to point out that without Roger’s vision, purpose and drive, the impact the bedding industry has had on the development of treatments would never have happened.
“Roger is a master at wringing his arms,” he said, adding that the industry will always deserve kudos for the progress made in the battle to find treatments for the third leading cause of linked deaths. to cancer. “This is an example of the bedding industry coming together to make a difference. It was an industry event that brought competitors together and tried to fight the same fight.
The foundation works closely with Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, an oncologist, medical researcher and cancer specialist known for his research and involvement in more than half a dozen drugs that have extended the lives of pancreatic cancer patients. . He has participated in more than 200 clinical trials in his career, and he is a mainstay at foundation events where he shares trial and research updates.
“I’ve been lucky in life and have met many CEOs, CFOs of some of the biggest companies. I met politicians in all roles. On the day I die, I know I will never interact with anyone who has done more for humanity than Dr. Von Hoff,” Karl said.
Interested in knowing more? Visit the organization’s website.