Healthy Kansas City: Moving the Needle of Care in a Significant Way
Moving the Needle of Care in a Significant Way
By Ann Butenas
The impact the funds raised by Big Slick for Children's Mercy cannot be measured in dollars alone. It's creating a legacy to last for generations to come.
Someone once noted an idea is worthless until you get it out of your head and see what it can do. Had actor Rob Riggle, who calls Kansas City home, not given a voice to his idea over a decade ago, he never would have found himself in a position to see that idea take flight. And once that idea took flight, it turned to its landing gear to begin its locally-grown adventure on creating a hometown legacy that promises to positively affect people for generations to come. We are talking about Big Slick here. Sure, we all know this event for its celebrity status where Riggle and other hometown notables including Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet, Jason Sudeikis, and David Koechner descend upon the city for a weekend each June along with a star-studded list of celebrity friends to promote their celebrated fundraiser for Children's Mercy. But again, this highly-anticipated weekend-long extravaganza never would have filled our social calendars until that one single idea spread its wings.
To date, this annual, star-studded celebrity event has raised over $8 million, all of which has been donated to Children's Mercy. In addition to the money donated, Big Slick has cast a bright spotlight on the hospital which, in turn, has generated the ability to attract top researchers who are now being heralded at the national level for all the work they have accomplished - and continue to accomplish - at the Cancer Center at Children's Mercy.
Among the many things Big Slick dollars enabled the hospital to do included the expansion of the hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant wing, as well as provide amenities for parents and families, such as a laundry room, small kitchen, and entertainment systems with DVD players and video games for every room.
"Unfortunately, there is not been enough money dedicated to pediatric cancer research as there has been for adults," indicated Jenea Oliver, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at Children's Mercy. "And that is because there are more adults with cancer than there are kids with cancer. Now, thanks to Big Slick donations, we are in a position to become leaders in pediatric cancer research. Every cancer patient we have gets DNA-sequenced, and thanks to Big Slick and other donors, we have a world-class pediatric genomics center right here in Kansas City.
With June just around the corner, Big Slick is ready to charge back into town. During its inaugural year, Riggle had a goal of raising $50,000 and exceeded that goal by $100,000. Last year, Big Slick raised $2.1 million. As for the goal this year, well, as McKee put it best, "It's going to be the biggest and slickest yet to come!" This year's Big Slick Celebrity Weekend is scheduled for June 7-8.
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