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Rose Festival Joins the Knight Cancer Challenge


For the first time in its 107-year old history, the Portland Rose Festival (Portland’s Official Festival) is devoting key parts of the multicultural celebration to a single charitable cause — helping to end cancer as we know it through Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Challenge. The Rose Festival will use its popular public events to bring awareness to, encourage community support of, and directly raise funds for the Knight Cancer Challenge (including avenues like event registrations and donations).


OHSU’s Knight Cancer Challenge is an unprecedented $1 billion campaign to revolutionize the early detection of cancer. Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, have pledged to donate inflatable water parks $500 million to support this ambitious plan — IF OHSU can raise an additional $500 million in gifts and pledges within two years.

“The Rose Festival offers an extraordinary platform every year for dozens of nonprofits to raise awareness of their organizations and benefit their missions through our parades and sanctioned events,” says Todd Johnston (Portland Rose Festival Foundation President). “We’re both pleased and proud to be part of one of the most unprecedented charitable appeals of all time, the Knight Cancer Challenge — and we look forward to sharing our passion for this cause with our friends and fans.”

Dr. Druker with Marilyn Clint (PRFF COO)

Dr. Druker with Rose Festival’s Marilyn Clint

Dr. Brian Druker (Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU) was the 2002 Grand Marshal of the Grand Floral Parade, just after his once-a-day leukemia pill (GLEEVEC) was approved by the FDA. GLEEVEC revolutionized cancer treatment and research by proving it was possible to shut down cells driving the disease, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Patients who once were given just a few years to live now have a normal life expectancy when treated with GLEEVEC. Dr. Druker will be a special guest in this year’s Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade.

“I am deeply grateful for the Portland Rose Festival Foundation’s support,” Dr. Druker said. “We have an incredible opportunity with the Knight Cancer Challenge to ensure that Oregon continues to lead the fight against cancer. We are committed to do for early detection GLEEVEC did to transform Cancer treatment.”

A portion of the funds generated through registration for the Bank of the West Grand Floral Walk, The Rose Festival Runners Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon Team plus a special visit by Mascots for a Cure, will all go toward the Cancer Challenge. Donations to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Challenge will fund research to find smarter, faster ways to detect cancer when the disease is most curable. Early detection is the most direct route to ending cancer as we know it. OHSU has both the vision and expertise to find the quickest path to new diagnostics and new cures.