Spotlight: Jerry Wolfe
Jerry Wolfe has been a member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center community for a long time.
In 1991 Jerry Wolfe's son, Eric, was in his second year of graduate school at UW-Madison when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. When Eric died in 1996 after a tough five-year battle with the disease, Jerry wanted to do something to honor his memory.
We spoke with Jerry about "Golf Fore Wolfe & A Cure," its sister event, "Run With Wolfes" and the Eric Wolfe Brain Tumor Fundraising Program.
Why choose to raise money for research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center?
We developed a close rapport with Eric's doctors during his treatments. When Eric passed, we knew we wanted to give back. A doctor who treated him challenged us to raise money for brain tumor research at the Carbone Cancer Center. I was so gratified the team helped keep Eric alive for five years that I wanted to be a part of the catalyst driving research toward better treatments in the future. I guess I wanted to help others as a way to keep Eric's memory alive.
What gave you the idea to start Golf Fore Wolfe & A Cure?
For a few years after Eric passed, his wife had a golf outing to keep his memory alive. It was an intimate event, with about 20-25 of Eric's friends in attendance. Then, when more of their old friends became involved, we decided to move the event closer to where we all live near Milwaukee. Expecting only 40 golfers that first year, over 100 people turned out to support the cause. Over the years, the event got bigger and bigger, so we began to set our eyes on bigger goals.
How did the Eric Wolfe Fundraising Program grow so successfully?
After a few years of increasing success with Golf Fore Wolfe & A Cure, we realized we could accomplish great things for research at the Carbone Cancer Center. As we focused our mission to raise more money, we realized that we could raise upwards of $500,000 to provide a stable funding source to the Department of Human Oncology at the Cancer Center. These efforts allow Paul Harari, MD, chair of the UW Department of Human Oncology to consider innovative ways to advance cancer research activities. To date, we have been able to raise almost $700,000.
What's next for Golf For Wolfe & A Cure?
The event not only raises money for a good cause, but is a great day filled with fun and stories about Eric's life. Many of Eric's friends golf with us every single year - for 13 years and counting - so I wouldn't dream of stopping now. In fact, last year, my daughter Cara started "Run With The Wolfes", a 5K Fun Run/Walk, giving us more time to get together, share old stories, and raise more money for the Eric Wolfe Professorship.
The Second Annual "Run With The Wolfes" is taking place on Sunday, September 11 in Oakwood Park, Menomonee Falls, WI. Jerry Wolfe has already begun to plan for the Fourteenth Annual Golfe Fore Wolfe & A Cure at the Ironwood Golf Course in Sussex, WI. For more information on either event, visit golfforewolfe.com