PORTLAND, Ore. -- Some monumental news from Oregon Health & Science University Thursday morning: the hospital reached its Phil Knight Challenge. That means $1 billion will go toward fighting cancer.
About 2 years ago the co-founder of Nike and his wife Penny said if OHSU raised $500 million, they would match it.
The billion dollars will support the first large-scale program dedicated to early detection of lethal cancers.
This is one of the biggest unmet needs in cancer care today.
OHSU announced it went above and beyond its goal - raising $508 million instead.
With this new funding, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will recruit about 25 of the world's top researchers. Those researchers will hire 225 to 275 scientists and physicians, a team focused on the detection of cancer.
And that's not all. OHSU is also going to build a new, state-of-the-art cancer research facility, along with a clinical trial center.
They'll break ground for the new research facility March 2016, with construction expected to be complete 2018.
This is done with the help of more than 10,000 donors from every state, and five countries.
Among the donors, the state of Oregon gave $200 million, Columbia Sportswear's Gert Boyle gave $100 million, and the donation that put them over the top is $2 million from Consumer Cellular.
"Penny and I have total confidence in Brian Druker and the entire OHSU Knight Cancer Institute team to put a stop to a disease that touches each of our lives," Phil Knight said. "These last 22 months have shown what is possible when people of vision focus on a single goal. We are more convinced than ever that cancer will meet its match at OHSU, and we are proud to play a role in this history in the making."
Thursday, the Oregon Congressional delegation, including Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden, welcomed the announcement.
The delegation released the following statement:
"This is a great day for Oregon and for advancing the fight against cancer. OHSU has become a world premier cancer research facility that will continue to grow and transform the field of personalized medicine and cancer care. These generous donations will further its excellence in not only cancer research but patient care and make a tremendous difference in the lives of many. We're proud of OHSU for attracting extraordinary attention and resources to support its work in the years ahead."
Governor Kate Brown also released a statement.
"Today Oregon Health and Science University announced achievement of the $1 billion Knight Cancer fundraising challenge. This is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the great science happening at OHSU as well as Dr. Brian Druker's exciting vision for ending cancer. I'm proud of Oregonians for coming together to support the Knight Cancer Challenge. This bodes well for our state's future, not just for cancer research and care, but also our ability to take on the big challenges of our time," she said.
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