Heartfelt Thank You To and From John Hovel & Family, MCW Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office
Cancer Clinical Trials Office Lorax Classroom
Below: Dr. James Thomas, John Hovel, Janis Hovel, and Betty Oleson (Administrative Director of the CTO)
On Friday February 14th, John and Janis Hovel, visited the new CTO Lorax Classroom on the 2nd floor of the Clinical Cancer Center. Last year, the Hovels started the Triumph Fund to support the Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office (CTO). Without the support from the Triumph Fund, this class room would not exist.
After the upbeat visit, John Hovel sent this thank-you note to the CTO and Cancer Center staff.
I am incapable of putting into words how touched Janis and I were yesterday upon seeing the beautifully decorated and highly functional Lorax Conference Room and by the warm reception we received. We are delighted that The Triumph Fund has been able to offer some meaningful assistance to the high quality and dedicated professionals who make up the CTO. While we deeply appreciate the gratitude those individuals have shown to Janis, Lauren, Jenna, and me (and all those who have donated to or otherwise helped The Triumph Fund), I sincerely meant it yesterday when I said the real thanks is owing from us to those of you in the CTO who each day work to bring hope to cancer patients and to tangibly help in the fight against this horrid disease.
What we did was easy - we merely recognized the value of the CTO in the fight against cancer and created a platform for private philanthropy. After a few conversations over the years with Dr. Thomas, that value was pretty easy to see. What the individuals who make up the CTO do and have done is the hard part - working in the trenches with little recognition to originate and execute clinical trials that will be of a benefit to current and future cancer patients. Each of you in the CTO should take immense pride in what you do.
We are proud to be part of the CTO "team." We look forward to an encore presentation of Honoring The Lorax and continuing to raise funds for a most noble and deserving cause.
John and Janis
Below: John and Janis Hovel in the Lorax Classroom
In turn, the Cancer Center and CTO would like to give a heartfelt thank you to John and Janis Hovel and family for their important support of cancer clinical research at MCW.
John Hovel was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. His care team at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center included James Thomas, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) and Medical Director of the MCW Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office. Through building a relationship with Dr. Thomas, Hovel realized that by fundraising for clinical trials he could impact all types of cancer while focusing on a particular component of research. “It dawned on me early in my diagnosis that I’m in a fortunate position, and I have an obligation to assist in the fight against cancer. The logical way for me to do it is through research,” Hovel said. “The Triumph Fund combined the idea of supporting cancer broadly yet supporting a specific area of research while saying ‘thank you’ to Dr. Thomas on behalf of our family.”
Dr. Thomas, Betty Oleson and the CTO staff have been building the portfolio and presence of cancer clinical trials, an important step toward the College’s goal of National Cancer Institute designation. For the Clinical Trials Office to be successful, it must have a strong infrastructure and well-trained staff. “With the increasing complexity of clinical trials and our efforts to conduct more early-phase trials, which are even more complex, it is really important that we offer the most experienced, capable workforce to our patients and investigators,” Dr. Thomas said. “The money provided by the Triumph Fund is being used to train our staff, to develop training and education materials and processes, and to allow coordinators to attend conferences and other development opportunities.” The team also furnished a room supported by the Triumph Fund, he said.
Hovel, along with his wife, Janis, and their daughters, Lauren and Jenna, provided support through an inaugural event they named “Honoring the Lorax” referencing the Dr. Seuss character who teaches how caring individuals can make a difference. Nearly 170 people attended the dinner and event, which also featured presentations by MCW faculty members, including Dr. Thomas. “Clinical trials offer hope. They, today, are preparing the standard of care for tomorrow,” said Hovel, who lives in Wauwatosa but considers MCW a national leader. “Based on what I’ve seen so far, if I moved to either coast or to Houston, I would continue to come to MCW for care. I’ve received what I think is an incredibly high standard of care and compassion.”
“The ability to offer emerging cancer therapies to our patients through clinical trials is a hallmark of an academic medical center dedicated to cancer care,” said Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Dean of the Medical School and Executive Vice President of MCW. “This contribution by the Hovel family and their guests recognizes the significance of increasing access to clinical trials and is helping make that happen.”
Thank you, again, to the Hovel family, to Dr. Thomas, Betty Oleson, and all of the leadership and staff of the CTO.