Barry Sanders: Given New Hope and Giving Back
Barry Sanders, president and chief operating officer of the ScottsMiracle-Gro Company, was stunned when a routine blood test prior to surgery for an athletic injury revealed he had chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Almost immediately his mind ticked through the things he wished he’d accomplished, including spending more time with his family and giving back to the community.
Now that Sanders has completed his treatment at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), his leukemia is in remission and he is doing just that. Sanders and his family recently made a personal gift of $250,000 to kick off a fundraising effort to create a chair in the OSUCCC – James Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) program.
Endowed chairs are the highest honor the University bestows on faculty; they play a critical role in helping the OSUCCC – James recruit and retain top talent. The annual interest disbursed from the fund will provide the chairholder with additional monies for research—an important perk in a climate of reduced federal research funding.
Sanders hopes other blood-cancer patients, survivors and their families will join him in fully endowing this chair at the $2.5 million level. Says Sanders, “Anyone who is a cancer survivor should be thankful for the people and the dollars that went into research. People made an investment so that we could survive, and any contribution we can make will enable those diagnosed in the future to have the same good fortune we did.”
Steven Devine, MD, director of the OSUCCC – James Blood and Marrow Transplant program, agrees that the need for research funding is important. “At Ohio State, we are constantly seeking to make further progress in the BMT field. Research support funds critical studies in patients and animal models that test novel strategies designed ultimately to benefit our patients.”
Sanders credits his good health today to the research that enables his CML to be treated as a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, rather than the lifethreatening disease it once was. He also credits the OSUCCC – James and Devine with creating a positive experience for himself and his family during that difficult time.
“Because of advances in medicine, I have the opportunity to continue to work, to do more with my family and give back to the community,” says Sanders. “And we have the opportunity to support this important research in our own backyard in Columbus.”
At ScottsMiracle-Gro, the associates live by the company’s belief in giving back to the community. Whether it’s starting a local community garden or raising funds for an important wellness initiative, ScottsMiracle-Gro is dedicated to helping make our communities better places to live. In the last four years, the ScottsMiracle-Gro peloton has grown from 18 members to 100, raising more than $208,000. Team members believe wholeheartedly in the One Goal and share the commitment of the Pelotonia community in the fight to end cancer.