The Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research

A New Frontier for Recruiting the Best

Discovering treasure often requires a convergence of circumstances – a confluence of dedication, timing and extraordinary expertise. Whether it’s uncovering new territory beyond previously unknown borders, pulling off an undefeated college football season or forging inroads deeper into cancer research, all the pieces – and players – must be in place.

Enter OSU Head Football Coach Urban Meyer and his wife, Shelley. They know a thing or two about dedication, timing and expertise. They’re more than a little acquainted with navigating a nail-biter of a season. And they’ve become all too familiar with how cancer weaves, swerves and intersects through virtually everyone’s life. For them, it’s personal – with both Urban and Shelley’s families having been touched by cancer. Meyer’s father, Urban Meyer Sr., was a bladder cancer survivor, and his mother, Gisela Meyer, was treated for breast cancer at Ohio State back when her son was the assistant football coach under Earle Bruce. Shelley’s stepmother, Marlene Mather, is also a breast cancer survivor.

So, in conjunction with Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, the Meyers have established the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research.

The new fund will raise $2 million for an endowment to establish a Chair, which will further efforts for recruiting the very best and brightest cancer research experts to The James. Funds raised above the $2 million will support emerging research priorities and the new Chair.

“We truly wanted to get in the game, so to speak, in honor of my parents and Shelley’s stepmother – all of whom had cancer,” Meyer said. “What better way to take aim at cancer in a real and personal way than to help recruit the best and brightest minds from around the world – those who will, I truly believe, one day lead us to a world completely free of cancer. Shelley and I just want to do our part to help us get there.”

“When you think about it,” Meyer said, “recruiting in football and recruiting in cancer research are really not that different. You need people who are driven, brilliant in their field and excited to get in the game – who thrive on making a difference. Those are the kinds of players we recruit for OSU, and those are the kinds of cancer experts who continue to make The James the best at what they do.”

Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of The James, couldn’t agree more. “This is yet another extremely important step in moving closer to our goal of creating a cancer-free world,” he said. “If we want to continue finding new and better ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure cancer, then we need to continue adding brilliant research minds to our incredible team of cancer experts – to bring those people on board who will ultimately uncover the discoveries we need to fight and beat cancer.”

In addition to establishing the Meyer Fund, the Meyers will be donating $250,000 to the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, in order to provide a dedicated Gisela and Urban Meyer area within the new hospital. Meyer will also be donating several sports memorabilia items from his personal collection for this space.

“As anyone who has dealt with cancer knows, there can be a lot of time spent in waiting rooms,” Meyer said. “If Shelley and I are able to provide something that others might find as interesting as we have over the years, then we are profoundly honored to do so.”

As part of the Fund kick-off, the Meyers will be joining the 2013 Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, which will support the Meyer Fund. For information on the cruise, visit

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