Cure It On The Court celebrates fifth foundation year
Chicago's Millennium Park offers a backdrop for (from left) Jason Krawetz, Zachary Bulwa and Shane Massel, all Glenbrook North High School graduates who founded Cue it On the Courty to raise funds to fight childhood cancer. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Time
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:35AM
In his silver Honda Accord coupe, Shane Massel of Northbrook, a 2007 Glenbrook North High School graduate, now a North Shore certified public accountant drove down the I-90 from Northbrook to Chicago.
His July 5 goal was an important meet and greet with two of his childhood friends, Jason Krawetz and Zachary Bulwa, who would equally shake hands with Callie Johnston of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Johnston, who serves as senior associate director (individual giving) in the center’s development office across from the Loop’s Millennium Park, welcomed the trio who brought news of the Cure It On The Court Foundation’s fifth anniversary.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can,” said Massel, a University of Iowa accounting graduate.
Massel, who is pursuing a Roosevelt University master’s in accountancy science, is proud of Cure It On The Court — in fact, so much so, that he plans to juggle a packed career and scholastic schedule to raise money to cure childhood cancer.
Massel, with Krawetz (who plans to be an attorney), and Bulwa, who is studying to be a doctor, have raised almost $25,000 in four years, with the assistance of their fourth childhood buddy and foundation colleague, Matt Rosenberg.
“That’s a lot of money,” said Massel, grinning approvingly.
On Aug. 11, 30 teams and approximately 125 participants will take the courts during the North Shore 3-on-3 Summer Showdown Charity Basketball Tournament from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Sachs Recreation Center (formerly the Deerfield Multiplex) to benefit Cure It On The Court’s mission.
“I’m really, really so grateful,” said Johnston, who sat down with Massel, Bulwa and Krawetz to explain where Cure It On The Court dollars are utilized.
“Thank you for letting us know where our money is going,” said an appreciative Massel.
“It’s Doc Nach’s vision,” Massel added. “It’s a slam dunk.”
Pediatric cancer specialist James B. Nachman, 62, professor of pediatrics at University of Chicago, also affectionately known as “Doc Nach,” died in summer 2011 from a suspected heart attack while on a June Grand Canyon rafting trip.
As chairman of several children’s oncology national study committees, Nachman specialized in childhood leukemia and lymphoma.
“Doc Nach” helped to develop augmented post-induction therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which led to a late 1990s successful clinical trial, resulting in a higher ALL patient cure rate.
“(Dr. James Nachman) was world renowned, extremely popular in his field,” said Massel.
In the summer of 2008, Bulwa worked at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Doc Nach offered mentoring advice.
“He tried new methods and was recognized for his success (and) that’s who Zach (Bulwa) did research under, that’s what got us started (with) the foundation,” said Massel.
Bulwa was so moved with what he witnessed in 2008, that he approached Krawetz, Rosenberg and Massel, asking them to brainstorm.
Years of Northbrook residential basketball games among buddies segued into a slam dunk of a charitable idea.
“We didn’t have to really experience tragedy to come up with the idea,” said Krawetz, acknowledging heartbreaking struggles among families affected by childhood cancer.
“I think every year we’re surprised at what we’ve accomplished,” said Bulwa to Johnston, of Cure It On The Court’s accomplishments.
“You are impacting people in your age group,” said Johnston, smiling. “I think that’s pretty cool.”
An estimated 12,060 new cases of childhood cancer are expected to occur this year among children from birth though age 14, according to a facts provided by the University of Chicago.
An estimated 1,340 cancer deaths are expected to impact this same childhood age group in 2012, with one third of these deaths from leukemia.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among children, exceeded only by accidents, according to findings.
“Because of the observation by Drs. James Nachman and Wendy Stock,” said Johnston, “the University of Chicago Medicine is establishing an Adolescent Young Adult (AYA) oncology clinic (opening Aug. 1) to bridge pediatric and adult oncology.”
The AYA will “provide the best possible in services and outcomes to this unique group of patients,” said Johnston.
“Beyond providing cutting-edge clinical care, “Johnston added, “the faculty members associated with the AYA oncology clinic will do research into the unique physiological and psychological issues met by AYA patients.”
Many of these patients, “compare the harsh and unremitting psychological damage associated with intensive chemoradiotherapy as being similar to post-traumatic stress disorder seen in war veterans,” added Johnston.
“The generosity of the Cure it on the Court Foundation has led to the creation of the AYA Oncology clinic and will continue to support the clinical and research efforts focused around the AYA population,” concluded Johnston.
To support Cure It On The Court and its Aug. 11 North Shore 3-on-3 Summer Showdown Charity Basketball Tournament , visit http://www.cureitonthecourt.org/