The Herd is Back: Roswell Park and Buffalo Business Leaders Launch Grassroots Campaign to Fund Tomorrow’s Cures

Blue buffaloes are making their way to local businesses across Western New York
Monday, July 16, 2018
Highlights: 
Campaign driven by the vision of a Roswell Park volunteer
Funds raised will support the most promising research at Roswell Park
Community can identify supporters by blue buffaloes at their places of business

Bright blue buffalo statues have been mysteriously popping up at area landmarks and events this summer and raising questions on social media. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center revealed that these “herd sightings” have been leading up to today’s unveiling of a new grassroots fundraising campaign called Herd of Hope.

Herd of Hope is a new take on the Herd About Buffalo public art project in 2000 that raised $1 million for Roswell Park. But rather than each Buffalo being individually decorated and auctioned off, Herd of Hope is giving the corporate community the opportunity to sponsor their own Herd of Hope blue buffalo statue to display at their places of business.

On a riser surrounded by dozens of bright blue buffaloes – many draped with an overlay featuring their sponsor’s logo – Roswell Park President & CEO Candace Johnson, PhD, announced that “the herd is back!”

Inspired by the vision of Roswell Park volunteer and fundraiser Bill Loecher, the Herd of Hope campaign aims to raise funds to advance research taking place at the institute.

“There is no shortage of brilliant ideas at Roswell Park that might someday lead to a cure of this horrible disease —ideas that are continually being developed in laboratories right here in Buffalo. It’s only the lack of funding that has kept many of these ideas still sitting on a researcher’s bench back in the lab,” said Loecher. “The thought that by raising the awareness of this need and the importance of raising funds so that these ideas can see the light of day and possibly just possibly lead to a cure, was my inspiration for this campaign.”

Each metal buffalo is approximately 4-feet long by 3-feet tall and painted in the distinctive blue color from Roswell Park’s logo. There is only one sponsorship level of $5,000 per buffalo, and 33 businesses have already made their sponsorship commitment.

Many of the campaign’s early supporters attended this morning’s announcement, including Jim Stitt, Executive Chairman of CUTCO Corporation in Olean, New York, who credits Roswell Park with saving his life from cancer.

“When I received my diagnosis, I didn’t think twice about where I would go for treatment. And I often wonder what options I would have had and where I would be had I not been able to come to Roswell Park,” said Stitt. “I’d like to encourage other area business leaders to join us as part of the Herd of Hope. It is only through research that we can find a cure, and that can only be made possible with our support.”

The dollars raised through the campaign will be used to fund projects that bring together clinicians and researchers to focus on all three aspects of cancer research — prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. As with all donor-funded grants, Roswell Park says these dollars will not be handed out freely.

“Only the scientific teams whose projects show innovation and incredible promise for impacting patient lives will be considered to receive these funds,” said Mukund Seshadri, DDS, PhD, Chair of Roswell Park’s Department of Oral Oncology as well as the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) — an objective group of Roswell Park scientists and clinicians who review and grade project submissions and award internal research grants based on potential to make an impact on patient treatment and care. “Projects led by these multidisciplinary teams will enable timely translation of our knowledge gained on a specific cancer or a group of closely related cancers into novel preventive or interventional trials in patients.”

Those interested in sponsoring a buffalo or learning more can visit HerdofHope.org or call 716-845-HERD.

Media Contact: 

Amy Biber Collson, Director, Development Marketing & Communications
716-845-1038; amy.biber@roswellpark.org