THANC Supporters Make a Difference in their Communities

We are always amazed by the generosity of our supporters. Here are a few standouts from 2015!


Biennial Golf Outing in Chicago

Hanley and Bridget Dawson accepting an honor from Wynn Plaut

Hanley and Bridget Dawson accepting an honor from Wynn Plaut, Board Chairman at the 2015 Gala at the MoMA in New York City.

Hanley and Bridget Dawson have supported the work of the THANC Foundation for the past eight years.

On Monday, September 21, 2015 over 100 golfers at the Glen Club in Glenview, Illinois demonstrated their support of the Dawson Family, The THANC Foundation, the research of Dr. Susan Cohn of the Comer Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF).

In 2005 their son, Duke, was diagnosed with a very aggressive tumor—a neuroblastoma in his neck, the size of an orange, just two weeks before his third birthday. Shortly thereafter, 98% of the tumor was successfully removed. A few months later, Duke relapsed and was facing six months of intensive chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and radiation to fight widespread disease. In 2007, Duke was declared cancer free—and since then the family has been celebrating his life by supporting the THANC Foundation and the work of Dr. Cohn. The Dawson family has put their focus on helping others in the face of unbelievable adversity and hardship by inviting their entire community. This year’s golf outing collected nearly $200,000 in support of the THANC Foundation, the University of Chicago—Comer Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation.

Check-Up from the Neck Up Benefit

Caitlyn Hendrie and her mother, Karen Donikowski

Caitlyn Hendrie pictured with her mother, Karen Donikowski.

Four years ago, Caitlyn Hendrie’s grandmother, Joan Burgess passed away from anaplastic thyroid cancer, which is rare and aggressive. Shortly thereafter, Caitlyn found out about the THANC Foundation and approached us via email with a clear-cut plan. She and her mother, Karen Donikowski wanted to hold an event to raise money in support of the Foundation’s mission. From that initial email exchange they established the first Check-Up from the Neck Up Benefit. Each September, Caitlyn and Karen have organized the whole affair with the help of their tight-knit circle of friends and family. They have raised money by selling t-shirts and holding a spectacular silent auction. Since that first fundraiser in 2012, the crowd and the prizes have gotten bigger. This past year they held the event in Eagleville, Pennsylvania where they raised nearly $3500 for THANC! Caitlyn Hendrie is a vibrant, enterprising young woman. Her tireless efforts and tremendous endurance show that it only takes a bit of willpower and heart to achieve outstanding results.

Thyroid cancer survivor shares her story for college media class project

Cat Cazzari

Catherine (Cat) Cazzari

At the age of 15, Catherine (Cat) Cazzari was hit in the neck during a Mahopac Varsity Girls basketball game and immediately fell to the ground. Cat spent her 16th birthday in the hospital. She underwent months of tests and scans, when finally a biopsy was performed which diagnosed thyroid cancer on August 26th, 2011. Two weeks later she had surgery. Her thyroid and a number of lymph nodes were removed. The perseverance Cat demonstrated as an athlete helped her to make it through the difficulties of cancer treatment. Cat defied the odds and did what no one expected, she played basketball again. Although Cat had cancer, that did not mean she could not still enjoy the things she loved- basketball, family and friends, school and simply having fun. Cat graduated from high school and is in her second year at Siena College in Albany, NY. She shares her story to inspire and guide others. Cat has become involved with a variety of non-profits to help raise awareness. Cat was recognized at THANC’s 2013 Gala as a Faces of Courage honoree—a Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer conqueror who displays the strength to face it and the tenacity to fight it. Cat recently produced a four-minute video for a media project at Siena College. She also participated in THANC’s spin event this past spring, which raised over $13,000 for the Foundation.

Student & THANC supporter completes citizen leadership & social change project

Natalie Beden

Natalie Beden

Virginia Tech student of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Natalie Beden, recently completed a course that focused on exploring citizen leadership concentrating on social change. As part of her course, Natalie conducted one 60-minute interview with THANC staff, several field observations, volunteer work and research. Natalie decided to focus her efforts on helping to improve THANC’s head and neck cancer guide resource by providing feedback on the website, specifically the teen and children sections. The information has been extremely valuable in improving the website and THANC is grateful for her efforts.