The UT/West Institute for Cancer Research Holds Kickoff Event for West FIGHT ON

The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research hosted a breakfast on Friday, May 4 at the Memphis Botanic Garden to kick off the annual West FIGHT ON event. This is the organization’s signature fundraising event focused on raising funds for cancer research and patient education, care and support.

At the breakfast, the non-profit organization honored those whose lives have been touched by cancer, including Carrie Anderson, former weekend sports announcer, shared updates from West Cancer Center, and previewed the new West FIGHT ON video They also thanked last year’s supporters and encouraged continued support as they embark on another year for an event that has had such a tremendous impact on our community. Chef Ryan Trimm, with Sunrise Memphis, catered the breakfast.

This year’s West FIGHT ON event will be held on Saturday, September 15 at Shelby Farms Park.

What began as a small bike ride around one of the West Clinic locations has grown into a multi-sport celebration of the cancer-fighting spirit of our local community. The event includes a full suite of fitness activities including three different cycling distances, a 5K run and a 1-mile walk culminating with post- race festivities in Celebration Village including vendors, sponsors, kids’ activities, brunch, entertainment, and touching tributes to honor and remember those affected by cancer.

“In the past five years, this event has grown into a vision that has surpassed all our expectations,” said Dr. Brad Somer, Medical Oncologist at West Cancer Center and one of the co-founders of the event. “While our central goal remains to raise the critical funds necessary to support innovative research and comprehensive patient services, our hope is that we can continue to engage more community members as participants in the event and advocates for our cause.”

Regardless of how one participates in the event, the call to action for the community is clear: to raise funds – and awareness – in the face of cancer.

“While this event is focused on various fitness components, the intent is much bigger,” said Stephanie Simpson, Vice President of Administration at New South Capital Management, Inc. and the event chair for a second year in a row. “We see this as a movement – a mobilization of all members of our community in the fight against cancer. It is almost impossible to find someone who has not been impacted by this disease. On September 15, join us as we celebrate, remember and fight on to raise the necessary and critical funds to support cancer patients, right here in the Mid-South.”

Simpson leads a group of 20 volunteers and community members who comprise the event’s 2018 steering committee. Featuring business professionals and community leaders from both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, the committee members represent a diverse group of backgrounds steadfastly united in a common goal: fighting cancer in our community.

Sedgwick, the leading global provider of technology-enabled claims and productivity management solutions, has partnered with West Cancer Center in the fight against cancer by committing to serve as presenting sponsor this event for the second year in a row.

“West Cancer Center is at the forefront of the fight to find a cure, and we are so proud to join forces again with this world-class organization in ensuring a brighter tomorrow for countless families touched by such a devastating disease,” said Dave North, Sedgwick president and CEO. “Our company philosophy is ‘caring counts,’ and few community institutions embody that belief better than West Cancer Center. The Mid-South is fortunate to have an outstanding oncology center of this caliber bringing hope to those facing a cancer diagnosis.”

Highland Capital Management will be returning as well as their Diamond Partner. Other companies interested in joining the fight against cancer may contact Jordan Walker at

Through May 15, participants can take advantage of special discounted pricing as part of the event’s early bird promotional phase. Once registered, participants are equipped with numerous tools and resources to share their participation – and fundraising goals – with family, friends and community. This information is available in detail on the West FIGHT ON website,

About The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research

The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research was founded in 2014 as the dedicated entity to provide funding for adult cancer research and patient support programs. Over $15 million in donations have been raised since its inception from individuals, who want to memorize a loved one or create a legacy, foundations supporting an endowment program and grants from government agencies. In addition, fundraising campaigns, like the flagship event, West FIGHT ON has raised over $2.5 million dollars since 2014.

The Institute’s commitment to lead scientific initiatives for discovery in translational research for the advancement of novel cancer treatments and therapies has been furthered by the addition of Neil Hayes, MD, MPH as the Scientific Director. Dr. Hayes was the co-leader of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Clinical Research Program with experience moving genomic paradigms to clinical decisions with precision/personalized cancer care. The collective goal and mission of The University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research is to facilitate investments in discovery, innovation and advancement in the field of adult cancer research and patient education, care and support. To learn more about the UT/West Institute, visit

About West Cancer Center

West Cancer Center is a multi-specialty, academic, regional cancer center specializing in adult cancer and blood disorder treatment, research and prevention. Over 37,000 patients were treated across our 12 locations in 2017-of which, 13,000 were new to our network.

A unique partnership with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has attracted 156 oncology physicians, researchers and academicians; many from other leading cancer centers working together to treat cancer. Our faculty diligently trains the next generation of cancer experts, including over 20 fellows and residents exclusively focused on advanced oncology education.

With the expansion of a new state-of-the-art campus opening in early 2019, West Cancer Center is forecasted to increase annual patient visits to 42,000 and broaden our footprint from 220,000 square feet to more than 300,000 for patient care and research. As a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), West Cancer Center embraces the mission to improve quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so all patients have access to the most advanced treatments available. Our commitment to translate cancer science into revolutionary treatment protocols is furthered by the enrollment of 500 patients in clinical trials for 2017 and 4,210 analytic cases recorded to the tumor registry annually. West Cancer Center’s focus on genomic testing and precision medicine, subspecialty care, translational research and new clinical pathways provide patients with the latest, most innovative, personalized cancer treatment plans. Our dedication to clinical excellence extends beyond conventional care with programs and services that focus on the mind, body and spirit to improve overall wellness and outcomes. To learn more about West Cancer Center, visit