Which prominent Portland business family gave $10M to Knight Cancer Challenge?

Which prominent Portland business family gave $10M to Knight Cancer Challenge?
(Courtesy: Portland Business Journal)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Knight Cancer Challenge just got a $10 million shot in the arm from Columbia Sportswear President and CEO Tim Boyle and his wife Mary — the largest private donation to date.

The donation will go toward the $500 million pool that Oregon Health & Science University is raising for cancer research that will be matched by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny.

The Boyles’ gift will create a mentorship fund honoring Hildegard Lamfrom, the sister of Columbia Chairman Gert Boyle and a leading molecular biologist before her death in 1984 at the age of 62.

The mentor fund at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will be used to attract the best and brightest graduate students and early career researchers to OHSU, where they will be mentored and supported as they develop new treatments and cures for cancer.

“My Aunt Hildegard was completely devoted to basic science and pushing its capacity to solve the most complex problems in human health,” Tim Boyle said in a statement. “She truly believed that someday, someone would cure cancer. That cure didn’t come soon enough to save her, but she would be the first to want to stimulate the next wave of innovative thinking and research that will create the scientific breakthroughs needed to save millions of other lives.”

Lamfrom broke new ground in her field of protein synthesis and mentored many renowned scientists, including a young undergraduate chemist, Brian Druker, who now leads the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Druker later developed the first targeted treatment that kills cancer cells and leaves healthy cells unharmed, Gleevec, which was approved in 2001.

OHSU has now raised more than $310 million for the challenge.

In 2010, Gert Boyle and Tim and Mary Boyle donated $2.5 million to create the Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science at the cancer institute.

Click here for more information on the Cancer Challenge.

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