Gary Player visits Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | May 19, 2022

Image with caption: Gary Player and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, speak at Tuesday's press conference.

Gary Player and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, speak at Tuesday's press conference.

Golf legend Gary Player spoke glowingly Tuesday of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine’s pancreatic cancer research and clinical efforts during a news conference with UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD.

Player visited Nebraska to tour medical center facilities, meet our leadership team and learn more about pancreatic cancer research and clinical care at the UNMC Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence.

"The reason we are gathered here this morning is to announce the acceleration of our attack on one of the most vicious and lethal killers known to modern medicine - pancreas cancer," Dr. Gold said. "Today, we are announcing, in partnership with Mr. Player and so many others, a full-force attack on this dreaded disease."

Player, who is one of only five golfers to have won a career Grand Slam, and the only one to have followed that up with a Grand Slam on the senior tour, has been a longtime supporter of cancer research. He spoke Tuesday of how cancer has affected many family members and friends, remembering losing his mother, sister and wife to cancer and calling for people to fight "this dreaded disease."

Player toured the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center on Monday and came away impressed by what he saw.

"These people want to cure pancreatic cancer, and they will do it," Player said.

Dr. Gold thanked Player for visiting the medical center.

"He is a highly committed and passionate supporter of cancer researcher and specifically, pancreas cancer research," Dr. Gold said, pointing to Player’s work with the Berenberg Invitational Golf Tournament.

The tournament already has provided significant research funding for innovation here at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to enable us to accelerate concepts that will lead to earlier diagnosis, novel findings, new drug discovery, development of biomarkers and tests and a better understanding of the complexity of this disease, Dr. Gold said.

Dr. Gold also thanked Sen. Mark Kolterman and members of the Nebraska legislature, which approved $15 million in one-time funding for the UNMC Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence earlier this year, as well as other private donors. 

Player has been an ambassador for Berenberg, the German bank founded in 1590, for more than a decade. In 2021, Player, Tom Watson and other highly decorated professional golfers came together at the first Berenberg Invitational, a Pro-Am golf event near New York, to raise $700,000 to support pancreatic cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The second Berenberg Invitational is slated for October 2022 and again will benefit the cancer center.

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