We've shared about our hero Danny Thompson, but there's two heroes in this story. Enter Harmon Killebrew.
Killebrew was a teammate of Danny Thompson's playing for the Minnesota Twins. But not just any teammate, he was held in high esteem for two things in specific: 1. He was one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball history and 2. Potentially the nicest guy on the field.
He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984 and was very distraught by Thompson's death from leukemia in 1976.
Killebrew wrote a $6,000 check to further cancer research that year and even after he moved to Boise, ID, Killebrew held onto the memory of his dear friend and teammate Thompson and decided to do even more.
Killebrew partnered with former Idaho Congressman Ralph Harding to found a memorial event in Thompson's name.
They decided to host an elite golf tournament called the "Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament Leukemia Research Benefit" (Wow, that's a long one!) in Sun Valley, ID in 1977.
The guest list included top politicians such as President Gerald Ford and Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, as well as sports stars such as Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.
Their goal was to raise $10,000. But they didn't raise $10,000. They raised $21,000.
In the following years, the tournament continued to gather celebrities, members of Congress, corporate sponsors, participants and supporters with one common goal: to find a cure or leukemia and other cancers.
The event is now considered one of the leading fundraisers of its kind.
Sadly, just before its 35th year, the tournament lost one of its own. In 2011, Harmon Killebrew passed away from esophageal cancer, and in his memory, the event’s Board of Directors changed the tournament’s name to the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial.
We are now celebrating our 43rd Annual Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament. Our 2018 contribution to two cancer research centers totaled $1,000,000.
Since the beginning, this event and the generous sponsors and donors involved have raised over $17.6 million, which has gone directly to cancer research.
Thank you everyone for supporting cancer research and never giving up on #fundingacure.