T-Mobile CEO John Legere visited Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on Wednesday to present a $4.5 million check to support the Profile initiative. True to his word, Legere was sporting magenta colored hair.
In December, Legere asked his social media network to help raise $2 million in his “Match-to-Conquer-Cancer” campaign in support of the Profile project, which gives patients seeking cancer treatment at Dana-Farber and its affiliated hospitals the opportunity to have their tumors tested for nearly 450 genomic abnormalities involved in cancer. In many cases, the abnormalities can be targeted by FDA-approved drugs or agents undergoing testing in clinical trials.
Legere’s campaign featured Dana-Farber patients and doctors highlighting the benefits of Profile. Demonstrating his own commitment and to help generate enthusiasm from donors, Legere personally pledged to match every dollar raised for Profile from December through January, up to $1 million. As an added incentive, he vowed that if he reached his fundraising goal, he would dye his hair T-Mobile’s signature color, magenta, for one week.
Legere not only met his goal, but more than doubled it — raising $3.5 million from nearly 1,000 donors. And as promised, he threw down another $1 million of his personal funds to bring the grand total raised to approximately $4.5 million.
“I’ve never been so moved and inspired as I am by the groundbreaking work of Dr. Barrett Rollins and the Dana-Farber team — and I’m honored to put $4.5M into the hands of these world-class researcher heroes so they can continue their incredible work to bring us closer to an eventual cure, said Legere. “If we all stay united in this fight, I know we can live in a world without cancer — and this donation proves that people coming together can help bring us closer to making that a reality.”
This gift establishes the Legere Family Fund for Profile. Under the direction of Dana-Farber Chief Scientific Officer and Linde Family Professor of Medicine Barrett J. Rollins, MD, PhD, the gift will support Dana-Farber’s Profile initiative — one of the broadest and most comprehensive enterprise-level, patient-based cancer genomics projects in the world.
The endeavor has yielded genetic data on more than 30,000 tumor and leukemia samples. Results from these tests reveal cancer-promoting mutations that can sometimes be blocked by existing medicines targeted to that mutation. Dana-Farber clinicians use Profile data to try to match patients with the appropriate targeted therapy, the hallmark of precision medicine. In some cases, this has caused patient tumors to shrink or even disappear, demonstrating the power of this therapeutic approach.
“John mobilized his wide network of peers, colleagues, and friends — inspiring contributions from across the country and around the world. He and T-Mobile have raised much-needed funds for the Profile initiative while raising public awareness of why the project is so important,” said Laurie Glimcher, MD, president and chief executive officer of Dana-Farber. “We’re so fortunate to be able to count on John’s leadership, and the T-Mobile partnership, and all that they do for Dana-Farber.”
Legere has been a longtime and generous Dana-Farber supporter, running the Boston Marathon 11 times for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, raising nearly $2 million. He has also served on Dana-Farber’s Board of Trustees since 2012.