Patients, Denver Broncos and local reporters help UCHealth donate a record $255K for the American Cancer Society

UCHealth’s Healthy Swings Charity Home Run Derby brings together cancer warriors, professional athletes and local media to raise money for a good cause
June 8, 2022
UCHealth will donate $255,000 to the American Cancer Society after its annual Healthy Swings Charity Home Run Derby at Coors Field on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.  This year’s donation to ACS is a record for this event and is more money raised than all three previous events combined.

This event, in its fourth year, brought together members of the Denver Broncos, local reporters, and new this year, several UCHealth cancer survivors, each taking a turn at bat with the goal of raising as much money as possible.

“Coming together with our patients and our sports partners to have a great time and raise money for this important cause demonstrates our focus on helping people live healthy, extraordinary lives,” said Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing and experience officer. “Thanks to research and advanced treatments, many of the UCHealth patients who participated in the home run derby today are living cancer-free lives and serve as a beacon of hope for those still fighting this terrible disease.

“UCHealth is excited to support the American Cancer Society and their groundbreaking research, impacting the future of cancer treatment.”

Austin Walls, competing as one of UCHealth’s cancer warriors today, was a high school senior in 2020 when he was diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor. In addition to multiple surgeries, he was treated with radiation and chemotherapy. After nearly two years of treatments, he is doing well and last month he was able to graduate from high school.

“It meant everything. It’s an incredible opportunity and as someone who has cancer, it means everything to be able to raise money for this organization. I mean I know what I’m going through and I would love for fewer people to have to go through this,” Walls said.

With more than 100 years of experience and leadership, the American Cancer Society is a global force, fighting all cancers on all fronts, across the U.S. and around the globe. With the help of millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society supports breakthrough research, creates empowering resources for people to outsmart cancer, enables local communities to support those affected, and convenes powerful activists to create awareness and impact. These programs are vital to patients like Austin, as he and his family coped with a life-changing diagnosis.

“Cancer affects everyone differently, but it doesn’t affect everyone equally,” said Danielle Smith, director of philanthropy for American Cancer Society, Colorado Region. “Events like today, alongside partners like UCHealth, make an impact in improving cancer outcomes in our community. Every swing today is another step forward to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer.”

Twelve Denver Broncos players in attendance included Brandon McManus, Bradley Chubb and Courtland Sutton, who won the event by raising more than $47,000 for the American Cancer Society’s cancer and screening prevention efforts.

“It was a blessing to be able to be here today. It’s always fun to be able to do something like this with people that are just as enthused as you are and to be able to be a part of it with them, the cancer survivors, it’s an honor. It’s an honor to be able to win the trophy too,” said Sutton.

Thanks in part to the advanced treatments and clinical trials available at its locations, oncology patients at UCHealth have five-year survival rates that often exceed state and national averages.