Taking a Swing at Cancer

When it comes to philanthropy, Andy and Susan North are pros.

Andy and Susan North sit in folding chairs and hold microphones while smiling

Andy North’s bouts with cancer inspired him and wife Susan to raise funds for innovative research and patient care. Jeff Miller

As passionate supporters of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Andy and Susan North are making an indelible impact. Andy, a two-time U.S. Open champion and ESPN analyst, knows cancer on a personal level — he’s faced bouts of skin cancer and prostate cancer. As a Madison resident, he feels fortunate to have a leading cancer center so close to home. In 2008, Andy and Susan formed the Andy North and Friends initiative, which has raised more than $16 million to advance innovative research and patient care.

The Norths’ initiative has hosted numerous fundraising events, from dinner galas to golf outings. They have brought in a remarkable number of celebrity friends, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former Milwaukee Brewer Robin Yount, and golf legend Jack Nicklaus. A luncheon at Madison’s Monona Terrace on September 21 will feature Mike Tirico, the announcer for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Following its 10th anniversary, Andy North and Friends expanded, hosting gatherings in Arizona, California, Florida, and New York while maintaining a presence in Wisconsin.

The Carbone Cancer Center unites some 300 researchers across the UW–Madison campus. With help from Andy North and Friends, the center has been able to build an aquatic tank used to study the potential of shark antibodies for treating cancer; launch a program to support cancer survivors; help test a potential breast cancer vaccine; and assist with developing technology that captures tumor cells from a blood draw instead of a biopsy.

Andy’s relationship with the Carbone Cancer Center began when his mother, Mary, was being treated for breast cancer. In 1991, Andy became the patient — years of sun exposure on the golf course had evolved into basal cell carcinoma, requiring five surgeries to completely remove the tumor from his nose. Then, in 2014, he was once again diagnosed, this time with prostate cancer.

With help from the Carbone Cancer Center, he walked away with his health and an even deeper appreciation for the center’s research and life-saving care. “We want to increase awareness because this cancer center set the gold standard years ago and continues to raise the bar each and every day,” he says.

Published in the Fall 2022 issue

Tags: Alumni, cancer, Golf, philanthropy, Research

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