Over the course of two years, Oregon Health & Science University and Nike have raised an astounding $1 billion in donations toward cancer research: half from OHSU and donors, and half from Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Penny. According to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, OHSU & Knight’s efforts made the largest successful charity drive of its kind.

“These last 22 months have shown what is possible when people of vision focus on a single goal,” said Knight in a statement.

Using the $1 billion, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute plans on hiring almost 300 research scientists, including 25 of the world’s leading researchers, to form the first large-scale overhaul of early detection methodology, which will yield better cures, lower treatment costs, and raise survival rates.

“While cancer treatment has evolved to become more precise and less toxic, the tests and tools used for cancer detection have not changed in decades,”said Dr. Brian Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, in a statement. “Without better, earlier detection, and a full understanding of cancer’s origins in the body, the promise of precision cancer medicine cannot be realized.”

Of the $1 billion, $20 million was donated in the last few weeks. Major local contributors include a $200 million donation from the State of Oregon, and $100 million from Gert Boyle of Columbia Sportswear. These two were the largest gifts from Oregon. Donations, many from first-time donors, came from all fifty states and five countries.

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