Benzel Media

Grieving Father Targets Enormous University Endowments to Help Cure Cancer

Rider McDowell is a former journalist and entrepreneur (Airborne, Pine Brothers), turned reluctant cancer research crusader. His son Errol, 18, died in June after a terrible six year battle with medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumor in children. While raising desperately needed funding for a number of university labs (Duke, Stanford, UCSF, Case Western, U of Florida and Harvard) McDowell wondered why the universities themselves, with their tremendous endowments, weren't stepping up to the funding plate. "Here is Stanford with a $26 billion endowment, and I'm beating the bushes raising money, sometimes in small amounts, so their researchers can pursue the brilliant potentially curative science they live for, and that so many desperate families long for." According to McDowell, sometimes it takes very little. One $25,000 donation from the McDowell family, directly led to research at Duke, using the Polio virus against Medulloblastoma. The results have been positive, and a potentially curative clinical trial is underway with sick children. Funding from the McDowells and money raised through their late son's charity,, has also advanced the fight against pediatric brain tumors at UCSF, Case Western University, U of Florida, and Stanford., which Errol created with his two younger brothers, has raised close to $1 million dollars, much of this raised $1 dollar at a time.