Dozens of friends, family members, fraternity brothers and neighbors converged on McCall from across the country this past weekend to take part in a 2-year-old golf tournament launched to honor a singular member of the St. Luke’s family.
Joseph “Jack” Cilek, the older of St. Luke’s Vice President of External Relations Jeff Cilek’s two sons, passed away in the fall of 2014 of hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, an extremely rare and aggressive cancer.
Jack, a popular 2012 graduate of Bishop Kelly High School and member and captain of the school’s swim team, was a University of Arizona student when the cancer was diagnosed and 20 at the time of his death.
The Cilek family – Jeff, his wife, Kathy, and Jack’s younger brother, Robert – subsequently focused endowment efforts at Bishop Kelly and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in recognition of Jack. Multiple students have been the recipients of scholarship support connected to the events and funds that now bear Jack’s name. Last year, more than $63,000 was raised through the golf event.
The event started by Bob and Tena Lokken and Jeff Rutherford of WhiteCloud Analytics has grown exponentially in its first two years. This year, friends of the Cilek family from Twin Falls and throughout the Treasure Valley, friends of Jack’s from high school and friends of Jeff’s from his own college days in Iowa – 88 participants in all – enjoyed two days of golf for the cause. Among the 22 sponsors, the golfers and the 140 supporters in attendance at Saturday’s barbecue and auction, the event raised more than $82,000.
In remarks he prepared for the weekend event, Jeff Cilek addressed the tragedy of cancer and urgency around cancers such as his son had.
“Cancer is ugly. It cuts lives short and wrecks families,” he said. “And the number of very rare cancers is increasing, not decreasing. Cancer is morphing into new subtypes faster than we can keep up.
“The only way to address this is through research,” he said. “More research. Lots more research.”
If you’d like to support the MSTI Clinical Research Fund in Jack Cilek’s name or the Jack Cilek Memorial Scholarship Fund, call St. Luke’s Health Foundation at 381-2123.
Roya Camp is managing editor and executive communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.