Rally Against Cancer | John Stoddard Cancer Center





The diagnosis of cancer changes lives forever. For patients and families the changes are often physical, emotional and psychological. Rally Against Cancer raises money to help the patients and families at John Stoddard Cancer Center while they are going through one of the hardest fights of their lives. The proceeds support the John Stoddard Cancer Oncology Navigator Program, as well as other programs that provide healing and overall well-being of patients and their families.

Programs Supported

Oncology Navigators

John Stoddard Cancer Oncology Navigators are specially-trained oncology nurses and social workers who understand both the medical and emotional aspects of the cancer journey. The oncology navigator works hand-in-hand with the rest of TeamStoddard to help patients and their families understand and utilize all of the resources available to them within John Stoddard, UnityPoint Health - Des Moines and the community. Their familiarity with the process allows them to identify and prepare patients for what is coming next, as well as equipping them to identify and meet needs as they arrive.

The main goal of each oncology navigator is to walk along with patients and families and guide them through the process, providing support and hope. The oncology navigator service is available to all patients at no cost. It is funded through philanthropy and represents Stoddard's commitment to providing comprehensive care to its patients and families. 

The video below perfectly showcases the impact Oncology Navigators have on our patients and their families. 


Adolescent Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program

Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 - 35. John Stoddard Cancer Center and Blank Children's Hospital have joined together to provide this group with specialized coordinated care.

Philanthropy helps provide these individuals and their care team with the resources they need to remain focused on the goals of delivering individualized care plans, increasing enrollment in clinical trials, providing access to resources, raising awareness and, as a result, improving outcomes for these patients.

Compassion Fund

The John Stoddard Cancer Center Compassion Fund provides additional support to patients and families beyond what the hospital is able to provide. This assistance is based on financial need and is designed to respond to the unique medical needs of patients and their families, which can include gas cards for those that travel far distances, overnight accommodations and special treatment-related dietary needs.

The Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Endowment

The Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Endowment recognizes cancer treatment involves the mind, body and spirit. This Endowment will be used to help patients, caregivers and their families maintain quality of life when faced with a cancer diagnosis. This may include resources on fitness as well as complementary therapies such as massage, yoga, acupuncture, guided imagery, and music and art therapy. The Endowment seeks to empower people who face cancer to maintain a high quality of life, and the tools to live each day fully.

The Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Endowment will empower patients and caregivers facing a cancer diagnosis by providing tools to help them live every day to its fullest potential and enhance their quality of life.

Charlie said it best, "Life is full of peaks and valleys. It's all about how you get out of those valleys and climb to the next peak. This is where keeping a positive attitude and a forward thinking mindset is crucial."

Team Stoddard

To successfully tackle cancer, it takes an entire team working together to coordinate care and develop individualized game plans. At the center of every play is the patient, the family and the caregiver, who are surrounded by a dedicated team of nurses, physicians, oncology navigators, volunteers and support staff.

Team Stoddard is made up of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, dietitians, nurses, oncology navigators and counselors along with other important team members; all of whom are focused on ensuring our patients receive coordinated and technologically advanced cancer care close to home. 

In recognition of their hard work and dedication to their patients and families, Team Stoddard was proud to receive the 2013 Commission on Cancer's Outstanding Achievement Award.  John Stoddard Cancer Center is also accredited by the Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers. 


Rally Against Cancer was created out of the love for a mother, Helen Hampton, who lost her battle with cancer in 1997. Her daughter, Kim Johnson, was so impressed with the treatment, compassion and overall coordinated care that her mother and her family received during Helen's battle with cancer that she approached the John Stoddard Cancer Center about establishing an event to raise money and awareness for the patients and families at John Stoddard Cancer Center.

This annual fundraising event includes a silent and live auction, dinner and presentation by a special guest speaker. Since 2002, Rally Against Cancer has netted over $3.1 million to support the programs and services John Stoddard Cancer Center provides to patients and families to help improve their quality of life throughout treatment and beyond.



Vince Papale

We are excited to announce the 2019 Rally Against Cancer featured speaker is Vince Papale, former NFL player and colon cancer survivor.

Our speaker, Vince Papale, is a former member of the Philadelphia Eagles and was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the 2006 Disney movie, Invincible. Vince has an amazing "underdog" story to share. Never playing college football and at the age of 30 working as a high school teacher/coach and part-time bartender, this die hard Eagles fan acted on a whim and a dare and accepted an invitation to participate in a citywide tryout announced by Eagles new head coach, Dick Vermeil. 

Inspired by this quote from his high school coach mentor, "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make those dreams come true", he figured he had nothing to lose.
Given no chance to make it past tryouts, Vince's incredible effort and determination not only earned him a spot at the Eagle's training camp, but ultimately a position on the team roster from 1976-78 as a special teams player and wide receiver. Outside of kickers, Papale holds the record for the oldest rookie in the National Football League to not play college football.

As compelling and motivating as his football journey, Vince employed the same fight and tenacity when later diagnosed with colon cancer. Just as he became a Philadelphia Eagle, Vince was similarly successful in becoming a cancer survivor. 

Past Speakers

2018: Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medal Skater, Broadcaster, and Cancer Survivor

2017: Shannon Miller, Olympian, Entrepreneur and Cancer Survivor 

2016: Jim Kelly, Retired Buffalo Bills quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer

2015: Mark Herzlich, New York Giants Linebacker and Cancer Survivor

2014: Mike Haynes, Former Los Angeles Raiders Defensive Back, Cancer Survivor, and NFL Hall of Fame

2013: Chris Draft, Former NFL Linebacker and Cancer Advocate

2012: Merril Hoge, Former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back, ESPN Analyst and Cancer Survivor

2011: Chris Spielman, Former Detroit Lions Linebacker and Cancer Advocate

2010: Mike Ditka, Former Chicago Bears Tight End, Chicago Bears Coach and NFL Hall of Fame

2009: Marv Levy, Former Buffalo Bills Coach, NFL Hall of Fame and Cancer Survivor

2008: Gale Sayers, Former Chicago Bears Running Back and NFL Hall of Fame

2007: Craig Morton, Former Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos Quarterback, and Cancer Survivor

2006: Len Dawson, Former Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback, Super Bowl IV MVP, and NFL Hall of Fame

2005: Art Still, Former Kansas City Chiefs & Buffalo Bills Defensive End, and NFL Pro Bowler

2004: Marv Cook, Former University of Iowa All-American, New England Patriots tight end, and NFL All-Pro

2003: Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa Football Coach

2002: John Keck, Former NFL Referee



To register on-line, click here

The biggest contribution you can give to Rally Against Cancer is your attendance at their annual event. All proceeds from this event, including money raised from ticket sales and during auctions, directly benefits the John Stoddard Cancer Center Oncology Navigator Program. The Cancer Center provides a wide range of patient and family support services and one of the most technologically advanced radiation oncology departments available in the Midwest. We are proud to have raised $3.1 million since the inception of Rally Against Cancer, all of which benefits local cancer patients here in our community.

Where: The Ron Pearson Center at Hy-Vee's Corporate Headquarters, 5820 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266

When: Saturday, January 26, 2019 beginning at 6 p.m.

  • Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvre stations
  • Live music
  • Silent and live auctions
  • Program and featured speaker Vince Papale, Former NFL Football Player and Colon Cancer Survivor
  • Tickets are $200 per person, of which $125 is tax deductible as prescribed by law.

RSVP by January 15, 2019.

Mobile Bidding

Rally Against Cancer will be participating in mobile bidding during our annual silent auction. Participants will now be able to bid for auction items using their personal cell phones. This includes real-time alerts and updates of the auction items. It's now easier to give back than ever before.  Be sure to charge your phone before you arrive. 


To register on-line, click here.  If you have any questions, please call 515-241-6304.  


$200/person ($125 per ticket is tax deductible as prescribed by law). 

If you wish to be invoiced, or pay with cash/check, please contact the UnityPoint Health Foundation - Des Moines at 515-241-6304.


John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, is at the forefront of cancer care in Iowa and the Midwest. Providing support for adult cancer patients, the Rally Against Cancer fundraiser provides necessary funds to support the oncology navigator program which assists patients and families with the tremendous journey of battling cancer.

Cancer can be a scary situation for patients and their families. Oncology navigators work to ease their minds, answer questions and plan ahead for patients.