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Former Sen. Connie Mack III, left, Donald Adam and Dr. William Dalton highlight the Donald A. Adam Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence at Moffitt Cancer Center. Their goal is to find a cure.

Donating to cancer research is crucial. Funding supports pioneering research endeavors like clinical trials, which uncover a deeper understanding of the disease and drive the discovery of enhanced treatment alternatives.

In 2007, Donald Adam donated

In 2007, Adam donated $20.4 million to establish the Donald A. Adam Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence.

That was Donald Adam’s goal 17 years ago when he donated $20.4 million to Moffitt Cancer Center to establish the Donald A. Adam Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence.

After being successfully treated for melanoma, Adam wanted to change the trajectory of the disease for all patients. That’s when he crossed paths with former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III. Like Adam, Mack knew firsthand the ramifications of melanoma because he lost his younger brother to the disease.

It was fate that the two met. They both shared a common goal: a cure for the disease.

After winning the U.S. senate election, Mack and his wife, Priscilla, wandered into a bookstore and discovered Dr. Steven Rosenberg’s book “The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer.”

The book inspired him to meet Rosenberg at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He decided these future technologies needed funding, and he made it his top priority to double the NIH budget, which he did successfully. He followed this technology as he became chair of Moffitt’s Board of Directors.

Seeking additional financial support, Mack approached Adam regarding assistance for a melanoma research center. His initial request was for $5 million.

Realizing that he was aligning with the best in care, Adam says he was motivated to enhance his gift by an additional $15 million.

The Donald A. Adam Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence was established to conduct research in melanoma and translate it into innovative patient treatment. The goal is for researchers to conduct clinical trials on new cancer therapies, recruit the best from around the country and pursue the Melanoma Genomics Project, which maps the development of diseases on a molecular level, dramatically improving patient diagnoses.

Adam’s donation made history as the largest single gift Moffitt has ever received. He says he was confident the cancer center would become the premier melanoma research and treatment center in the United States.

And his prediction may have been right.

After years of groundbreaking research at Moffitt, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for advanced melanoma. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte, or TIL, therapy is a first-of-its-kind cellular therapy for solid tumors that uses a patient’s own immune cells to fight their cancer.

This new therapy gives hope to those who once thought there were no other treatment options.

“When I received the news of the FDA approval, I was really hit emotionally because it was a realization that the dream I pursued had come true,” Mack said. “It was such an emotional moment. My purpose of being involved at Moffitt was to prevent other families from going through what we endured with the loss of my brother.”

Without the vision of Connie Mack III and the generosity of Donald Adam, Moffitt’s success in funding melanoma research may not have been possible. Adam’s gift exemplifies the impact of philanthropy.

“It is heartwarming and brings deep gratification to have a gift play such a significant role in providing scientists and physicians the necessary funding to effectively treat and, one day, cure a disease that takes the lives of so many diagnosed with melanoma,” Adam said. 

Like Adam and countless others, their investment into a cause, regardless of the amount, has a ripple effect. It impacts the lives of so many, has a positive change and leaves a lasting impression  

Mr. Moffitt, Ted Couch, Hwu, Tim Adams, Connie Mack II, Connie Mack IV and Priscilla Hobbs (Connie Mack III wife)

H. Lee Moffitt, left, Ted Couch, Dr. Patrick Hwu, Priscilla Mack, Tim Adams, Connie Mack III and Connie Mack IV gather at Moffitt. When he was chair of Moffitt’s Board of Directors, Mack III dreamed of creating a melanoma research center.