Nike co-founder pledges $500M for cancer research

The Associated Press /

Published Sep 22, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

PORTLAND — Nike Inc. co-founder Phil Knight pledged $500 million to Oregon Health and Science University in the form of a challenge he hopes will launch a $1 billion cancer research initiative.

The gift is contingent on OHSU raising at least $500 million for cancer within two years. The gift, announced Saturday by the hospital, is the third one from Knight and his wife, Penny, to OHSU. A 2008 gift of $100 million went to the hospital’s Knight Cancer Institute.

The Knights announced the gift Friday night at a gala for the cancer institute.

“It is incumbent on every one of us to do what he or she can to keep the miracles coming,” Knight said, in comments distributed by the hospital.

Knight Cancer Institute Director Dr. Brian Druker, who helped develop a drug that targets genetic defects in a particular cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed, said the pledge will help kick-start solutions to the next major challenges in cancer research.