Team Jack Gala Raises $460,000 for Research

Fat Brain Toys and the Mark & Karen Carson family were the 2018 Teammate of the Year Award Winners
Dr. Tom Osborne, Keynote Speaker and Rex Burkhead, Super Bowl LIII Champion
Dr. Jonathan Schwartz, pediatric neuro-oncologist from UNMC/Chilren's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.
Representatives of the Team Jack Husker Alumni Chapter presenting their check to Team Jack.
Members of the Nathan Waggoner family acception a check for $50,000 from The Home Agency and Jim & Sharri Baldonado Family.

Team Jack Gala Raises $460,000 for Research

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lincoln, Nebr. (March 15, 2019) –On Saturday, February 23, despite winter weather conditions, the Team Jack Foundation held their sixth annual gala at Lincoln’s downtown Embassy Suites. Approximately $460,000 was raised for pediatric brain cancer research, making the 2019 event the largest to date.

Guests from all over the state, and even nation, attended the annual event in Downtown Lincoln. Super Bowl Champion and Team Jack Board Member, Rex Burkhead, welcomed the crowd, followed by the invocation by Ron Brown, Director of Player Development for Nebraska Football. Rick Allen, Grand Island, Nebraska native and NBC NASCAR announcer, handled the event’s emcee duties with grace and class for the second year in a row and added his auctioneering skills to call this year’s live auction. Joining him during the auction, was former Husker and current Buffalo Bill, Jeremiah Sirles.

Team Jack Research Update
To give those in attendance an update on the research investments made by the Foundation, Brianna Hoffman, Team Jack Co-Founder and Scientific Advisory Committee Member, detailed the Team Jack projects. To date, the Foundation has committed $8 million to eight projects, both nationally and regionally. For more information on Team Jack’s research investments visit

Omaha Project Update

Dr. Jonathan Schwartz, pediatric neuro-oncologist from UNMC/Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, followed up Brianna’s update with specifics on the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program in Omaha. To this program, the Team Jack Foundation has committed $6.5 million to help make Omaha a center of excellence for families affected by pediatric brain cancer. Families now have access to a team of pediatric brain cancer specialists, but, in time, will also have access to the latest clinical trials. This opportunity will give children affected the best care possible without the burden of having to travel across the nation.

2018 Teammate of the Year Award
The Team Jack Foundation was proud to announce Mark & Karen Carson and Fat Brain Toys as the 2018 Teammate of the Year Award Recipient. In addition to Fat Brain Toys being the Gala Presenting Sponsor for the fourth straight year, they also presented a $22,209 check to Team Jack from their annual “Round Up for Team Jack” campaign, which they give their online shoppers an opportunity to round up one dollar for Team Jack at the time of checkout.

Spotlight Story: Remembering Nathan Waggoner
Each year, a highlight of the gala is to feature a child that has been affected by brain cancer. This year, presented by The Home Agency, the Spotlight Story featured Nathan Waggoner, who passed away in 2010 at age 17 from DIPG, the deadliest form of pediatric brain cancer. The Home Agency and the Jim and Sharri Baldonado Family presented the Waggoner Family a check in the amount of $50,000 to Team Jack in Nathan’s memory.

NEW DIPG Project Announcement

Following this emotional and impactful moment, the Foundation announced a new research project commitment of $150,000 to Dr. Richard Phillips at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City for DIPG research. The project focuses on a new drug delivery method that would lead to new treatments for kids with DIPG and potentially other types of tumors as well. A video of Dr. Phillips shared the project summary with the guests.

Team Jack Husker Alumni Chapter
The Team Jack Husker Alumni Chapters (comprised of former Huskers) generously donated $31,000 to the Team Jack Foundation this year. Presenting the check on the behalf of the alumni chapters were: Jeremiah Sirles (Buffalo Bills), Spencer Long (Buffalo Bills), Brent Qvale (New York Jets), Zach Sterup (Miami Dolphins), Rex Burkhead (New England Patriots), Brett Maher (Dallas Cowboys) and other former Huskers. These former Huskers continue to embrace the local families affected by the disease as well as use their platform to help raise significant awareness for pediatric brain cancer.

For more about the 2019 Gala and a link to the event photos, courtesy of Jessica Blex Photography, visit

About Team Jack
For more information on The Team Jack Foundation, please visit the website: Follow The Team Jack Foundation on and on Twitter: @TeamJack.