Propane-fueled cancer research fund reaches $1 million

May 24, 2018 By    

Each cooperative pledged to donate $1 for every delivery stop of bulk propane. Photos courtesy of Fueling the Cure.

In 2009, three Ohio-based cooperatives – United Landmark, Southwest Landmark and Heritage Cooperative – founded “Fueling the Cure” with the goal of working together to raise $50,000 for breast cancer research. As of December 2017, the fund had raised $1 million.

Each company pledged to donate $1 for every delivery stop of bulk propane. Today, the organization is now a collaboration between four Ohio cooperatives and one based in Indiana.

“That first year, we set our sights on raising $35,000,” says Thad Dixon, one of the program’s founders and former board chairman of Fueling the Cure.

Dixon, whose aunt was battling cancer, found a personal connection to the cause.

“We wanted to make a difference and we thought it was a great way for the co-ops to work together and contribute to our communities,” Dixon says. “After all, everyone is affected in one way or another by cancer, so it was an easy effort to get behind.”

In conjunction with the launch of the cooperation, the participating co-ops wrapped a number of their propane tankers with bold, pink messaging promoting Fueling the Cure.

All of the money raised goes directly into Cooperatives for the Cure of Cancer. Photo courtesy of Fueling the Cure.

“It just took off,” says Eric Leindecker, the current board chairman. “Customers were thrilled to be a part of raising money, and everybody wanted to drive one of those pink trucks. Over time, other area cooperatives sought to get involved, too. We soon realized we could raise a whole lot more than $50,000.”

As 2017 drew to a close, the five co-ops now involved – United Landmark, Heritage Cooperative, Sunrise Cooperative, Centerra Cooperative and Premier-Ag – announced they had raised more than $1 million.

According to the foundation, all of the money raised goes directly into Cooperatives for the Cure of Cancer, an endowment fund the organizations established in 2011 at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Steven Clinton oversees the fund.

“Throughout the decades, OSU research has contributed substantially to the productivity and success of agriculture,” Clinton says. “More recently food and agricultural scientists are collaborating closely with The James Cancer Hospital to provide novel new foods and dietary strategies to promote cancer prevention and enhance the efficacy of therapy and survivorship. The Fueling the Cure effort continues to support the research that will be critical to elimination of cancer as a major health burden for future generations.”

Though the co-ops compete for business, they plan to continue working cooperatively together to raise money.

“Every dollar that we raise goes directly to cancer research. In addition, this has united our employees, the co-ops themselves and our customers. That’s a win-win-win, and we don’t plan to stop,” Leindecker says.

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Joe McCarthy was an associate editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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