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Kirklander’s Night Out for a Cure raises $185,000
Kirkland native and Lake Washington High School graduate John Fiala has done a lot with his life.
After playing football at the University of Washington, he went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.
But probably one of the most rewarding accomplishments is his contribution toward fighting cancer.
“When I was in college, my mom had ovarian cancer,” Fiala said, who currently works in Kirkland with Windemere Real Estate. “She’s doing well and hasn’t had any more problems there, but it’s a scary time especially for children having parents have cancer.”
Since then, Fiala’s dad has had a form of leukemia and his mother-in-law has passed away from the disease.
As a way to combat the illness that kills millions around the world, Fiala helped found a nonprofit deemed The Madhouse Project.
Once a year since 2005, Fiala and six college friends from the University of Washington put on an event called “Night Out for a Cure” under The Madhouse Project.
This year, held on May 3, the 10th annual Night Out for a Cure generated $185,000 through a live and silent auction. The project has raised more than $600,000 to support the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance through The Madhouse Project Critical Needs Fund since it’s inception.
Madhouse Project’s board members Fiala, Phil Friedman, Mitch Morando, Brad Newcomer and Kurt Shintaffer got the organization’s name from a house they had all lived in around 1996 after attending the University of Washington.
The house, an older fraternity, was “affectionately” nicknamed The Madhouse. But the six slowly grew apart throughout the years as jobs and continued-education dispersed them throughout the country.
Finding themselves back in the Seattle area wanting to help out their community in some way, the six reunited.
“We realized we have a good source of people we know,” Fiala said. “We decided that cancer was something that had affected our families or someone we had all known.”
In their first year, they raised about $16,000 and now they raise more than $170,000 annually.
“We’re beyond ourselves now,” he said, “in just how gracious society is.”
The funds go beyond the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s regular operating budget and are designated toward the smaller things, Fiala said.
“We’ve helped fund a theater for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance house,” he said. “We’ve bought a shuttle that takes patients places. Classes, retreats, we’ve helped build a children’s play room.”
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a cancer treatment center that connects doctors from Seattle Children’s Hospital, UW Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“What I’m truly honored about is the people I’m associated with on the board,” Fiala said. “We all come from different backgrounds and we’re all here for a common cause.”