Recently, I received a letter from a reader suggesting that Cigar Aficionado magazine designate a charity so that he could make a donation to a worthy cause. It's a good idea. There's no doubt in my mind which charity it should be: CaPCure, a charity that funds research to find a cure for prostate cancer, the cancer that affects more men than any other.
Three years ago, I attended one of the organization's first fund-raisers in New York. It was held at the '21' Club restaurant. I have never been so moved at a charity dinner before. There were a number of serious and illuminating presentations by medical researchers and doctors explaining the prevalence of the disease and describing the distance we have to go to find a cure. The response from the audience, which included titans of business from across the United States, was overwhelming. Many millions of dollars were raised that night. Many more millions are needed. Since then, Cigar Aficionado magazine has donated significant dollars to CaPCure from the proceeds of our numerous cigar dinners and Big Smokes.
Why is a cure for prostate cancer so important? Here are the facts: Prostate cancer claims the life of an American man every 13 minutes. Every three minutes, a new case of prostate cancer is diagnosed. According to the American Cancer Society, each year more than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 40,000 will die from the disease. In recent years, medical studies have shown that the incidence of prostate cancer in men in their 40s and 50s has risen dramatically.
CaPCure was started by Michael Milken, the former Drexel Burnham Lambert investment banker, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1993. As he has explained many times publicly, he started this organization because he had difficulty obtaining accurate information about the disease. Today, CaPCure is the largest private provider of research funds for prostate cancer, surpassed only by the National Institute of Cancer. As a private institution, CaPCure has been able to speed the approval process for medical research proposals, approving grants within 60 days. Because all administrative costs are covered by a grant from the Foundations of the Milken Families, 100 percent of every dollar donated goes to research.
In short, this charitable research foundation is providing needed funds to combat a disease that has been neglected in the past. It is directly pertinent to men. I would like to think that we, the cigar aficionados of America, can rally together and through our collective contributions help speed the process of finding a cure for this dreaded disease.
My message to Cigar Aficionado readers is pretty straightforward. This is a charity that deserves your and my contributions. Many of us have friends or relatives who are battling this disease. We can win the war against prostate cancer.
I'd like Cigar Aficionado magazine to be able to collectively make a significant contribution to CaPCure. If you send me your checks, payable to CaPCure, we can make a giant impact in the form of one large donation. Send your checks to my attention at:
387 Park Avenue South, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10016
Please have your checks to us by April 1, so the donation can be made as soon as possible. I plan to report back to you in the next issue about the generosity of our readership. Let's show the general public just how generous and civic-minded cigar smokers can be.
Thank you in advance.
Marvin R. Shanken
Editor & Publisher