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Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Changes Lives
Friday, August 20, 2021


Seven-year-old Mahonri “Ri” Conde hasn’t taken his place on the golf tee just yet. But he’s a big part of the 45th annual Killebrew-Thompson Memorial golf tourney being held in Sun Valley this week.

The boy, who is in Sun Valley for the event, is one of the hundreds and thousands of reasons the four-day charity event is held each year.

Conde’s story started with a simple fall from a tree. But, rather than get better over the next week, his symptoms escalated from a persistent backache to the sudden onset of scoliosis to his whole body going numb from his neck down.

An MRI revealed that he had pilocytic astrocytoma, a slow-growing tumor attached to his spine. Surgery couldn’t get the entire tumor because of its location along the spinal cord and a check-up three months later revealed the tumor was still growing.

Chemotherapy was not a promising option. But Conde was accepted into a clinical trial at St. Luke’s Children’s for Selumetinib, a drug the FDA has approved to treat other forms of cancer. He now takes four pills a day with few side effects.

“It’s easy,” said the youngster. “It helps keep my tumor from growing.”

Clinical trials like this are made possible through efforts like the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial, said Hannah Stauts, executive director of KTM: “Ri’s story is an extraordinary testament to why funding for cancer research and patient care is so critical, and how it can improve and/or change an entire family’s life.”

Ri’s father Jake Conde agreed. “This gave us a chance to think there’s a life beyond cancer.”

“It just means the world to be able to give a little of my kid’s childhood back to him,” added his mother, Michelle Conde.

The golf tourney founded in 1977 is one of the leading fundraisers of its kind for cancer research, having contributed $18.9 million to its two beneficiaries—St. Luke’s Cancer Institute in Boise and the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Last year’s fundraiser raised $925,000 for cancer research in a virtual competition spread across 16 states coupled with a virtual auction livestreamed from the Argyros in Ketchum.

More than 300 people from across the country are participating in this year’s affair, which includes a two-day golf tournament, a Cancer in Focus lecture, a live and silent Auction Gala and a Concert for a Cure benefit concert. Unfortunately, this year’s concert is not open to the public due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.

St. Luke’s Cancer Institute is the only cancer treatment center for children in Idaho.
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