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Floored by the honor
For the past 24 years, Jacob Green has hosted a golf tournament and dinner/auction to raise funds for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The Seahawks’ all-time leading sacker and member of the team’s Ring of Honor got an up-close-and-personal look at where the money goes on Friday, when the third floor of the Thomas Building on the Fred Hutchinson campus in Seattle was named for Green and his foundation.
After the naming ceremony had been completed, Dr. Fred Applebaum, the facility’s clinical research director, took Green and those who had gathered to share the special moment with him on a tour of the area that is now called the Jacob Green Foundation Research Floor.
Applebaum stressed the team aspect of what transpires on the floor, comparing it to building a winning combination on the football field. He also pointed out that Fred Hutch has more dollars for its ongoing work than any other cancer research center in the country – with Green contributing more than $2.6 million over the years.
Those points, and the tour, hit home for Green, whose father died of pancreatic cancer in 1984.
“When you take that tour, then you know you’ve done the right thing,” Green said. “That’s what’s so good about working with the Hutch, because you get a chance to see it. So many people live with it and you see so many people that have been through it, then you see all the good things that can happen by what these doctors and researchers are doing here.
“That makes everything we’ve done over the years worthwhile and rewarding.”
When Green’s father died, Pete Gross, the radio voice of the Seahawks, helped him through the ordeal. Cancer then claimed Gross in 1992, which only increased Green’s commitment to helping Fred Hutch help others.
The wall that now bears Green’s name also includes a plague: “This research floor is dedicated by Jacob Green in the memory of Jacob Green Sr. and Pete Gross.”
“This has been an unbelievable day,” said Green, who was overcome by emotion during the naming ceremony. “It’s such a fantastic day for the Hutch, and then for myself and my family, and all the people who have been supporters of what I’m trying to do for 24 years.
“So to see something go up like that with Pete’s name on it and my dad’s name on it, that’s even better. It’s just a phenomenal day.”
Green shared this special day with his wife, Janet; daughter, Janelle; and son-in-law, Red Bryant, who now plays for the Seahawks and wears his father-in-law’s old number (79).
Janet Green lost her mother to undiagnosed cancer.
“We know so many people who have been touched by cancer,” she said. “So today really hits home. This is really, really special.”
The Hutch got $5,200 from Green’s first golf tournament in 1988. From that acorn of an initial donation, a mighty oak of millions has followed – and more will be on the way, Green pledged.
“When this all started, I was just hoping to help out in some little way,” Green said. “What it’s turned into is just unbelievable.
“This is quite an honor, and I’m happy about it.”