Bill Moos praises Rex Burkhead's national movement against pediatric brain cancer. Photo by Mark Kresl.
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Bill Moos Big Hit for Pediatric Brain Cancer Families

By Randy York

Was Nation's No. 1 Highlight the Best TD Ever?

Last Saturday night’s sold-out fifth annual Team Jack Foundation Gala at Lincoln’s downtown Embassy Suites picked up a new and important passenger to help Nebraska Football impact pediatric brain cancer research and enhance national awareness for the disease.

Bill Moos, a rancher who now serves as Nebraska’s director of athletics, honored three die-hard Huskers Saturday night. Rex Burkhead, now a running back for the New England Patriots, was the first.

Jack Hoffman, Rex’s little buddy, was the second. Well known for setting Nebraska’s Spring Game rushing touchdown record, Jack drew substantial national and international media coverage.

The Team Jack Foundation, the formation that created the first two, is the third pillar.

“We were so honored that Bill Moos and his wife Kendra were able to attend our event,” Andy Hoffman (Jack's dad) told me. “We were thrilled by his message and delighted by his presence because it meant so much to all of the child brain cancer families."

Andy, Jack’s dad and an attorney at law in Nebraska, is co-founder of the Team Jack Foundation. He is a catalyst for helping Team Jack raise nearly $5 million for pediatric brain cancer research.

“We were equally excited to have so many of Nebraska’s new football coaches at The Gala,” Andy said, pointing out that Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost had a commitment that prevented him from attending the event.

“With a new athletic director and a new football staff, we were excited to show them the gigantic impact that Nebraska Athletics has had on helping Team Jack fight this disease,” Hoffman said.

“Now, as a result of that support, we are on the cusp of bringing world-class treatments back to Nebraska to help fight this disease,” Andy said.

Nebraska fans sold out the venue and gave Moos an enthusiastic standing ovation. “Someone in the VIP section said I should run for governor,” Moos said. “My response was who would want to be the governor when you can be the athletic director at the University of Nebraska?”

"Seriously, Kendra and I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of Nebraska fans,” Moos said. “We are still in awe.”

Moos reminded fans that the East Side of Memorial Stadium “has a sign that says Through These Gates Are the Greatest Fans in College Football.

Nebraska’s first-year A.D. appreciates pomp and circumstance. “Husker fans are special in the way they support their teams,” he said. “They really do stick together in all kinds of weather. I am not surprised at all to see Husker fans get behind a cause like this one. There is no bigger need and no tougher battle than the fight against pediatric brain cancer.  

“I am so honored to have this opportunity to spend very special time with amazing children who are battling this terrible disease,” Moos said. “I congratulate the Hoffman family and the Team Jack Foundation for this amazing benefit to celebrate the fifth anniversary in a quest to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

“They are doing amazing things with Dr. (Jeff) Gold at the University of Nebraska Medical Center,” Moos said. “Nebraska started it for the Big Ten Conference and universities from Power Five conferences are doing whatever they can to help fight this terrible disease.”

Moos (above left with Jack and Andy Hoffman) is a strong believer in honoring the past, living in the present and helping define the future. He marvels seeing at least 25 former Husker football players attending a nationally prominent cause to help leaders like Burkhead engineer incredible support both in Lincoln and in Plano, Texas, his hometown.

“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity of spreading awareness for pediatric brain cancer,” Burkhead said.

On March 24th, Burkhead will host the Team Jack Trifecta in Plano to help raise much needed funds for child brain cancer research.

On Sunday, July 15th in Lincoln, Nebraska Football will host a 1-mile Fun Run and a 5K competitive run in an ongoing road race for Nebraska’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

Team Jack plays a critical role in supporting research due to little federal funding.

Burkhead is like a magnet in drawing fellow NFL players to join the cause. The list is long and impressive: Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Jeremiaha Sirles, Will Compton, Spencer Long, Chris Kelsay, Nate Gerry, Quincy Enunwa, Barrett Ruud, Brent Qvale, Zach Sterup, Jordan Westerkamp, Brandon Reilly, Trevor Roach, Lavonte David, Josh Mitchell, Tyler Evans, Jay Moore, Derek Foster, Jake Cotton, Trey Foster, Tobi Okuyemi and Jerald Foster.

“Those guys and others have made this Gala one of the largest single-day cancer fundraisers in the state,” Andy Hoffman said. “Nebraska is a generous state. There is no place like it.

“We are very excited for the next chapter,” Hoffman added. “We are going to continue to press the gas pedal by funding national research and clinical trials. We’re doubling our efforts to help accelerate Nebraska’s place in the country as being a top center. With the first $3 million committed and raised, we are excited about our new $5 million pledge to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in our quest to make it a center of excellence in the fight against child brain cancer.”

During a night filled with emotion and inspiration, Moos provided exciting news for more than 20 Nebraska child brain cancer families in attendance. He announced that the 7th annual Nebraska Football Uplifting Athletes' Chapter for pediatric brain cancer awareness will be held on September 29th when the Huskers host Purdue.

The date is a perfect time for Nebraska Football to honor childhood cancer awareness month as an important part of the Huskers' overall DNA.

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