Erg Challenge - Wisconsin

$70,000 for US Cancer Research

On February 13th, 2019 five of the top rowing universities in the US competed in a 100km virtual erg rowing challenge for pediatric brain cancer research.

The fourth annual Connor’s Erg was the biggest yet – raising over $70,000 (USD) for brain matters.

What started out as a 100km erg challenge between UW-Madison and Stanford, expanded to three other teams this year to include, MIT, Syracuse and Princeton. This expansion is partly due to Aussie rowers attending these schools and spreading the word about the cause.

Alexander Douglas is one such Aussie, a senior member of the Syracuse Crew team, he says the event makes all the workouts worth it.

“We have a real opportunity here and I think it’s really important for us to try to give back and to help those who can’t go out and row and compete in these sports. They are just trying to get healthy,” Douglas said.

Following a stellar high school rowing career in Australia, Connor was determined to attend and row for Wisconsin or Stanford until he was robbed of the chance.

“Connor’s Erg Challenge serves as a way to honor Connor’s passion for rowing while raising needed funds for brain cancer research,” said Liz Dawes.

Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease in both the US and Australia and given Connor’s Australian American heritage, the foundation found it only fitting to link the two countries to make the most of research initiatives for patients.

Connor’s Erg has raised a total of $120,000 for pediatric brain cancer research to date.

Of the money raised this year, a $25,000 research grant will go directly to the Monje Lab at Stanford, thanks to Northwestern Mutual sponsorship, in partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

“Support from events like Connor’s Erg Challenge helps to spur innovative research, because that kind of flexible funding provides brain tumor scientists with the ability to test new hypotheses and go in new scientific directions,” said Michelle Monje, a preeminent pediatric brain cancer researcher and associate professor of neurology at Stanford.

The Wisconsin rowing team had previously been undefeated the last three years, however this year Princeton women and Syracuse men took home the Connor Cup.

Wisconsin did however top the schools in fundraising, with over $8,000 raised.

Funds raised at each school will benefit the respective universities’ neuroscience departments. The remaining money raised will benefit the RCD Foundation and its U.S. brain cancer research projects.

We’d like to give a big thanks to this year’s major event sponsors – Northwestern Mutual and Jacobus Energy.

Doctor Michelle Monje and RCDF founder + CEO, Liz Dawes
(L) RCD Foundation CEO Liz Dawes (R) Doctor Michelle Monje

Badgers rowers participate in Connor’s Erg Challenge to raise awareness for brain cancer