The United Association, a union of more than 370,000 plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters and service technicians worldwide, teamed up with the Mayo Clinic yesterday to raise an estimated $1 million for cancer research.
The total marks continued growth for the Pipe Trades’ golf tournament, held for the third consecutive year at Hillcrest Country Club, which is owned by St. Paul Pipefitters Local 455. Last year the event raised $800,000.
Fundraising totals reflect money raised by the Pipe Trades and matching funds from Mayo Clinic. The proceeds are directed to three types of cancer research: children’s cancer, general cancer and multiple myeloma.
Many union leaders and guests at the tournament had a personal connection to the cause, including United Association General President William Hite. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008, Hite has been in remission for six years.
Hite traveled to St. Paul for the tournament Dr. Keith Stewart, a multiple myeloma specialist who treated Hite at the Mayo’s Phoenix campus. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, which can affect the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count.
“I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Dr. Stewart,” Hite said. “I’m living proof of the importance of the kind of research we’re helping fund here today.”
The partnership between Mayo and the UA goes beyond Hite’s cancer treatment, however.
“A lot of our members work year-round in Mayo’s Rochester, Phoenix and Florida facilities,” Hite said. “We do a lot of new construction and maintenance at their facilities as well.”
“The United Association has been a big supporter of Mayo Clinic,” said Margot Richardson, a development officer with the hospital.