When James Broach set out to to raise funds and awareness for adult brain cancer research, he knew his efforts were coming too late to help his own diagnosis. Still, he was undeterred, and having the most aggressive form of the deadly and historically underfunded disease—a grade IV astrocytoma, also known as a glioblastoma, which later killed Sen. John McCain—only heightened his desire to help find a cure for other patients despite the arduous treatments, surgeries, and experimental trials he was enduring all the while.
"James was truly an inspiration to all those who knew him. Though he knew the research would not come in time to help him, he wanted to find a way to help others," said his wife, Jamie. "Research requires resources, and he knew the faster we can fund promising novel research projects, the faster we will find a cure for this disease."
Broach died on August 26, 2013 at age 37, but his fight lives on through the couple's non-profit, The Broach Foundation, which has raised more than $5 million for brain cancer research to date. Last week, the Foundation hosted its eighth annual Stand Up for Brain Cancer Gala at River Oaks Country Club.
Jamie Broach Byrd and Jeff Byrd led the effort, which raised more than $500,000 for the cause at MD Anderson Cancer Center. As is Broach Foundation tradition, the evening was grounded in laughter—stand-up comedian John Crist headlined this year's event, while previous galas have seen sets from hilarious heavyweights like Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Dana Carvey, and Kevin Nealon.
More than 500 guests came out to support, including doctors, philanthropists, and socialites. Table settings doubled as disclaimers with a warning printed on place-cards: "We are not responsible for laugh lines that may occur."