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Fundraiser to support Iowa Senate leader and others with brain cancer


July 10th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – There’s a fundraiser in Ankeny tomorrow night to support cancer research and medical expenses for State Senator Jack Whitver and other families with medical expenses related to a diagnosis of brain cancer.

State Senator Brad Zaun said over 450 tickets have already been sold. “This isn’t about Republican-Democrat,” Zaun says. “It’s not about politics. It’s about trying to help out the Whitver family.”

Whitver, who is 43, announced in mid-May he is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Dan McCarney, Whitver’s coach when Whitver was a starting wide receiver for the Iowa State football team, has helped plan the event and current Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz is among those who’ll attend.

Zaun said many of Whitver’s former teammates from Iowa State are coming, too, including some who’d be familiar names to longtime Iowa sports fans. “Like Seneca Wallace and Lane Danielson and some of those people,” Zaun said. “Certainly Jack had a lot of big plays himself when he was at Iowa State.”

Zaun, who described himself as a Hawkeye fan, says it’s been a privilege to listen as Whitver’s former coach and teammates talk about Whitver.

“He’s certainly done some incredible things as a former athlete, walking on at Iowa State,” Zaun said. “I always tell him: ‘Hey, listen. This cancer’s nothing because you beat the heck out of the Hawkeyes. You can certain beat this cancer after beating the Hawkeyes. Jack’s in good spirits.”

Iowa State beat Iowa in four of the five seasons Whitver was on the Iowa State football team.

The money raised at Thursday’s event are going to a foundation. Proceeds that aren’t used to cover Whitver’s out-of-pocket expenses for cancer treatment will be used to support cancer research and other families facing a similar diagnosis.

Whitver and his wife Rachel are the parents of three children. Whitver was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2011 and has been Senate Majority Leader since March of 2018.