Tailgate For the Cure


Fall 2008 (1st Annual Tailgate for the Cure)

The Tailgate for the Cure started as a simple idea –to throw a party to celebrate and honor the father of one of our good friends who had just passed away from pancreatic cancer.


John Kaus, Sr. served for years as the Allegheny County fire marshal and was just one of those guys that everyone respected and loved to be around. We got to know him because he was the father of Justine (Kaus) Wallace – who had married one of our buddies – Dave “Howdy” Wallace. (We’re never quite sure how Howdy landed Justine, but that’s beside the point.) John Kaus struggled against pancreatic cancer for 6-7 years until he finally succumbed on September 23rd, 2008. 



Justing holding photo of her dad
Justine (Kaus) Wallace holding a photo of her Dad, John Kaus Sr.
John Kaus Sr.
Close up of photo: John Kaus Sr.

We got together and decided to host a tailgate to raise money in his name and donate it to Pancreatic Cancer Research Network.  On November 28, 2008 we held the 1st annual Tailgate for the Cure prior to the Pitt/WVU Back Yard Brawl. We had a surprising turnout and without doing much more than passing the hat, we raised $1,190.  Not bad for a party. 

2009 (2nd Annual Tailgate for the Cure) 

Over the course of 2009, we learned that several friends and family members were stricken with various forms of cancer ranging from melanoma to breast cancer. So, we decided to make our official cause the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. The 2nd Annual Tailgate for the Cure was held the following year when Pitt played Notre Dame on November 14, 2009. We spread the word a bit, got a few more people to attend, and managed to raise $2,225.   Our sports affiliation fit well with what the Jimmy V Foundation stands for. 


2010 (3rd Annual Tailgate for the Cure)
We got a late start for our 3rd annual event, but actually managed to do more.  We asked friends and family to donate items that we could auction-off to raise even a bit more money. The Pitt/WVU Back Yard Brawl fell on November 26, 2010. This time, we raised $3,010 for the Jimmy V Foundation (NOTE: we collected $4,185 – which means we donated 72% of all money collected at the event). 


2011 (4th Annual Tailgate for the Cure) 

We took it to a whole other level in 2011 - with live music by Shades of June, a bunch of sponsors, a huge auction, and the addition of the Wind-Up-Toy-Race. Over 250 people attended the tailgate. We collected $14,367 via tickets, sponsorships, games, the auction, and other donations.

We were able to donate $10,024 to the Jimmy V Foundation. In addition, we've done some stuff behind the scenes. We built the website and added Twitter, and Facebook to our communication channels. We also incorporated, registered the “Tailgate for the Cure” name and trade-marked the logo.

2012 (5th Annual Tailgate for the Cure)
Our signature event hosted on Saturday, November 24th, 2012, raised $12,512 for the the V Foundation for Cancer Research. We had over 200 people in attendance and while the freezing weather put a damper on the turn-out a bit, the people who attended had a great time and raised a ton of money to fight cancer.  Thank you all for another successful tailgate. 


2013 (6th Annual Tailgate for the Cure)

We made in-roads with the University of Pittsburgh and UMPC. In turn, we changed our charity to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and made and donated $22,376 to the UPCI for cancer research programs at the Hillman Cancer Center

2014 (7th Annual Tailgate for the Cure)

The big news for 2014 - we became a full-blown 501c3 Charity organization recognized by the IRS. Additionally, we extended our reach and had two additional Pitt alumni groups (Erie and Austin) host small tailgate fundraisers at events in their city. In the end, we were able to raise $24,043 and donate it to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). We continued the growth trend! 

2015 (8th Annual Tailgate for the Cure)

The 2015 version of TG4C was held held October 10th. We raised $24,621 - brining our grand total to $100,001 over eight years. Thank you EVERYONE for supporting our effort.