One rock legend calls golf the common denominator that this week is bridging his heavy metal world with Oklahoma's science community.
The sport, a concert, and a chance to cure brain cancer, are what brought Alice Cooper to Oklahoma City this week.
His presence helped raise $675,500 for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation on Sunday night, with a concert and wine festival at foundation headquarters.
A charity golf tournament Monday at Edmond's Oak Tree Country Club will complete fundraising efforts for “241” — two events for one great cause.
The mission behind the “241” initiative is to raise money for clinical trials of a drug that could potentially shrink brain tumors caused by an aggressive cancer, Glioblastoma.
According to a foundation news release, the compound used in the drug has resulted in significant shrinkage in brain tumors of laboratory animals. However, to begin clinical trials on humans, more than $1 million must be raised.
Cooper, an avid golfer and the man behind hits such as “School's Out” and “Eighteen,” met Stephen Prescott, foundation president, while playing golf years ago.
So when Prescott asked Cooper to be the surprise guest at a fundraiser concert and golf tournament, Cooper jumped at the opportunity.
It was in between concert tour dates for Cooper, and he said he never misses out on an opportunity to play golf, especially for a worthy cause.
Cooper sat down with a reporter from The Oklahoman on Sunday before his surprise concert to talk about, golf, Oklahoma and cancer treatment.
He was drinking a Diet Coke and wearing a silver chain and light leather jacket but not his signature makeup for which he is known for wearing when he performs.
Q. You're playing in a golf tournament fundraiser tomorrow. Are you worried about the triple-digit heat?
A. I'm from Arizona. I'm used to dry heat, 120 degrees. This is hotter to me than Arizona. But it's golf; we're not wimps. We're rock 'n' rollers; we're not wimps. We have no problem with that.
Q. Why was it important for you to help support the foundation's research?
A. He (Prescott) explained to me what it really was, and me not being a doctor at all, even though I said I would assist in some of the operations. (laughs) … The idea that it works in mice, and they need the money to work it on humans. It seems to me that we've got to go there. We've got to raise money to do that. He explained that to me, so I said, ‘Let's go raise the money to do that.' … These guys seem to pinpoint the problem, and boy, that's the whole trick, isn't it, getting to the root of the problem? These guys do it.
Q. What should people in the community take away from this event and the foundation's research?
A. They should be proud all of this is being done in Oklahoma. You just had the Thunder in the NBA Finals, but this is something you should be even more proud of. If this works, and I'm sure it will, this will be shown back on Oklahoma as being the mother of this thing. I think the whole state can be proud of that. We're the ones that beat brain cancer. That's pretty good bragging rights.
About the foundation
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City dedicated to researching treatments for brain, heart and immune diseases. OMRF's headquarters is at 825 NE 13.
To learn more
For information about donating to cancer research through the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, go to omrf.