To say Dennis Cavner is a supporter of the LIVESTRONG Foundation would be a vast understatement. Since being involved from the Foundation’s infancy, Dennis has served as the Vice Chairman of the Board from 2003 through 2005 and then as Chairman of the Board from 2005 through 2007.
Presently, Dennis remains on the Board of Directors and is a member of the Financial Committee. Dennis’s commitment to our mission extends well beyond his professional relationship with the Foundation. His commitment is a personal one.
Dennis grew up in a small East Texas town with what he described as very modest means. He said growing up in that type of environment meant you were no stranger to hardship, but when life got tough you put your head down and kept going. However the struggles cancer presents cannot be passively addressed. By the time he was a teenager cancer had played a major role in his life. He lost his Father at the age of 9 and then four years later he lost his mother at the age of 13 both to cancer.
For many years cancer had acted as a negative force in Dennis’s life. He did not appropriately deal with the swell of emotions that came as a result of losing so much at such a young age. It wasn’t until Dennis became involved with the Foundation that his views of cancer began to change. He was inspired by the community of people who had the courage to stand up and share their stories. It was then that he learned that his relationship with cancer was not unique, and the Foundation provided an outlet to give back so people did not have to endure the same hardships he did.
Dennis is a member of the Foundations President’s Circle, and he played a major part making the Foundation the success that it is today. In the early days the Foundation’s entire marketing effort was focused on bringing a community together so they could share their stories, and from that came tremendous grassroots support. Today, Dennis remains optimistic about the outlook of the Foundation and points to the grassroots support as the reason for his optimism.
“What the Foundation does is extremely important, and with as much progress as we have made, the opportunity for us to do more is even greater,” Dennis says about the work we do at the Foundation. “The opportunity with Cancer Navigation is enormous. We assist people with incredibly complex and difficult problems at a time when their world is spinning out of control. It is a huge service. It is life saving. It is difficult for anyone to battle cancer, but when you add in financial, cultural, and language barriers it can seem almost impossible to overcome.”