KARL and CATHI GLASSMAN

Devoted To Fighting Pancreatic Cancer

Written By Debra Gelbart
November 2019

Karl Glassman is the President and CEO of Leggett & Platt Incorporated, a 136 year-old Midwest-based manufacturing company that generates about $5 billion in annual revenue and has more than 23,000 employee-partners.

The company is comprised of 15 business units and has 145 facilities in 18 countries. Karl sits on the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers and has met presidents, governors, senators and leaders of some of the world’s largest and most high-profile organizations.

Yet he views the work of the world’s leading pancreatic cancer researcher, Dr. Daniel Von Hoff of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix and the Seena Magowitz Foundation as unmatched in “influencing humanity and truly changing people”s lives.

Beginning of Involvement Fighting Pancreatic Cancer

A bedding industry executive urged Karl to attend a major fundraising event held in 2009 in Phoenix. Glassman was so moved by the stories of pancreatic cancer survivors there and by the progress made in treating pancreatic cancer, he became one of the most devoted champions of fighting pancreatic cancer.

Karl is familiar with other types of cancer. His mother passed away from breast cancer at the young age of 54. On occasion, he is asked why he’s so much more dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer instead of breast cancer. “Breast cancer research already receives so much money for research and treatment not only from the government but from major sport organizations and other high profile enterprises,” he said. “Funding for medical research is the driving force in pursuit of early detection, extending patient quality of life and ultimately finding a cure.”

In 2016 Glassman pointed out that pancreatic cancer passed breast cancer as the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society . “That’s staggering” he said, “and underscores why we need to fight harder against pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is substantially more difficult to treat versus other cancers and does but does not receive commensurate public attention even though it is the most brutal of cancers. He is confident through grass-roots fundraising efforts by such foundations as the Seena Magowitz Foundation the gap between the low investment in pancreatic cancer research versus other cancers will begin to close.

A gauge of the severity of different types of cancers is often measured by the average 5-year survival rates of differing types of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, the average five-year survival rate for female breast cancer in 2015 was 89.9% compared to the average of pancreatic cancer at a dismal 9.3%. That is huge disparity.

Generous and Tireless Philanthropists

Under the leadership of Karl Glassman, Leggett & Platt Incorporated has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help strengthen pancreatic cancer research. Aside from company support, Karl and Cathi Glassman have also personally donated substantially to the cause through the Seena Magowitz Foundation.

“I can’t imagine spending time in both organizations and not getting involved in such a crucial cause” said Karl, who along with his wife Cathi has two grown sons–Ian and Nathan –and a grown daughter, Raychel, along with eight grandchildren and a ninth on the way.

Through the Glassman’s involvement with TGen and the Seena Magowitz Foundation, Karl has realized how generous the bedding industry is. Several mattress companies, because of Roger Magowitz’s leadership role in the industry as the former owner of a company that became a part of Mattress Firm, help sponsor Foundation fundraisers and donate to the Foundation on a regular basis. “There aren’t a lot of industries where competitors come together over a common cause.” Karl said.

Karl Glassman feels so personally rewarded that he and his wife Cathi can play a meaningful role in fighting pancreatic cancer. To improve the lives of patients and helping to forge the path to an eventual cure of this dreadful disease. “You can change the world one person at a time through this effort,” he said. “We have a responsibility to try to leave the world better than it was before we got there. There’s no better way to leave a positive, lasting impact on the world than supporting the efforts of Dr. Dan Von Hoff, TGen, the Seena Magowitz Foundation, and Dr. Erkut Borazanci at the HonorHealth Research Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona”

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