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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
BYU basketball coach Dave Rose calls out from the bench during game against San Diego at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

PROVO — Dave Rose is coming up on nine years in his triumph over pancreatic cancer that was discovered in June 2009.

It hit him from left field, as big a surprise as anyone can imagine. But he’s survived.

Survive. That's the daily mantra for Rose and his family. Rose just moved to Woodland Hills from Provo. Today, he's vacationing in Southern California.

Rose still undergoes some occasional “procedures” during the offseason, he says. Otherwise he is doing fine and so is the golf charity that carries his name and that of his wife Cheryl. Their charity golf event was at Alpine Country Club last week. It raised tens of thousands of dollars.

" As coach Rose knows, this is a team effort. All of us have been touched by cancer and know somebody who died from it. My father died of bone cancer. "
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

Rose teamed up with the Huntsman Cancer Institute and retired but intensely driven event organizer Guy Roche, who lost his wife Josie to cancer in 2014. Roche could be called charity work’s Greatest Showman. He collects swag, asks for coin and hauls in bags of it. It’s an art.

“He’s got more energy than my point guards,” Rose quipped.

That event raised more than $105,000 and the tournament had a full complement of 32 foursomes.

“This is exactly what we want to do,” said Rose. “We want to raise a lot of money and give it to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for research to eradicate cancer.”

This decade-long battle with cancer has changed Rose. If you talk to him, he’s more reflective, more appreciative of little things. He’s gained great perspective on how to weigh the scales of day-to-day decisions. He is more humble, more gracious, more grateful for things most of us take for granted. He is somber, reflective and hopeful.

In a recent interview with Utah Valley Health and Wellness magazine, Rose declared: “No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer. Before my personal experience with it, I sort of saw it as a death sentence.”

At his golf tournament, more than $30,000 worth of prizes, tee gifts and swag were donated, a record for the event, according to Roche, who had Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, Rose and former Champions Tour veteran Bruce Summerhays do a ceremonial first tee shot.

“As coach Rose knows, this is a team effort,” Herbert said. “All of us have been touched by cancer and know somebody who died from it. My father died of bone cancer.”

Herbert said he’s worked with the Huntsman Cancer Institute and it just isn’t throwing money at a problem without seeing results.

He cited research taking place with elephants. Elephants are the only species in the animal kingdom that do not get cancer. Scientists have discovered a protein in elephants called Protein 53. “It is the same protein that all humans have, it’s just that elephants have a lot more of it.”

Researchers are taking this protein and using it on lab rats to see how it can kill cancer cells. This work is done in conjunction with other research at a cancer institute in Israel.

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“The work shows the shrinking of tumors in these rats, so there is great promise ahead,” said Herbert. “There could be an inoculation or a treatment for cancer coming, and that is an exciting development.”

The cancer thing, like Herbert said, does hit home for all of us. I lost my older brother Ron to cancer on my birthday in 1988. Ron was just 38 years old, his whole life ahead of him. He never held his grandchildren.

And this is another thing I like about golf; it is a vehicle to raise a lot of money for good causes. Events like this by Rose take place all over the state and country.

This game — and Rose — just keep giving.