March Milestones are Just the Beginning of the Center's Plan to Transform Cancer Research and Care

In an exhilarating March, the MCW Cancer Center has marked three significant milestones and initiatives, further cementing its commitment to eradicating cancer and improving the lives of patients across the community. So far this month, the center celebrated a pivotal construction milestone for the new Cancer Research Building; launched the Audaxity bike fundraiser that will help fuel vital cancer research breakthroughs; and played an instrumental role in advocating for March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by receiving a proclamation from the Mayor of Milwaukee. And this is just the beginning of what’s to come. The MCW Cancer Center recognizes that the fight against cancer is far from over, and these achievements are just a launchpad for future initiatives that will transform the cancer care landscape and provide a beacon of hope for patients and their families. Read below to learn more about the center’s important March milestones.

People signing beamCelebrating a Construction Milestone for the New Cancer Research Building

On March 5, MCW faculty, staff, students, and cancer advocates across the community came together to put their name on future cancer breakthroughs by signing a construction beam that will soon become a permanent fixture of the new Cancer Research Building.

The gathering included opening remarks from MCW Executive Vice President, Provost, and the Julia A. Uihlein, MA, Dean of the School of Medicine, Joseph E. Kerschner, MD; and Gustavo Leone, PhD, director of the MCW Cancer Center, senior associate dean of cancer research, and the Dr. Glenn R. and Nancy A. Linnerson Endowed Chair for Cancer Research. Dr. Leone noted that having a dedicated cancer research facility has been priority for MCW for a long time, and it’s exciting to have achieved this milestone in pursuit of that goal.

“The new MCW Cancer Research Building is the engine that will fuel innovation, accelerate research breakthroughs, and make possible new cancer treatments for patients across our state and beyond. It will also spark collaboration among some of the world’s top cancer researchers who are working every day, right here at MCW, to eradicate cancer as we know it. There’s no doubt that, together, we are changing the course of cancer for generations to come,” said Dr. Leone.

The state-of-the-art, 150,000-square-foot building represents MCW’s long-term commitment to advancing cancer research and life-saving discoveries for the people of Milwaukee, eastern Wisconsin, and beyond. It will also help centralize MCW’s cancer research programs, which are comprised of more than 650 researchers campuswide, as well as ignite innovation and spur collaboration with community partners and research participants in the pursuit of improving health outcomes for patients.

Learn how the Cancer Research Building will help advance groundbreaking discoveries.

Audaxity Bike Ride Funds Promising Cancer Research Breakthroughs

This month, the MCW Cancer Center launched a new bike fundraiser—the Audaxity ride—to fund cancer discoveries that cross the finish line for Wisconsinites. Coming to Milwaukee in August 2025, Audaxity is made up of a community of researchers, doctors, patients, friends, and family, boldly united to go after a vision of eradicating cancer as it exists today. It’s a movement driven by courage and a sense of urgency to raise the funds needed to accelerate discovery of the next life-saving treatment for the patients, medical teams, and cancer scientists up against the clock.

The newly formed bike ride will feature a series of bike routes, family rides, and entertainment that invites people of all ages, skills, and abilities to connect with a community of riders pedaling for a cure. 100% of rider-raised funds go directly to making promising cancer breakthroughs at the MCW Cancer Center, thanks to generous support from founding sponsor Associated Bank.

The Cancer Center is currently looking for Team Captains to rally support and teams of riders for the inaugural Audaxity ride in 2025. Individuals who have a love for cycling, biking, or bringing friends together for a good time, are encouraged to become Captains. To learn more about Milwaukee’s newest bike fundraiser, visit

Community Outreach and Engagement Team Advocates for March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

On March 5, the MCW Cancer Center Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) team received a proclamation from Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson declaring March as Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month in the City and County of Milwaukee. The team also received a proclamation from Governor Tony Evers in collaboration with UW Carbone Cancer Center, spreading the efforts statewide. CRC is the third most diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States among both men and women. National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed each March to highlight the importance of regular screening and healthy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of developing CRC

The proclamations are just one way the team’s campaign, #MCWGoesBlue, is aiming to reduce CRC burdens in the community. Throughout the month, the COE team will also host educational events and share culturally relevant resources that inspire community members, public health officials, policymakers, and advocates to wear blue, get screened, and be part of its efforts to improve CRC equity

“CRC disproportionately affects African Americans, Native Americans, and other under-served populations. They are more likely to develop CRC at younger ages, be diagnosed further along in their illness, and are more likely to die of the disease,” said Ambrose Wilson-Brown, COE Program Coordinator. “We’re working to eliminate disparities for good by empowering individuals to live a healthy lifestyle, understand their health history, and learn about their screening options.”

“We want people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to know that a CRC diagnosis is not a death sentence. It’s preventable and curable with early detection, treatment, and support from loved ones and the community. Together, we can conquer this disease and save lives,” added Wilson-Brown.

While improved screening rates and lifestyle changes have helped to lower CRC incidence among older adults over the last three decades, rates in people younger than 50 have steadily increased by 1-2 percent per year since the mid-1990s. Recent studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association project that by 2030, CRC will be the leading cause of cancer-related death for individuals ages 20-49. To combat this trend, a key priority for the COE team is to raise awareness of screening and screening options among younger adults.

“New research shows that CRC rates are increasing in young adults but many still believe it’s a ‘disease for older people.’ Don’t delay. Talk to your doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms of CRC,” Wilson-Brown urged.

The COE team’s impact is rippling across the community, mobilizing several landmarks and buildings to turn blue in recognition of CRC awareness month, including: the Gas Light Building, the Pfister Hotel, US Bank Center, MGIC, Milwaukee County Historical Society, the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, and Lakefront Brewery.

Follow ‘MCW Cancer Center’ on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the COE team’s #MCWGoesBlue campaign.