Something We Can All Get Behind: Meet The Founder Of The Dude Hates Cancer!

Meet Tim Maxwell! - Photo via @TimothyMaxwell

Meet Tim Maxwell! – Photo via @TimothyMaxwell

I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.” – The Dude……….

Meet Tim Maxwell, the founder of a very unique fundraising campaign that has found its way to Buffalo. The Dude Hates Cancer is a volunteer cancer awareness campaign that is based off of the famous indie movie, The Big Lebowski. Tim grew up in Twinsburg, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and moved to Orchard Park when he was in the third grade. Tim stated, “My mom was born and raised in Buffalo, so even when we were in Ohio, my parents always had designs on moving back to Buffalo to raise us, and that opportunity eventually presented itself. So, I’m from Orchard Park, with a hint of Cleveland.”

Look at that crew! = Photo via www.geekadelphia.com

Look at that crew! = Photo via http://www.geekadelphia.com

In December of 2000, Tim’s father was diagnosed with leukemia. Tim was 24 at the time, and his father’s diagnosis caused him to begin thinking of ways to start fundraising for cancer awareness. In 2006, Tim was living in Philadelphia close to a tiny bowling alley that you could rent for four hours for $400. This immediately sparked an idea about how he could begin to raise money. “I figured everyone loves bowling, so if I rented it out and asked people to pay a $35 registration fee, we could raise a little bit of money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and have a fun time doing it,” said Tim. Since Tim is a huge fan of The Big Lebowski, he decided to use it as the theme for his bowling fundraiser. He wanted it to be unique, and it fit the vibe that he wanted for the event perfectly. “Much like The Dude lives a very laid-back, relaxed lifestyle in The Big Lebowski, I wanted this to be a laid back fundraising campaign,” said Tim. “I wanted to create a campaign for the less physically-motivated individuals like me. And what better way to do that than to channel The Dude and go bowling?”. Tim’s campaign only made about $1,400 during their first year of the bowling event, but this did not discourage him from continuing on and making it larger in the years to come.

While he was in the process of organizing this event, his mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. As the fundraiser continued, it became more important to Tim, and it began to raise a significant amount of money, almost doubling their funds each year. Tim has great volunteer committees in Buffalo and Los Angeles that donate a lot of time and effort to the campaign.

TDHC Philly 2013 main event - at beautiful North Bowl! - Photo via https://www.facebook.com/thedudehatescancer

TDHC Philly 2013 main event – at beautiful North Bowl! – Photo via https://www.facebook.com/thedudehatescancer

In 2009, TDHC became an official LLS campaign, with totals that continued to rise. In 2010, as his mother’s health was failing, Tim was given a job opportunity that allowed him to move back to Buffalo with his wife, who is also from Orchard Park. After raising $82,000 in a Philly campaign in 2011, Tim decided to start a Buffalo campaign in 2012. Tim’s mom was able to attend the first TDHC bowling event in Buffalo in June of 2012, but passed away shortly after from her battle with myeloma. His father has attended every event, and has been in remission from leukemia since his first treatments in 2001. Since starting the campaign in 2006, Tim has raised over half a million dollars for LLS.

Tim’s campaign even has the support of Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney. Tim said, “They’ve been very supportive through the years, donating lots of money and autographed items, and creating a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF0rGywbL1I) to show to participants in the lead up of one of our Philadelphia events. Rob McElhenney owns a bar in Philadelphia called Mac’s Tavern, and at some point they became involved in our Philly campaign. The manager of their bar is on the Philadelphia organizing committee.” He also has support from Jeff Bridges, The Dude himself. Jeff has sent the organization many autographed items through the years, including an autographed bowling pin that was taken from the bowling alley where The Big Lebowski was filmed. Tim says that he would love to get other cast members from The Big Lebowski involved, and eventually, he wants Jeff Bridges to attend one of the fundraising events.

Although their main fundraiser is the bowling event, other organizers and participants of the campaign have put together movie theater screenings of The Big Lebowski, beer pong and bean bag tournaments, happy hours, Lebowski trivia nights, and other different fundraising efforts. Being a beer brewer himself, it’s natural that Tim’s favorite campaign was The Dude’s Homebrewing Competition, which was held this past August at Resurgence Brewery in Buffalo. Although the campaign is going to be on hiatus for the next year because Tim’s family is expecting their third child, he still plans on holding the Homebrewing Competition again next summer because of how much fun it was.

Flyer for the past event at Resurgence Brewing in Buffalo - Photo via www.thegoodneighborhood.com

Flyer for the past event at Resurgence Brewing in Buffalo – Photo via http://www.thegoodneighborhood.com

TDHC has been approached by many people who want to bring the campaign to their area, such as Cleveland and even Australia. “I think people like the idea of combining something like The Big Lebowski and bowling with a campaign that raises money for an excellent cause. I’m not sure if any of these campaigns will take root — a lot of work goes into it and sometimes people looking to start a campaign up don’t realize how time consuming it can be until they meet with us — but it’s nice that there’s so much interest!” says Tim.

When Tim is not spending at least 40 hours a week volunteering for TDHC, he works as a marketing consultant for the stores of The Premier Group in Buffalo. He enjoys spending time with his four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, and is expecting another child at any moment.

If you have the desire to donate to this wonderful campaign, please click here: https://wcny.dojiggy.com/ng/index.cfm/a91e83a/reg-pledge/donate/thedudehatescancer

 

By Olivia Merrell

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5 Comments on “Something We Can All Get Behind: Meet The Founder Of The Dude Hates Cancer!”

  1. merrilom13 November 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on buffaloveblog.

  2. kfbuffalo November 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    Nice article Olivia!

  3. lucasvaughan November 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Reblogged this on It's Always Sunny and commented:
    Wonderful piece written by my best friend, Olivia Merrill, regarding a cancer awareness campaign with some familiar supporters.

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