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A three-performance production of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” raised close to $5,000 for brain cancer research at UNC Lineberger.

A talented cast moved audiences to laughter and tears with their performance.

Sarah Peck, the producer, partnered with Carolina Cancer Focus to co-sponsor the production in memory of Kenneth Strong, longtime actor with the UNC Playmakers Repertory Theatre, who died of brain cancer. The play is based on the best-selling book by Robert Fulghum.

Peck, who came up with the idea of a UNC production three years ago and was working with Strong at the time, said, “With support from my production team, cast, friends, family and Carolina Cancer Focus it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I believe that Ken would be proud of what we created, for his influence and initial involvement made it a reality.”

“Ken was an extremely passionate director, professor and friend. He was an influential mentor to actors and students in the theater department and to me. He chose this script because of its message: to live life to the fullest and to treat each day with the wide eyed innocence and compassion of a child. I attempted to bring his presence to the production as much as possible for it was his choice of script that I used.”

Proceeds have been donated to the UNC Lineberger Neuro-Oncology Program whose members are actively involved in the discovery of novel therapies for combating brain and other central nervous system tumors.

Carlie Blake, president of Carolina Cancer Focus, said, “Carolina Cancer Focus is committed to raising awareness of the effects of cancer and ways we as a community can offer support to those affected. We are honored to be involved in this fundraising effort and to support this student-produced play with such a wonderful message – namely how we embrace life with child-like joy despite the circumstances in which we may find ourselves.”

Dr. Matt Ewend, leader of the Neuro-Oncology Program, said, “We are grateful to be part of a University where students take tragic events, in this case the death of a beloved professor, and use them as inspiration to make meaningful contributions. Brain tumors are a terrible disease, and the treatments are often inadequate. The hope for the future is research, and places like UNC, where 12 major labs (or perhaps even more) have exciting ongoing research into brain tumors, are centers for that hope. The UNC brain tumor group collaborates with cancer researchers and cancer physicians around the world to find new treatments. Donations made by the people attending the performances help fuel that effort. They are important, meaningful, and greatly appreciated by our brain tumor patients.”