Will Farish gives UK $5 million for urologic cancer program

William S. Farish III

Noted horseman Will Farish has given the University of Kentucky $5 million to create a program in urologic cancer at UK’s Markey Cancer Center.

The Ambassador William Stamps Farish Program of Excellence in Urologic Cancer will have a named space in the Markey center’s new building, scheduled to open in 2025. Farish, 83, is a former oilman who was ambassador to the United Kingdom under President George W. Bush and was a close friend of President George H.W. Bush, running his blind trust from an office in Versailles. He owns Lane’s End Farm in Woodford County.
Farish said in a news release, “The burden of cancer in Kentucky is immense, and we have watched and been inspired by the Markey Cancer Center’s capacity to provide advanced care to so many people in the commonwealth. We want to give Kentuckians their best chance at a long and healthy life, and this gift will provide more resources for patients, including more providers and improved access to the latest early phase clinical trials, as close to home as possible.”
The money is being given from the William Stamps Farish Fund through the Markey Cancer Foundation. The fund has previously supported recruitment of physicians and researchers to UK’s Department of Urology and its giving to UK totals $9.3 million.
Dr. Stephen Strup, chair of the department, said in the news release, “I want to thank the Farish family for their continued, generous support to our program over the years. With this new funding, we’ll focus on recruiting more faculty and supporting new research into the prevention and treatment of these cancers.”

Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey center, said “This funding will specifically help us address an all-too-common problem in our state – our high rates of prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.”

Kentucky has high rates of cancer and death from it. Urologic cancers, also known as genitourinary cancers, are three of the top 10 most commonly diagnosed cancers in the state: prostate (#3), kidney (#6) and bladder (#7). The American Cancer Society estimates there will be an estimated 6,470 new diagnoses of these cancers in the state this year.

“Kentucky’s high rates of urologic cancers are correlated with socioeconomic factors including obesity and tobacco use,” the release said.

It said the Markey center serves half the cancer patients in Kentucky and is a regional destination for patients with more complex conditions. Since it became the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated center in 2013, it has seen its patient volume double. The designation helps it conduct early clinical trials that are not widely available elsewhere, including more than a dozen trials for urologic cancers.

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