These days, Adam Nebeker is not as concerned with the tackling skill of a linebacker as he is about the ability of a local blue-collar worker to tackle cancer.
For six years, Nebeker – a 1996 graduate of University High School – led the Spokane Shock to prominence as one of the nation’s indoor football powerhouses. As team president and minority owner, Nebeker was part of three championship seasons with the Shock, including a win last August over the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Bowl.
Adam Nebeker, former team president of the Spokane Shock and a 1996 graduate of University High School, was named executive director of Cancer Patient Care in October. The Spokane-based nonprofit agency has been offering advocacy and support for low-income cancer patients since 1958.
Since its inaugural season in 2006, the Shock have gone 66-10 while drawing an average of over 10,000 fans to home games at the Spokane Arena.
Despite all the success, Nebeker sought out a different professional path this fall when he applied for the job of executive director at Cancer Patient Care, a Spokane-based nonprofit agency that has provided support for low-income cancer patients at no cost since 1958.
“I wanted to go into work every day and feel like I was making a difference in the lives of people,” Nebeker said. “This is really important work.”
Informing Shock majority owner Brady Nelson of his decision to leave the team was “difficult,” Nebeker said, though his longtime friend understood the move.
“Brady was great – he was very supportive,” Nebeker said.
Nebeker – who has a law degree from William and Mary College – was announced as the CPC executive director in late October. He replaced Cliff Evans, who announced his retirement in September. Nebeker’s first official day was Nov. 7.
“This organization exists to do everything it can to help people dealing with cancer,” Nebeker said. “We provide life lines, resources and a shoulder to lean on. The people here understand what patients are going through.”
Melissa Halverson, CPC development director, said Nebeker “will bring a different view of things” to his role.
“In the nonprofit world, none of us are in it for the money,” Halverson said. “Adam cares about the mission here and I think the recognition he has in the community will raise the profile of Cancer Patient Care. He has a great understanding of marketing and what it takes to get the message out.”
Over the past year, Nebeker has lost two relatives – an uncle and a brother-in-law’s mother – to cancer. He said the battle faced by both “makes the work seem more real.”
In addition to counseling, CPC offers help in a variety of areas, including transportation, prescriptions, groceries and utilities. The main office at 1507 E. Sprague Ave. also features a loan closet with wheelchairs, hospital beds, wigs and other items. The agency provides advocacy to residents in 10 counties throughout Eastern Washington and seven counties in North Idaho. There are currently around 300 patients receiving help from CPC.
With a full-time staff of eight and 15 on the board of directors, Nebeker praised the current team of “really good people who believe in the cause” and said the administrative format at CPC is similar to what he left with the Shock. Along with “forming community partnerships,” Nebeker said onne of his primary goals is to build up the same sort of name recognition as Spokane’s favorite football team developed after forming from scratch in 2005.
“We were able to increase visibility and a loyal fan base,” Nebeker said. “Here, we need to be raising more money and the first step in doing that is raising awareness.”
Want to find out more?
To learn more about Cancer Patient Care, call 456-0446 or visit www.cancerpatientcare.org.