Rick Schiffhauer is Both A Pancreatic Cancer Patient and A Fundraiser

Rick Schiffhauer, Smash It Sports Score $85,000 for the Seena Magowitz Foundation

Written By Julia Brabant
September 10, 2021

Diagnosed: September 2020
Status: Undergoing Treatment

As the owner and founder of Smash It Sports, the world’s largest softball equipment and apparel dealer, Rick Schiffhauer long ago established himself one of the industry’s biggest heavy hitters. Now, he’s taking a swing at one of the world’s deadliest forms of cancer by helping raise more than $85,000 for the cause.

Diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in September of 2020, Rick could have easily taken a step back in the days that followed to undergo treatment and focus on his recovery. Yet, the team player in him couldn’t do it. Instead, he slid headfirst into fundraising for one of the world’s most under-researched and under-funded forms of cancer and enlisted everyone he knew to do the same.

He and his wife, Karen, weren’t new to fundraising. The family and Smash It Sports were longtime supporters of autism and breast cancer research efforts, and they also helped raise funds for USA Patriots, a nonprofit that unites veterans and amputees for therapeutic recreational activities. With fundraising already in their wheelhouse, they embarked on a series of pancreatic cancer-focused endeavors using the slogan, “Schiffhauer Strong.” They created a benefit raffle and advertised it on the Smash It Sports webpage, and they called on Rick’s many industry contacts to donate items to include.

“I’ve been blessed with great business contacts,” Rick said. “When we called and asked for raffle donations, they were all quick to act and give us whatever we needed.”

Easton, Pure Sports Technologies, Monsta Athletics, Miken Sports, Onyx and Anarchy Bat Company all stepped up to the plate, donating 25 bats apiece to the raffle. Easton and Anarchy took things even further, going on to produce special-edition “Schiffhauer Strong” bats while donating 100% of proceeds raised from sales to the Seena Magowitz Foundation. From there, the proceeds would help fund clinical trials and related pancreatic cancer research efforts.

Easton’s Schiffhauer Strong bat is purple, the color used to spread pancreatic cancer awareness, while Anarchy’s special-edition slugger has an eye-catching spray paint-inspired design and a purple pancreatic cancer ribbon.

While sales from Schiffhauer Strong bats and raffle tickets raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Seena Magowitz Foundation, Rick and Karen continued to find new ways to leverage their connections and help fund pancreatic cancer research. On Rick’s birthday, he posted a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, where he had a considerable following, hoping to generate a few thousand dollars in donations. By the time the fundraiser wrapped, he’d secured nearly $20,000 from friends, family members, colleagues and others who’d been following his fight, with all of it going directly toward pancreatic cancer research.

Rick and his team are also hosting a series of softball tournaments in the summer of 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio, with proceeds raised through the events benefiting the Seena Magowitz Foundation.

“Rick is a lightning rod of enthusiasm and spirit,” said Roger Magowitz, the founder of the Seena Magowitz Foundation. “Folks like Rick become the face and voice of pancreatic cancer by leading by example. He’s a fundraising freight train, and I’m proud to call him my friend.”

While Roger and many others express gratitude to Rick for raising not only funds for, but the overall profile of, pancreatic cancer, Rick is quick to give much of the credit to his wife.

“Rick’s wife, Karen plays a huge role in fundraising and facilitating,” he said. “She’s the one making it possible for me to attack all the things I attack.”