Fall 2019

Banking on research

This urologic oncologist is climbing every one of TCF Bank Stadium’s steps in the name of kidney cancer research

Christopher Weight, M.D.

There are 6,054 steps in TCF Bank Stadium, and Christopher Weight, M.D., has climbed every last one of them.

“It’s great while you’re doing it, but for the next few days, you can feel it in your calves,” he says with a laugh.

His staircase summit isn’t just a fitness feat; it’s part of a much larger mission: supporting those affected by kidney cancer.

Weight is an M Health Fairview urologic oncologist and an associate professor in the Medical School’s Department of Urology. Many of his patients have kidney cancer, one of the most common and deadly forms of the disease. But despite its prevalence and severity, kidney cancer receives significantly less attention—and crucially, less funding for research—than other types of cancer, Weight says.

That’s why he created Break the Bank at TCF Bank Stadium—a race that guides participants up and down each flight of stairs in the Gophers’ football stadium and raises money for kidney cancer research at the U. Held every year since 2014, the event has raised more than $113,000.

“It’s magical to see hundreds of people in the stadium climbing at the same time, weaving through the stairs,” says Weight, a member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. “And even more, it’s great to see patients and families who have never had a positive experience with the disease come together, enjoy each other’s company, and feel good about making a real difference in the world.”