After experiencing the crushing blows of cancer, losing both his father and sister in consecutive years, Joe Zahm set out to raise awareness and funds in the hopes of finding a cure. He will be recognized for his efforts at the Coaches vs. Cancer National Golf Tournament and Circle of Honor Dinner at Merion Golf Club on June 11 and 12.
The Newtown Square business owner and musician teamed up with Coaches vs. Cancer, a foundation that empowers coaches, their teams and communities to join in the fight against cancer. Beyond those efforts, Zahm has devised a fundraising program of his own called What U Do.
Using his own music, and one song in particular, “What U Do With What U Got,” he’s helping further raise awareness, by using the song as the campaign anthem. Zahm funded, produced and performed in the music video, which highlights the work of the coaches and community in the fight against cancer in the hopes of broadening the organization’s reach. To date, he’s raised over $30,000.
Zahm’s campaign gained attention and praise from local NCAA men’s basketball coaches Jay Wright of Villanova University, Phil Martelli of Saint Joseph’s University and Fran Dunphy of Temple University.
“What U Do is really about focusing on people with limitations and obstacles and providing inspiration and a platform for them to overcome those limitations and obstacles,” Zahm says. His aim is to eventually go national.
As a self-described “long-time Philadelphia hoops junkie,” Zahm says that Coaches vs. Cancer was the perfect fit.
“It’s what I love to do, so I think it’s easy,” says Zahm, of his commitment to the cause. In April, his band headlined a concert fundraising event at his Delaware County home. Although a latecomer to the music industry, through his band Zahm has found a way to combine his passion for music and basketball into something impactful.
College basketball coaches Martelli and Dunphy have worked with Zahm, giving extensively of their time and talent to help bring an end to cancer. “He’s an unbelievable guy,” Martelli says of Zahm. Martelli, along with Dunphy, will be honored at the Merion Golf Club event.
“I think I’m most excited to honor Phil and Fran. I don’t think people can begin to understand that their time coaching basketball is not as intensive as it is in what they do for the community,” says Zahm. “Phil and Fran say yes to so many things, when other people would say no. They have so many demands on their time, that is it a profound inspiration to me, and really helps to inspire me to do more and to help them with their cause.”
Martelli has been involved with Coaches vs. Cancer for 22 years. He began taking part after realizing the lack of contribution from coaches in the Philadelphia area. Dunphy joined soon thereafter, and many other coaches followed suit. With no cure yet in sight, Martelli knows their work isn’t done. “We could raise $1 or $2 million, but it still isn’t enough,” he says. “I do whatever I can for my family, my team, and we won’t stop until we really crush cancer.”