BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The family of a late Binghamton native has raised 1.5 million dollars for lung cancer research in his memory.

Local father, husband, and volunteer football coach, Michael E. Connolly, a non-smoker, passed at the age of 39 after fighting a 22 month battle with lung cancer in 2002.

Since then, Michael’s wife and son, Penny and Ryan have raised 1 point 5 million dollars to create an endowment.

The endowment was originally established to help families at Upstate Medical with small expenses, like parking, and to fund a scholarship for a Binghamton High School graduate.

Since then, the endowment has grown to include an endowed professorship, a position in which both salary and research are funded by the donations.

Ryan Connolly says that they are grateful for all of those who have contributed in his father’s memory.

“There’s someone who’s working every single day in my father’s name to find hopefully some breakthrough, doesn’t have to be massive, but one small breakthrough would be tremendous, it may happen in our lifetime, it may happen in the next,” Ryan says. “I don’t know, but there’s someone else physically in place to work on it every single day which is pretty great.”

Penny and Ryan are hosting the Friends of Michael Golf Tournament, a sold out event this weekend to celebrate Michael, thank community members for their support, and share good news.

For more information or ways to donate go to upstatefoundation.org