The Cures Gala black-tie fundraising event for cancer research was a tremendous success as 850 guests came together Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Fairmont Chicago for an elegant evening of dining, dancing, and a shared cause to find a cure for cancer. Together in just one night, corporate executives, community leaders and friends of Gateway for Cancer Research raised nearly $2.1 million to fund bold, new cancer clinical trials that bring hope and potentially life-saving treatments to cancer patients all over the world.
"We are privileged and fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly generous individuals and companies who genuinely want to provide today's cancer patients with more effective and safer treatments that may very well cure their disease," said Karen Kay, event organizer and director of development at Gateway for Cancer Research.
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Cures Gala Master of Ceremonies Jarrett Payton led guests through an inspiring and emotion-laden evening as he shared his personal story with cancer having lost his father, Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton, to the disease more than a decade ago. "What we learned from my dad's illness is that, together, we are stronger than cancer," said Payton, as he encouraged guests to take every opportunity to make a difference in cancer research.
Cures Gala Honorary Chair Michael Clune of Clune Construction Company invited guests to join with him in giving back, especially to cancer patients who are in need of better treatments. Mr. Clune challenged corporate executives to take their philanthropic contributions to a higher level, just as Clune Construction did earlier this year. Recently, Mr. Clune announced his company's multi-year funding commitment of $1 million for the Gateway for Cancer Research.
Chicago's own Lee DeWyze took the stage with two moving performances about fighting and never giving up. DeWyze, who lost a friend to cancer earlier this year, said it was an honor and privilege to perform at the Cures Gala among so many people committed to one goal. DeWyze helped Gateway raise funds for the event with a special raffle of concert tickets and memorabilia. The musician will donate proceeds from a Stageit online concert in early 2014.
Honored at Gateway's Cures Gala was Nathan Harris of Arlington Heights, Ill., a young man who lost his battle last spring to a rare pediatric cancer, Ewing's sarcoma. The Harris family is a long-time supporter of Gateway and was moved to share Nathan's story at the event.
"We need to act," said Charles Harris, who called others to join his family in raising money for new cancer research studies that will bring cures. "We all need to come together to find a cure. Children should not have to endure what Nathan endured, and no family should experience what we did."
Gateway funded researcher Frank Balis of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was on hand to thank donors for making research studies like his possible, which is especially critical in light of rapidly diminishing federal resources.
"Without the encouragement and support from this remarkable group of donors, we could not conduct these clinical research studies, which can require substantial resources," Dr. Balis said, praising Gateway for stepping up to help researchers advance new ideas and approaches for treating cancer. Dr. Balis is leading a novel clinical trial that aims to reduce or eliminate long-term treatment side effects for young patients with osteosarcoma.
Gateway will use the money raised at Cures Gala to continue funding truly innovative phase I and phase II cancer clinical trials for all types of cancers affecting both adults and children. To make the greatest impact, Gateway commits 99 cents of every dollar received directly to cancer clinical trials, made possible by the underwriting of its administrative expenses by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
"At Gateway we believe a cure for cancer is within reach, and with the achievements of the Cures Gala fundraiser, we are significantly closer to realizing that vision," added Kay. "We are in a privileged position to bring hope and new possibilities to cancer patients who may have very few options."
Cures 2013 Gala major sponsors are AmericsourceBergen; the Richard Templer family; Cancer Treatment Centers of America; International Capital & Management Company; Katten Muchin Rosenman, LLP; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; CliftonLarsonAllen; Insight; Integrated Media Solutions; Kailo; Litchfield Advisors; N-Jet; Stellar Insurance Company, Ltd., T. Danis Charitable Trust; and Vital.
For more information on the Gateway for Cancer Research, visit DemandCuresToday.org.
About Gateway for Cancer Research
The Gateway for Cancer Research, baesd out of Schaumburg, Ill., is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization committed to funding innovative cancer research and bold new ideas for lifesaving treatments that can make a difference today. Thanks to generous underwriting, 99 cents of every dollar received funds phase I and phase II cancer clinical trials all over the world to find better treatments and cures for today's cancer patients. Since its founding in 1991, Gateway has supported more than 120 clinical trials and funded millions in leading-edge research, including blending the best of conventional and complementary/alternative therapies. It's time to stop cancer. Get involved today by visiting DemandCuresToday.org, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/demandcures and join the conversation on Twitter @DemandCures.