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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation celebrates 20th Gala Dinner anniversary

Partial crowd view of Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Collaborating for a Cure Gala at Cipriani Wall Street.

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) 20th Anniversary Collaborating for a Cure Benefit Dinner & Auction Thursday night at Cipriani Wall Street raised approximately $2.5 million for SWCRF cancer research programs.

With CBS 2 News This Morning co-anchor Chris Wragge serving again as emcee, the gala also introduced the foundation’s new Partnerships for Aging and Cancer Research Program, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging.

SWCRF founder/CEO Dr. Samuel Waxman announced that the partnership, which will launch the program officially next year, hopes to establish a $20 million fund to study the environmental and genetic factors that increase the risk of cancer as people age.

Sadly, the event’s honoree, former CEO of MFA Financial Inc. William S. Gorin, succumbed to pancreatic cancer in August. A video tribute to Gorin was screened in which his family and friends reflected on the optimism, drive and family-orientation of a man who never let the disease get in the way of his zest for life.

Following the video, Dr. Waxman and Michael Nierenberg—who co-hosted the gala with his wife Elin Nierenberg—presented Gorin’s widow Jody Gorin with the William S. Gorin Memorial Award, a newly instituted annual grant to fund research by a special investigator working in pancreatic cancer.

Money raised at the gala came from donations texted and screened in real time, and a live auction. The evening’s highest bid, a Palm Bay International Spanish vineyards, castle, and wine package, sold for $36,000. Other auction items included two house seats to the sold-out Springsteen on Broadway ($17,000) and a private wine tasting for 25 at Italian Wine Merchants ($14,000).

Silent auction items remain available for bidding at until November 30 and include an opportunity to see one of Bette Midler’s final performances in Hello, Dolly!; tickets to The Dr. OZ Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show; signed jerseys from New York Jets legend Joe Namath and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Franco Harris; hotel stays including the Club Barbados Resort & Spa, the Verandah Resort & Spa in Antigua, and the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, California; and a portrait of Joey Ramone by photographer Deborah Feingold.

A concert by The Avett Brothers followed the auction, putting the folk rock group in the esteemed company of John Fogerty, Roger Daltry, Steely Dan and Sheryl Crow—among the many top-shelf talent who have serenaded what is affectionately known as “The Waxman.”

This year’s event was attended by some 800 corporate executives, board members and guests. The money raised will support the nonprofit Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s research efforts to produce a cure for cancer by reprogramming cancer cells, and to deliver minimally toxic treatments to patients.

Oncologist/hematologist Waxman helped find a cure for a rare leukemia known as acute promyelocytic leukemia, which once had a 100 percent fatality rate but now has a 95 percent survival rate. He founded the SWCRF in 1976, and it has since awarded approximately $90 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe.




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