Everyone is touched by cancer. That was Keith Koenig’s point when he asked for a show of hands at the kickoff for the American Cancer Society’s Celebration Gala.
City Furniture’s president and his wife Kelly are honorees for the May 4 fundraiser. Like the Koenigs, supporters who lost loved ones or survived cancer braved the downpour Wednesday at Ouzo Bay restaurant in Mizner Park. They had one goal: to raise more money for cancer research toward a cure.
“Four years ago, I got a $50,000 grant. Now I have $5 million. What we do next is where I come in,” said Dr. Emmanuel Thomas, a cancer research specialist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“It’s personal to me. People who I loved,” Noreen Salah Burpee told the crowd. Come. Buy tables. Spend money. Do everything you can.” Her Salah Foundation’s the presenting sponsor for the third year.
Gala chair Lori Castle is back for the third year, too, “At first I didn’t know what to do,” after her mother died from cancer, she told Boca Voice. “This helped me through the grieving process.” Co-chair LoriAnn Gary lost her brother June 2017 and paid tribute to him on the gala’s Walls of Bravery. “When you see it the night of the event, it makes a big impact,” said Gary, a survivor herself.
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America display is $250 in memory of or for a survivor and includes a photo and name. Click here for the link.
All the speakers promised to make this a banner year. “We can honestly break all kinds of records,” co-chair and kickoff host Pinnacle Advertising CEO Peter Gary told the crowd. The Garys were Palm Beach County hosts last year. This year they held the kickoff in Boca to bring Broward and Palm Beach supporters together for the gala, they said.
Racing for Research is the theme for the black-tie event May 4 at Harbor Beach Marriott Fort Lauderdale Resort & Spa. A reception and silent auction are at 6:30 p.m., with dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m. For tickets, click here.
By Marci Shatzman