Eighth Annual Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Laugh for Life: New York Raises Over $570,000 to Accelerate Development of New Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Reporter and Author Al Roker and Grammy-Nominated Comedian Bobby Collins Celebrate with New York Area Supporters

New York, NY — June 1, 2010

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced today that its 8th annual Laugh for Life: New York, held May 25, 2010, at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City, raised over $570,000 to support the MMRF’s efforts to accelerate the development of next-generation treatments for patients with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and to find a cure for the disease.

The inspirational and heartwarming event, attended by over 500 people, was emceed by NBC Today’s Al Roker. Mark Alles, President – Americas, Celgene Corporation, served as the event’s Corporate Chair and was also honored with the Corporate Leadership Award. Bobby Collins, a Grammy Award-nominated comedian, headlined the evening, with comedians Sherry Davey and Rob Magnotti also performing.

“The MMRF is to be applauded for the inspirational progress they have made. With the MMRF’s dedication, intelligence and diligence a cure can be found. This annual event is an opportunity for New Yorkers to celebrate these remarkable achievements while raising significant funds to contribute to the development of next-generation cancer treatments,” said Roker.

Shay Hirsch, a multiple myeloma patient, and her husband George Hirsch, Chairman of the Board of the New York Road Runners (NYRR), received the MMRF’s Spirit of Hope Award. In November 2009, George brought deeper meaning to his love of running by taking part in the New York City Marathon as a member of the MMRF team in honor of Shay. Through George’s run, George and Shay raised over $40,000 to benefit the MMRF.

“We are so thankful to those who made the MMRF Laugh for Life: New York such a wonderful success, particularly our special guests and performers, as well as so many friends of the MMRF whose dedication to multiple myeloma patients and their families is extraordinary,” said Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient and Founder and CEO of the MMRF.

The MMRF Laugh for Life: New York was started in 2003 by three sisters, Carol Goldschein, Sue Korn and Cindi Stern, to honor Carol’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma and to celebrate life through laughter. More than $2.5 million dollars have been raised by this event over the past eight years.

Through funds raised at events like Laugh for Life: New York, the MMRF has become a leader in breaking down barriers slowing medical research and in fast-tracking the formation of better, more effective cancer treatments. The four treatments the MMRF helped bring to market are now standard therapies for multiple myeloma patients and are being explored as treatments for more than 30 other cancers. Today, the MMRF is supporting a pipeline of promising compounds that represent the next generation of treatments.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world's number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $140 million since its inception to fund nearly 120 laboratories worldwide. An outstanding 93% of funds raised go toward research and related programming. The MMRF has supported 40 new compounds and approaches in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated 24 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 34 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2009, approximately 20,000 adults in the United States were diagnosed with multiple myeloma and approximately 11,000 people died from the disease.

Media Contact:
Terri Clevenger