Local and National Stars Unite to Accelerate Cancer Research at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Annual Chicago Awards Dinner

Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivers opening speech and Brian Kelly, Head Football Coach of the University of Notre Dame, Honored with the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award

April 11, 2013

Last night more than 500 Chicago business, healthcare and community leaders attended the Annual Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Chicago Awards Dinner and raised over $850,000 toward innovative approaches to extend patients’ lives and accelerate new treatments to lead to a cure for multiple myeloma. City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel kicked off this celebratory event with opening remarks, and was joined by Bonnie Hunt, famed actress, writer, producer and director and a member of the MMRF Honorary Board of Directors who served as Mistress of Ceremonies for her eleventh year.

“The outpouring of support from the Chicago community for this leading cancer research organization is truly impressive,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This annual dinner provides an opportunity to support the MMRF in their transformative efforts to accelerate cancer research.”

The MMRF was proud to honor Brian Kelly, Head Football Coach of the University of Notre Dame and Co-Founder of the Kelly Cares Foundation, with the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award in recognition of his family’s fight against cancer and their commitment to funding important cancer research efforts. The MMRF Spirit of Hope Award is presented annually to an individual who inspires hope with perseverance in overcoming personal obstacles such as a cancer diagnosis. The MMRF also honored longtime supporters and Board Members Al Heller and Tony Kesman for their strong leadership and 15 years service.

“By funding valuable research my family has made a difference in the fight against cancer,” said Kelly. “I am honored to be recognized by the MMRF, an innovative organization that shares in the same mission.”

A leading international figure in cancer care, Dr. Steven Rosen, Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, was pleased to join former colleague Bonnie Hunt on stage. Hunt previously worked as an oncology nurse with Dr. Rosen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital prior to pursuing her entertainment career. The event was also attended by notable Chicago guests including Derrick Blakley General Assignment Reporter at CBS 2 Chicago and multiple myeloma patient; Lester Knight, Founding Partner and Co-Chairman of RoundTable Healthcare Partners; and William Hite, General President of the United Association.

”We are truly grateful for the remarkable support shown tonight by our speakers Bonnie Hunt, Mayor Rahm Emanual, Brian Kelly and Dr. Steven Rosen,” said Christina Waters, Chief Development and Marketing Officer of the MMRF. “Together we are making progress towards playing a vital role in the development of new and improved treatments for cancer patients.”

Upcoming MMRF events in the Chicagoland area include the MMRF Race for Research: Chicago 5K Walk/Run on September 28, 2013. Additionally the MMRF will field teams for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 21, 2013 and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013. For more information on MMRF events, please visit: www.themmrf.org/events.

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 41 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2013, more than 20,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and nearly 11,000 people are predicted to die from the disease.

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 $225 million since its inception and directs 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 10 consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. For more information about the MMRF, please visit: www.themmrf.org.

Media contacts:

Anne Quinn Young, MMRF