MMRF PRESS RELEASES
More than 1,000 People Brave Historic Winter Storm to Champion Cancer Research at Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Fall Gala Raising $2.1 million
Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Darius Rucker and Javier Colon Wow the Crowd with Astounding Musical Collaboration
Norwalk, CT — November 7, 2011
October’s historic snowstorm could not stop the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) from bringing together over 1,000 supporters, including many myeloma patients and their loved ones, as well as celebrity guests, at its 15th Annual Fall Gala on Saturday Oct. 29, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Despite road closures and power outages, Gala attendees were determined to make it to the event – evidence of their dedication to the mission of the MMRF. The premier benefit raised $2.1 million to support MMRF efforts to develop next-generation treatments for patients with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and find a cure.
Music industry legend Stevie Wonder received the MMRF’s Spirit of Hope Award in recognition of his extraordinary humanitarian efforts, philanthropic leadership and generosity of spirit which truly encapsulates the word, “hope.” As an activist, Stevie spearheaded the effort to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national American holiday, and has performed benefit concerts for a vast array of worthy causes. Stevie currently serves as the United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on persons with disabilities. Grammy-Award winning artists Michael McDonald and Darius Rucker and winner of NBC’s “The Voice” Javier Colon wowed attendees with their powerful performances as Featured Artists in a Tribute Concert to Stevie Wonder.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the MMRF – an organization that has helped so many families affected by multiple myeloma,” said Wonder, a close personal friend of MMRF Board of Directors member Michael Reinert who is currently battling multiple myeloma. “Cancer has touched someone in all of our lives. It is my hope that, by continuing to raise awareness and research funds through events like this, we can play a role in helping the MMRF bring patients new treatments that will extend their lives.” Stevie Wonder made the evening especially memorable by joining the event’s Featured Artists to perform several of his classic hits.
As a testament to her commitment to patients and families living with cancer, Deborah Norville, Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, New York Times best-selling author and a member of the MMRF Honorary Board of Directors, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the 10th year. Dennis Gillings, CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quintiles, was honored with the MMRF Corporate Leadership Award for Quintiles’ leadership and vision in delivering new drugs and cures for the world’s most challenging diseases. Other special guests included MMRF Honorary Board of Directors members Ann Curry, Co-Anchor of NBC’s TODAY show, and Carl Quintanilla, CNBC’s Co-Anchor of “Squawk-Box.”
“Thanks to the amazing generosity of those who have supported the MMRF Fall Gala, we have made incredible progress developing the next generation of lifesaving treatments—providing great hope and changing the outlook for patients fighting this still-fatal disease,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF and a myeloma patient. “I have been given an amazing gift – a legacy to leave behind, a tribute to the amazing work we have all done together. It started as a pledge to two young children to stay in the fight. It continues as a pledge to help as many patients as we possibly can.”
PepsiCo served as the event’s Presenting Sponsor and the evening’s Leadership Circle was comprised of Paula and Warren Berliner, Celgene Corporation, Karen and Michael Reinert, and Debby and Peter Weinberg. MMRF Fall Gala Vice Chairs were Angelique and James Bell, Richard Bellas, Elizabeth Donald, Kathy and Paul Giusti, Elizabeth and Traver Hutchins, Keno Graphics, Kathleen McCabe and W. Dana LaForge, Lori Marcus, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, Anne and David Ogilvy, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Chuck Ortner, Anne-Marie and Paul Queally, S.A.C. Capital Advisors, L.P., and Marcie and Miles Stuchin.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 38 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2011, 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 $170 million since its inception to fund nearly 120 laboratories worldwide, including 70 new compounds and approaches in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated more than 30 clinical trials through its affiliate organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). As exceptional stewards of its donors' investments, the MMRF consistently surpasses its peers in fiscal responsibility. For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.