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Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to Celebrate Eighth Annual MMRF Laugh for Life: New York


Comedy Event to Raise Funds to Accelerate Development of Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Norwalk, CT — May 17, 2010

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) will honor Celgene Corporation and Shay and George Hirsch at the 8th Annual MMRF Laugh for Life: New York, which is scheduled to be held Tuesday, May 25, 2010, at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, in New York City. The MMRF’s annual Laugh for Life fundraiser is a premier comedy event, celebrating life through laughter while raising funds to support research of multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and to find a cure for the disease.

The inspirational and heartwarming event features an impressive line-up of comedians. Al Roker from NBC will serve as the evening’s emcee and Bobby Collins, a Grammy Award-nominated comedian, will be the headliner for the comedy show. Sherry Davey and Rob Magnotti will also perform.

Mark Alles, President – Americas, Celgene Corporation, is the event’s Corporate Chair and the Corporate Leadership Award Honoree. The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes prominent business leaders who have gone above and beyond in supporting the MMRF in pursuit of its mission. Celgene is a New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of products for the treatment of cancer and other severe, immune, inflammatory conditions.

“We are most grateful for Celgene’s leadership in driving the development and launch of some of today’s most important oncology treatments. Mark’s commitment to multiple myeloma patients and the myeloma community is outstanding and we are thankful for his continued support,” said Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO of the MMRF, and a multiple myeloma patient.

Shay Hirsch, a multiple myeloma patient, and her husband George Hirsch, Chairman of the Board of the New York Road Runners (NYRR), will be honored with the MMRF’s Spirit of Hope Award. George has run more than 30 marathons over four decades. 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. George crossed the finish line with a first-place performance for the Marathon’s 75-79 age-group competition and Shay was right there to congratulate and embrace him. Through George’s run, George and Shay raised over $40,000 to benefit the MMRF.

"It is a real honor to recognize our dear friends George and Shay Hirsch with the Sprit of Hope Award at MMRF Laugh for Life,” said Giusti. “The Hirschs have shown uncommon character, warmth and resilience that touches everyone they meet, including our team at the MMRF, who has been grateful for their kind support over the years.”

By paving the way for a charity partnership between the MMRF and the NYRR, George is responsible for helping to launch the MMRF Premier Athletics Program. After only three years in existence, the MMRF Premier Athletics Program, which includes running, cycling and triathlon events, is on course to raise over $1.4 million in 2010.

Through funds raised at events like Laugh for Life, the MMRF has become a leader in breaking down barriers slowing medical research and in fast-tracking the development of more effective treatments. The four treatments the MMRF helped bring to market are now standard therapies for patients with multiple myeloma 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.

To purchase tickets to the event, donate an auction item, submit an advertisement for the event program or join a committee, please visit http://benefitoffice.org/laugh or contact the MMRF at (203) 652-0225.

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.

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.

Media Contact:
Terri Clevenger
203-227-0209
tclevenger@continuumhealthcom.com