Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's (MMRF) Fall Gala Raises More Than $1.8 Million to Advance Cancer Research

Hoda Kotb Honored with MMRF Spirit of Hope Award

Norwalk, CT — October 27, 2009

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) raised over $1.8 million at its 13th annual Fall Gala held on Saturday evening in Greenwich, Conn. Funds raised at this premier fundraising event, attended by more than 1,000 guests, will support the MMRF’s efforts to accelerate the development of the next generation of treatments for patients with multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable blood cancer, and to find a cure for the disease.

Hoda Kotb, co-host of the fourth hour of “The Today Show” and “Dateline” correspondent, was honored with the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award. The MMRF Spirit of Hope Award is awarded annually to individuals who inspire hope with their perseverance in overcoming personal obstacles such as a cancer diagnosis.

"Cancer teaches you to never let a day go by without living it to the fullest and making a difference wherever you can," said Kotb. "Kathy Giusti took her diagnosis with multiple myeloma as a 'call to arms' to launch the MMRF and to do everything possible to speed the discovery of lifesaving new treatments and, eventually, find a cure for the disease."

Deborah Dunsire, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, was also honored with the MMRF Corporate Leadership Award. The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes Dr. Dunsire for her leadership and vision in driving the development and launch of some of today’s most important oncology treatments.

“It has been my privilege to work with Kathy and the MMRF from the very beginning. We have been partners in envisioning and pursuing a future where people with myeloma are better served with new therapies,” said Dunsire.

Scott Hamilton, American figure skater and Olympic Gold Medalist served as Master of Ceremonies and Boomer Esiason, former NFL Quarterback and current analyst on “NFL Today” was the keynote speaker.

“Like the cystic fibrosis community, the multiple myeloma community, under the strong leadership of the MMRF, is fighting this disease and is helping people live longer and fulfill their dreams” said Boomer Esiason who began the Boomer Esiason Foundation following the diagnosis of his son, Gunner, with cystic fibrosis. “By working together and sharing, we will make progress in eradicating these diseases.”
Other honored guests included Melanie Bloom, widow of NBC news correspondent David Bloom; Natalie Morales, anchor of “The Today Show”, CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla, best-selling author Lee Woodruff, and ABC News journalist and anchor Bob Woodruff.

“We are grateful to all those who made the MMRF Fall Gala such a wonderful success, especially our honorees, Hoda Kotb and Deborah Dunsire, dear friend and emcee Scott Hamilton, and keynote speaker Boomer Esiason, as well as the many other special guests whose generosity and commitment to multiple myeloma patients and their families are just remarkable,” said Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient and Founder and CEO of the MMRF

Celgene Corporation and Pepsico comprised the evening’s Leadership Circle. MMRF Fall Gala Vice Chairs were Angelique and James Bell, Richard Bellas, Dave Burwick, Elizabeth Donald, Eric and Linda Rodgers Emory, Kathy and Paul Giusti, Elizabeth and Traver Hutchins, Keno Graphics, Lori Marcus and Anne-Marie and Paul Queally.

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 $120 million since its inception to fund more than 120 laboratories worldwide. An outstanding 93 percent 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 20 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, visit www.www.themmrf.org.

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