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Stevie Wonder to be Honored at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) 15th Annual Fall Gala


Music Legend Stevie Wonder to Receive Spirit of Hope Award at Premier Event Raising Urgent Funds for Cancer Research

Norwalk, CT — May 23, 2011

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that it will honor music industry icon Stevie Wonder with the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award at the 15th annual MMRF Fall Gala, to be held October 29, 2011, in Greenwich, Connecticut. The MMRF Spirit of Hope Award is presented annually to individuals who inspire hope with their perseverance in overcoming personal obstacles.

Stevie Wonder, a Motown legend, has recorded more than 30 top ten hits, won 25 Grammy Awards and an Academy Award for Best Song, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was the second recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Music. Wonder spearheaded the realization of "Martin Luther King Day" as a national holiday and was designated as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with focus on persons with disabilities. Wonder has actively pursued numerous philanthropic endeavors throughout his illustrious career including recent performances at Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).

Funds raised by the MMRF have accomplished outstanding achievements such as helping to bring four new myeloma drugs to market, more than doubling the patient life expectancy post-diagnosis around the globe, opening 30 clinical trials 60% faster than the industry standard in oncology, and sequencing the multiple myeloma genome. 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. The MMRF business model is highly regarded by peer cancer and rare disease organizations as a premier model for accelerating drug development.

Despite the advancements achieved by the MMRF, the five year survival rate for myeloma remains one of the lowest of all cancers, with some communities harder hit by the disease than others. African American men and women, for instance, are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma than any other racial or ethnic group. Multiple myeloma remains an incurable blood cancer. The funds raised by the MMRF are critical in continuing to advance research and the progress being made.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the MMRF – an organization that has helped so many families affected by multiple myeloma,” said Wonder, whose first wife Syreeta Wright lost her battle with breast cancer. “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.”

Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and New York Times best-selling author Deborah Norville, a member of the MMRF Honorary Board of Directors, will join the evening’s celebrity line-up by serving as Mistress of Ceremonies. It is Norville’s tenth year in this meaningful role.

“We are overjoyed that Stevie Wonder and Deborah Norville will join us in support of the multiple myeloma patients and families courageously fighting this devastating disease and to stand by our side in our urgent work to bring patients the treatments they need,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF and a myeloma patient. “It is with the help of public figures like Stevie and Deborah, who publicly support our efforts to deliver new treatments to patients, that true progress is possible.”

The MMRF Fall Gala is the largest and most prominent fundraising event in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. All funds raised will support the development of next-generation treatments for multiple myeloma. To reserve a table for the MMRF Fall Gala, donate an auction item or join the planning committee, please email mmrf@benefitoffice.org or call 888-584-5463.

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 2010, more than 20,000 adults in the United States were estimated to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and approximately 11,000 people died from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
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 $160 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 30 clinical trials through its affiliate organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). As exceptional stewards of its donor’s investments, the MMRF consistently surpasses its peers in fiscal responsibility. For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.

Contact
Anne Quinn Young
203-652-0212
quinnyounga@themmrf.org