During the illumination Gala, one special moment captured the essence of the evening: After guests watched a touching video about threetime cancer survivor Ken Steinback, his oncologist, Nancy Bartlett, MD, stood up and hugged Ken as the crowd offered them a standing ovation. Cancer is definitely personal.
Kicked off by toe-tapping entertainment from Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s annual illumination Gala in April raised nearly $1.8 million for cancer research at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Steve Martin announced the total amount raised to the more than 600 guests at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.
The illumination Gala supports The Foundation’s Cancer Frontier Fund, which was created to help Siteman researchers accelerate breakthroughs that will change cancer care and expedite cures. In 2012, the Cancer Frontier Fund supported research to improve treatments and outcomes for pancreatic, cervical, breast, blood cell and skin cancers; to develop a simple urine test to detect kidney cancer earlier; and to develop a way to stimulate the immune system to destroy tumors.
“As research support from the federal government is reduced, community support is more important than ever,” says Timothy Eberlein, MD, Siteman director. “Philanthropic support is helping us speed the process of finding more effective, individualized treatments with fewer side effects, as we work to eliminate cancer completely in the future. It’s an exciting time in cancer research.”
“We’re so appreciative to all those who attended and supported illumination to make it so successful,” says Rich Liekweg, president of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and group president of BJC HealthCare. “Through the generosity of many, we’re able to keep our foot on the accelerator of cancer research so more people can live healthier lives.”
Gala co-chairs Ron Kruszewski, chairman, president and CEO, Stifel; and Craig Schnuck, chairman of the Executive Committee, Schnuck Markets Inc., led community support for the illumination Gala this year. ACW Alliance and Stifel were presenting sponsors of the event, which included a cocktail reception, dinner, luxury auction, special videos and the musical entertainment. Auction items included a banjo autographed by Steve Martin, as well as a painting he donated.