by guest contributor Lisa Berry
Photo credit: Jack Hartzman
“When you get cancer, you get closer as a family,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but he has never left us.” McCarthy was honored with the 2017 Cancer Champion Award for his work in encouraging the spirit of bipartisan unity around medical research, funding for the 21st Century Cures Act and the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Leader McCarthy accepted the award on behalf of his father, who passed away from a rare form of cancer.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® hosted its 23rd annual spring gala at the National Building Museum. This annual event is routinely recognized as one of the top DC-area events. The evening paid homage to the beauty and splendor of Florence and Rome with the theme “Italy: Icon of Innovation,” under the honorary patronage of His Excellency, the Ambassador of Italy, Armando Varricchio and Mrs. Varricchio. The evening kicked off with a silent auction that featured 65 items. Popular items included a five-day trip to Italy, a custom men’s suit by Ermenegildo Zegna and tickets to the Billboard Music Awards. The auction portion of the evening alone raised close to $90,000.
Celebrity event planner David Tutera, who is also a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, personally designed the event. After the stunning room reveal, the 1,000 guests at the National Building Museum ate, talked and danced the night away. A three-course Italian meal was catered by Design Cuisine, with music and entertainment by the band ONYX.
Prevent Cancer Foundation President and Founder Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé also gave remarks, reminding guests of the true purpose of the evening: to raise money for the Foundation’s lifesaving work. “Your presence tonight, your strong and unyielding support of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, our mission and the people we serve, is what makes not only this night possible, but also the work we do all year long,” she said.
Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé
Toward the end of the evening, Mr. Tutera led the Lighting the Way to Prevention pledge drive, which encouraged attendees to donate to the Foundation’s mission. Mr. Tutera shared his personal story of how cancer has affected his family members and close friends. In a touching moment, he talked about how his mother had won her cancer battle and would be up front and center at his upcoming wedding in April. “I never truly understood the toll cancer takes on loved ones until it punctured my world,” he said.The Lighting the Way to Prevention drive raised an additional $63,000.
Gala guests included Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, as well as diplomats and leaders in business, government, medicine, sports, media and philanthropy. The gala was co-chaired by Jason Van Pelt and Hollyn Kidd Schuemann, who were essential in generating sponsorship and raising the profile of the event to reach new levels of funding.
Gala co-chairs, Jason Van Pelt and Hollyn Kidd Schuemann
The mission of the Prevent Cancer Foundation® is saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. The gala raised a total of $1,581,805. On average, 84 cents of each dollar raised through the gala directly supports the Foundation’s mission.