The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) recognized outstanding contributors in research, treatment and caregiving at its Simply the Best Dinner and Gala, which took place in San Francisco on Saturday, November 9. The annual event is a celebration of survivors, hope and determination that brings together lung cancer patients and their families to recognize top minds in the lung cancer field.
“When we held our first gala 13 years ago, our hopes of turning lung cancer into a chronic, manageable disease seemed like a far-distant dream,” said Bonnie J. Addario, 14-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “But thanks to the work of pioneers like Drs. James Mulshine and Scott Antonia, we’re moving closer and closer each day. It’s an exciting time for lung cancer research, and we’re thankful to the many who support our efforts to advance research and patient care for helping to bring the dream within reach.”
Honorees at the event included:
James L. Mulshine, M.D., professor and retired graduate college dean and provost for research for the Institute of Translational Medicine at Rush University, received the Asclepios Award, which honors research pioneers in the fight to end lung cancer:
Excerpt from Dr. Mulshine’s comments accepting the award:
“Diet, exercise, lifestyle, all these things are important, but we have early-detection tests, both imaging and molecular that are coming along, that will inform individuals to make better choices about their health. This type of diagnostic technology is scaffolding in which we’ll add molecular diagnostics and immunotherapy and cure even a greater fraction of people. We need all of science, but we need all people working with us to live as healthy of a life as they can live and make each day precious.”
Scott J. Antonia M.D., Ph.D., chair of the thoracic oncology department at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, was the recipient of the A Breath Away from the Cure Award, which honors individuals for excellence in oncology, early detection and coordinated treatment.
Excerpt from Dr. Amtonia’s comments accepting the award:
“I really do appreciate this honor from this group, but the fact is, any success that I may have had would have been impossible without the great team that I have at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Perhaps most importantly, none of this could have occurred if it weren’t for the bravery and the selflessness of people with lung cancer who choose to participate in clinical trials. They have no idea when they participate in a trial, as I have no idea, whether or not this is going to help an individual patient. These people understand that there may be some unpredicted severe toxicity, and more often than not the motivation – of course there’s always the hope the treatment will have some benefit to them – but more often than not the overriding, driving reason for people to participate in clinical trials is to contribute to the science, to contribute to the advancement of the care for this disease so that people in the future – other people – can benefit.”
Diana Pak, caregiver to Donna Terry, was honored with the Wind Beneath My Wings Award, which celebrates the caring, compassionate people who go above the call of duty to care for a loved one facing lung cancer.
Excerpt from Donna Terry’s comments presenting the award to her caregiver, Diana Pak:
“First off, I would like to thank the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation for giving me this opportunity to honor my amazing caregiver, Diana Pak, in such an extraordinary way. I could spend lifetimes trying to show Diana how grateful I am to her for all that she has done for me and my family, but it would never be enough. She cares for us in ways that is selfless and generous – never asking for anything in return, and never taking any credit for all that she does.”
In addition to the awards, the evening featured a dinner with wines generously donated by Margaret Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards. ABC7’s Chery Jennings emceed the awards presentation and auction, which was followed by music and dancing.
The Simply the Best Dinner and Gala is ALCF’s largest annual fundraising event. All proceeds from the event directly benefit ALCF’s patient services program and clinical research projects. This year’s presenting sponsor, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, along with other gala sponsors, made the successful event possible. More information about the 13th annual Simply the Best Dinner and Gala is available here.