I’ll take nearly any excuse to wear a formal gown. But I have to admit that walking through Navy Pier on a Saturday night wearing an evening gown is daunting. People stare. And they are comfortable with talking to you: “What’s the event?” Me: “The Gateway for Cancer Research Annual Cures Gala.” Them: “F*ck Cancer.” Me: " ... "
But you know what? She’s right: “F*ck Cancer.” All of us have been touched by it. My friend will bury her darling friend next week. My one BFF’s mom and dad were both taken by the disease. My other BFF’s mom has been fighting it like a street brawler for years. Thankfully, another dear friend is a 5 year survivor. Cancer seems to be an inescapable part of modern life.
This is why the work of Chicagoland-based Gateway for Cancer Research is so important. It is “an innovative charitable cancer research funding organization that invests in the next generation of breakthroughs in patient-centric cancer research.” Over the past 25 years, Gateway has funded more than 140 Phase I and Phase II clinical trials at leading institutions worldwide, supporting significant cancer research breakthroughs. Thanks to underwriting from Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 99% of all donations directly fund cancer research. Gateway funded clinical trials have helped more than 3,000 patients and 85% of trials include robust patient-centered outcomes.
Gateway for Cancer Research held their annual Cures Gala, “The Great Gateway: 25 Years of Illuminating the Way to Cures” at the Navy Pier Aon Grand Ballroom on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The sold-out fundraiser was a swanky “Great Gatsby”-themed affair where individual tickets started at $1,000 and guests were encouraged to wear “1920s formal.” Additionally, the guests participated in a silent auction and were treated to a star-studded evening of performances. The celebrities included:
- Cee Lo Green, 5-time Grammy winner
- David Foster, 16-time Grammy winner
- Carly Rae Jepsen, multi-platinum Grammy nominated singer and songwriter
- Peter Cetera, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee (and a man who will fight for your honor)
- Michael Bolton, Grammy winning artist
- Sinbad, famed standup comedian
- The Tenors, platinum-selling artists
- Kelly Levesque, singer and songwriter
Richard and Stacie Stephenson (pictured) co-chaired the event. Richard Stephenson, a global merchant banker, is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Gateway for Cancer Research. Stacie Stephenson is a physician and a lecturer focusing on regenerative, lifestyle, functional and innovative nature medicine programs. The couple entered the ballroom to drums and bagpipes. When Levesque opened with banquet with the National Anthem, a bald eagle was released to fly above the heads of the guests. It was a gorgeous and lavish event, but the goal is always clear: “Gateway’s mission is to fund meaningful and breakthrough clinical trials worldwide that help people living with cancer to feel better, live longer and conquer cancer TODAY!”
“Our mission instills a sense of urgency to accelerate the pace of cancer research,” said Teresa Hall Bartels, president, Gateway for Cancer Research. “Our dedication to investing heavily in novel patient-centric approaches, combined with the increasing rate of treatment advances, leads us to believe that together we can conquer cancer in our lifetime.”
Learn more about ways to give to Gateway at Ways to Give.