Friday, June 5, 2015

Creating hope and inspiring action

STAY GOLD: Bartosz is recognized during the event.

On May 26, the MGH Cancer Center celebrated the eighth annual the one hundred, an event honoring 100 individuals and groups whose commitment to the fight against cancer creates hope and inspires action. More than $2.1 million was raised to support the Cancer Center and nearly 1,000 guests attended the event at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

The event was co-chaired by Patti and Jonathan Kraft, president of the New England Patriots, and Katherine Chapman and Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples. The diverse group of 2015 honorees included “everyday amazing” people from Boston and around the world. They ranged from public figures and small town heroes to children and esteemed physicians.

Throughout the evening, video vignettes told the stories of honorees like Kathy Crosby-Bell, the mother of Boston firefighter Michael Kennedy, who died last year while battling a 9-alarm fire in Back Bay. Crosby-Bell established a foundation to purchase washing machines and dryers for area firehouses to clean potentially life-threatening carcinogens from soiled gear.

Also highlighted was Tony “The Fridge” Phoenix-Morrison from Newcastle, England, who runs marathons with a 93-pound refrigerator strapped to his back to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He plans to donate funds raised from his next run to the MGH Cancer Center.

And Annie Bartosz, a 13-year-old from Wisconsin, was recognized for founding the “Gold in September” organization to support childhood cancer research in memory of her twin brother Jack.

Despite their differences, all of the evening’s stories shared a common message: everyone can make a difference in the fight against cancer. The night also provided an opportunity for the Cancer Center to share its story. Since its founding 27 years ago, it has become a world leader in research and patient care, including genetically targeted cancer therapies.

POWERFUL PIONEERS: From left, Haber, Foti and Engelman

In his remarks, Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Cancer Center, reflected on the changing tide of cancer treatment. “The rapid pace of discovery is incredible. A patient who might be out of treatment options one day may be eligible for a phase one clinical trial of a new targeted therapy or immune therapy the next month.”

Also honored was the research team from the lab of Jeffrey Engelman, MD, PhD, which developed ways to culture tumor cells taken from biopsies so they can be tested for sensitivity against nearly 1,500 drugs and drug combinations. The hope is that, with their findings, the best treatment for each patient’s cancer can be determined in the lab.

During the event, Jonathan Kraft praised the MGH Cancer Center for its role in changing the standard of care worldwide and reflected on the incredible progress he has seen during his and Patti’s tenure as co-chairs. “In five short years, what we have going on today at the Cancer Center is really the future of cancer care all coming together in one place.”

Other speakers included Cam Neely, president of the Boston Bruins and the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care; 2015 honoree Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research; David P. Ryan, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology and clinical director of the Cancer Center; and Stemberg. Musician and 2015 honoree Charlie Scopoletti closed out the evening with a performance of his song, “Beautiful Day.” The event’s visionary sponsors were DirecTV, Paul and Sandy Edgerley, and The Kraft Group.

Nominations are now open for the one hundred 2016. Visit for more information.

Read more articles from the 06/05/15 Hotline issue.

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