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Record $2.3 million raised at gala for cancer research at the Siteman Cancer Center

  • April 15, 2015
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The lifesaving importance of cancer research was the focus of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s annual illumination Gala held Saturday, April 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Nearly 600 guests raised a record-setting $2.3 million for cancer research at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

The total toppled last year’s record as the most ever raised at illumination. Dollars raised support the Foundation’s Cancer Frontier Fund, created to speed research breakthroughs at Siteman that will lead to new ways to prevent and treat cancer.

In 2015, the Cancer Frontier Fund helped launch five exciting cancer research projects at Siteman. These projects hold promise to find better treatments for ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukemia as well as to develop new techniques to provide more individualized treatment for breast cancer and brain tumors. Since 2010, the Foundation has supported 40 research projects at Siteman through the Cancer Frontier Fund.

illumination Gala 2015 co-chairs

From left: illumination Gala co-chairs Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO, Ameren Corporation, Dave Spence, chairman, Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging, Suzie Spence, and Cindy Baxter.

“Cancer is a formidable foe,” says Tim Eberlein, MD, director of the Siteman Cancer Center. “One challenge is that cancer is not just one disease; it’s many. And there’s not a singular, one-size-fits-all cure. For example, breast cancer comes in many forms, with many different causes. So we have to tackle cancer from many different angles.”

Dr. Eberlein says that’s why cancer research support is so important. “Unfortunately, federal research funding is the lowest it has been since 1971. That means thousands of research proposals are left unfunded each year—and potential cures are delayed. Every dollar raised through illumination makes a difference in keeping research moving forward. The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital is like a venture capitalist investing in new ideas. And I’m happy to say these investments are paying off in big ways.”

illumination Gala co-chairs were Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO, Ameren Corporation, and his wife, Cindy, along with Dave Spence, chairman, Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging, and his wife, Suzie. Ameren and The Spence Family were presenting sponsors of the gala.

Baxter has lost several family members to cancer. He says his brother Gary, who beat cancer, inspires him to keep fighting against the disease. “My brother’s victory over cancer gives me hope. And so does the ongoing, groundbreaking research that is happening at Siteman. It was inspiring to witness the overwhelming support from guests at the illumination Gala. Together, we’re making an impact on the future of cancer care.”

Fellow co-chair Dave Spence acknowledged the contribution that Bill and Amy Koman made when they established the Cancer Frontier Fund in 2009. “His vision was to bring lifesaving treatments to the forefront faster by supporting leading-edge research at Siteman,” Dave says. “With the outpouring of support at illumination, we’re making this happen for our family and friends.”

The Siteman Cancer Center is an international leader in cancer treatment, research, prevention and community outreach. It’s the only cancer center in Missouri to hold the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute and membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Parent institutions Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine also are nationally recognized, with U.S. News & World Report magazine consistently ranking both among the best in the country.

Siteman offers the expertise of more than 350 Washington University physicians and scientists who provide care for about 8,500 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. Patients have access to more than 240 clinical trials.

Gifts to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital support the patient care, research and innovation, community outreach and educational mission of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and its Washington University Physician colleagues, as well as support the Siteman Cancer Center, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.

Visit www.GivingBarnesJewish.org to learn more about the Foundation.

Visit www.illuminationgala.org to learn more and see photos and videos.

Visit www.siteman.wustl.edu to learn more about the Siteman Cancer Center.

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