The Westin Copley Place in Boston, Mass., overflowed with hope and love on May 26, 2015, as the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center celebrated the eighth annual the one hundred. The event honors 100 individuals and groups whose commitment to the fight against cancer creates hope and inspires action. The evening attracted nearly 1,000 guests and raised $2.1 million to support the Cancer Center.
Co-chaired by Patti and Jonathan Kraft and Katherine Chapman and Tom Stemberg, the diverse group of 2015 honorees includes everyday amazing people from Boston and around the world. They ranged from public figures and small town heroes to children and esteemed physicians.
A Night of Shared Stories
Throughout the evening, video vignettes told the stories of honorees like Kathy Crosby-Bell, the mother of deceased firefighter Michael Kennedy. Kathy established a foundation to purchase washing machines and dryers for Boston firehouses to clean potentially life-threatening carcinogens from soiled gear.
Also highlighted was Tony “The Fridge” Phoenix-Morrison from Newcastle, England. Tony runs marathons with a 93-pound fridge strapped to his back to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He plans to donate funds raised from his next run to the Cancer Center.
Since its founding 27 years ago, the Mass General Cancer Center has become a world leader in research and patient care, including genetically targeted cancer therapies.
And Annie Bartosz, a 13-year-old from Wisconsin who founded the Gold in September organization to support childhood cancer research in memory of her twin brother Jack. Despite their differences, all of these stories shared a common message: everyone can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
The night was also an opportunity for the Mass General Cancer Center to share its story. Since its founding 27 years ago, the Cancer Center has become a world leader in research and patient care, including genetically targeted cancer therapies.
Rapid Pace of Cancer Discovery
In his remarks, Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Mass General Cancer Center, reflected on the changing tide of cancer treatment: “The rapid pace of discovery is incredible,” he said. “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. These young researchers 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. Not only a pioneer in targeted therapies, the Mass General Cancer Center has led the way in advancements in minimally invasive surgery, radiation oncology and early-detection technologies.
The Future Coming Together
Event co-chair Jonathan Kraft praised the Cancer Center for its role in changing the standard of cancer 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 Mass General Cancer Center is really the future of cancer care all coming together in one place,” Jonathan said.
Other event 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 Mass General Cancer Center; and Tom Stemberg. Musician and 2015 honoree Charlie Scopoletti closed out the evening with a performance of his uplifting 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. If you know someone who is changing how we fight cancer, nominate them today.