Skip to main content

$1.6 Million Dollars Raised for NF Research at the Ruby Anniversary Gala in NYC

On a crisp Fall evening at the renowned American Museum of Natural History in New York City, philanthropists, donors and fundraisers gathered with researchers, NF patients and their families to commemorate the Children’s Tumor Foundation 40-year history of fighting NF, and to pay homage to those who first joined together to raise money and awareness when there was none. More than $1.6 million dollars was raised to support exciting NF research endeavors.

A view of the Whale Room at the American Museum of Natural History

An evening of inspiration and celebration, the Foundation presented its highest honor – the Humanitarian Award – to two individuals who have demonstrated their unending commitment to improving the lives of children and adults living with neurofibromatosis, and who share the Foundation’s mission of funding and driving the best NF research: Carol Harrison Kalagher and Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD.

Ms. Kalagher is a generous philanthropist, Synodos for NF2 benefactor, and avowed NF advocate. Inspired by her grandson Hunter, and focused on helping all who live with NF, Ms. Kalagher’s vision in providing funding for the Foundation’s Synodos for NF2 team science and open data initiatives has resulted in promising candidates for treatments of NF2.

From the left, Lance Irvine, Becky Irvine, Carol Harrison Kalagher, and Stephan Kalagher
at the American Museum of Natural History

“My goal is to find a cure for NF2 and I believe the Children’s Tumor Foundation is the way,” said Ms. Kalagher, about partnering with the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Dr. Collins is a renowned physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes – including the NF gene – and for his leadership of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Collins is currently the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The Children’s Tumor Foundation is all about action, and we at the NIH we’re all about action. Together, we can conquer NF,” said Dr. Collins accepting his award.

Humanitarian Award Recipient Francis Collins shared the stage with two of the original founders
of the Children’s Tumor Foundation (then called the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation),
Allan Rubenstein, MD and Joel Hirschtritt, Esq., who accepted the 40th Anniversary Founder’s Awards.

The Foundation’s 2019 NF Ambassador was also introduced. McKinnon Galloway is a passionate believer in raising NF awareness and funds for NF research, and has inspired the NF community with her dedication. McKinnon was diagnosed with NF2 at age 16, and has lived the last 10 years of her NF journey showing only her brave face, while hiding the brutal reality of her condition from most. She hopes that her decision to change how she lives with NF and to tell about her experience will be a source of encouragement and comfort to others. She plans to spend the next year as ambassador sharing story in order to raise funds and awareness, and educating the greater community to help find a cure.

McKinnon Galloway stands in front of a paper link chain, representing her medical voyage,
which includes 117 days of chemotherapy over 10 years and 50 MRIs, among other tests, appointments and drug therapies.

“I am fully aware of what I am up against but, instead of discouraging me, it has given me my biggest strength,” said McKinnon while accepting her award.

Annette Bakker, President of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, gave a rousing speech connecting the Foundation’s history to the investments and advancements being made today. Addressing NF specifically, “…we want YOU, neurofibromatosis, out of our lives! We will never give up because this is who we are. And we will only stop when NF is out of our lives. We can make this happen, and we will make this happen.”

Raina Seitel, NBC “New York Live” correspondent led the evening’s festivities as master of ceremonies.  Raina is a passionate supporter of our mission to end NF, and we are grateful for her continued support.

Ruby Supporters of the Gala included Richard & Erica Horvitz, and Carol Harrison Kalagher & Stephen Kalagher; Pearl Supporters include the Galloway family, Gabriel & Lisa Groisman, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Liz & Mitch Rodbell, Stuart Match Suna, Vicki Match Suna, and the Wilpon family; Silver Supporters included Daniel & Robin Altman, Camuto Group, Cantor Fitzgerald, the Colodne family, Jennifer & Dan Gilbert, Denise G. Hodes, Linda Landis, Langan, Steve Madden, Jonathan Madrigano, Linda H. Martin, Alyson & Steve McKenzie, Metro Management Development, Inc., Stephen & Eve Milstein, PICO, RJL Charitable Foundation, Dr. Allan Rubenstein & Dr. Jane Halperin, Kenneth Rudd, Carolyn E. Setlow, Silvercup Studios, Springworks Therapeutics, Randall & Shabnam Stanicky, and the Von Recklinghausen Award Winners.

Thank you to all who participated or supported the Ruby Anniversary Gala.

To read more about McKinnon’s NF story, click here.

To watch the video of McKinnon’s NF story, click here.

To watch the video of Carol Harrison Kalagher’s NF story, click here.

To watch the playlist of Ruby Anniversary Gala speeches, click here.

To view more photos from the Ruby Anniversary Gala, click here.

To read more about the history of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, click here.