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Successful Benefit Galas Raise Funds for NF Research

By December 3, 2013December 5th, 2023Awareness, Special Events, Ways to Give

On October 26th, “The beNeFit: A Celebration to Beat NF” was held in Detroit and on November 7th, the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Annual Benefit Gala was held in New York City. These events raised over $3 million for NF research.

Detroit held its inaugural Children’s Tumor Foundation gala with the theme “A Glamorous Gatsby Affair.” Over 900 guests decked out in their favorite 1920s attire filled Cobo Center’s brand new Grand Ballroom, overlooking the Detroit River. The Great Gatsby himself would have been proud.

Joined by local dignitaries, sports stars, and business leaders, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert and Children’s Tumor Foundation President John Risner welcomed guests with heartfelt words and stressed the urgency of defeating NF. Featuring silent, live, and research award auctions, The beNeFit raised more than $2 million toward finding a cure for NF, of which every dollar will be invested efficiently and effectively.

The highlight of the night was Victor Chukwueke, who was born in a small Nigerian village and endured nine major surgeries to remove the tumors on his face as a result of NF. Brought to the United States by missionary nuns, the teenager overcame innumerable obstacles. For his spirit and courage, Victor was awarded the first-ever Children’s Tumor Foundation Strength and Honor Award by event organizer and passionate Foundation advocate Jennifer Gilbert. Victor is now enrolled in medical school at the University of Toledo and plans to become a missionary doctor.

A “Speakeasy” afterglow party with desserts, cocktails, strolling entertainment, and dancing followed the main event.

Over 450 people attended the New York City Gala, held in the ballroom at Cipriani Wall Street, raising more than $1 million. The attendees were treated by the participation of several special guests. Emmy award winning television journalist Jane Hanson served as master of ceremonies. The Villalobos Brothers, a quartet of virtuoso violinists and singer-songwriters, provided the musical entertainment for the evening, and auctioneer James Donahower led the live auction with humor and enthusiasm.

The Foundation was honored to award OncoSynergy, Inc., with Mr. and Mrs. Nicole and Allen Salmasi accepting, and Dr. Bruce R. Korf, MD, PhD with the Children’s Humanitarian Award, and to name Mr. Bailey Gribben the Children’s Tumor Foundation Ambassador for the coming year.

OncoSynergy, Inc. is a privately-held startup whose mission is to radically improve health outcomes for patients by addressing unmet needs in neurofibromatosis and oncology. Dr. Bruce Korf is chair of the Department of Genetics and director of the Heflin Center for Genomic Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Bailey Gribben, a 16-year-old, honor roll student from Levittown, N.Y., was diagnosed with NF2 in 2008 and has bravely battled through several brain surgeries this year.

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is grateful for a successful gala season, which also included a benefit in Boston and the “Dancing with Our Stars” event in Arkansas, as it greatly advances the NF community toward its shared goal of ending neurofibromatosis forever.