Annual Gala To Benefit Hillman Cancer Center Raises Record-Breaking Amount For Patient Care And Cancer Research
PITTSBURGH, November 5, 2004 At an annual gala last night to benefit the Hillman Cancer Center, the region's most influential community leaders, top Broadway performers and celebrities celebrated with more than 880 friends and supporters at an airport hanger at the Fixed Base Operations Aviation Center in Moon Township to raise more than $3 million in sponsorships and contributions for patient care and cancer research. This amount included a $1 million challenge grant given by Wheeler Brothers Inc. of Somerset, Pa.
In addition to these sponsorships, Elsie Hillman announced a major $1 million gift from Mark E. Pasquerilla, president, CEO and chairman of Crown American Enterprises, to support genomics and proteomics cancer research at the Hillman Cancer Center. Taken together, the funds made the annual gala, Hope Takes Flight: A Future Without Cancer, the largest and most successful ever for the Hillman Cancer Center.
"Tonight represents an extraordinary moment for our community, a time when we celebrate and take great pride in our world-class institution that provides the finest in cancer research and patient care," said Henry L. Hillman, Pittsburgh philanthropist and primary donor for the Hillman Cancer Center. "This also is a moment when we rededicate ourselves to the very special cause of curing cancer, a disease that touches all our lives."
For the first time, the event, presented by PNC and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), featured an online auction on eBay in connection with its Giving Works program to help support the cancer mission at the Hillman Cancer Center. The Auction for Cancer, live through 3 p.m. Friday, and sponsored by the 84 Lumber Company, raised more than $100,000 and provided a unique opportunity for those not in attendance to lend their support to the event's cause.
The event was hosted by honorary chairs, Elsie and Henry Hillman, and celebrity chair, Greg Norman, and featured Broadway performers Marcus Lovett, Michele Pawk, Billy Porter and Jerry Orbach, also a former star of TV's Law & Order. Highlights of the evening also included aerial acrobatic artists and a special surprise performance by the Matthew Fisher Band. Mr. Fisher is a grandson of Elsie and Henry Hillman.
Other long-time contributors to the Hillman Cancer Center who joined University of Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg and UPMC president Jeffrey Romoff in supporting the event were University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Council chairman Sy Holzer of PNC Financial Services Group; general chairs of the event, Pamela and Markos Tambakeras and Mikell and Bill Schenck; Tricia and Bill Kassling, Bonnie and Tom VanKirk, Jane France and Chris Allison, Elizabeth and Michael Zamagias and Sandy and Richard Cohen. Corporations that offered support included Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wabtec Corporation, Greg Norman Estates and Pepsi Bottling Company, among others.
World-renowned for innovative approaches to cancer prevention, detection and diagnosis, the Hillman Cancer Center is the flagship facility for both the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the UPMC Cancer Centers - a network of more than 40 office-based medical oncology practices and regional cancer centers that provide the highest standard of care for patients throughout western Pennsylvania.