Donors saw red last Monday evening as they gathered to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at the annual Paint the Town Red gala at the Quail Valley River Club.
Splashes of red in feathered centerpieces highlighted the purpose of the elegant affair – that someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes in the U.S. It is the mission of LLS “to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.”
The Gypsy Lane Band kept things lively as guests perused auction items over cocktails before settling down for a gourmet dinner and later a live auction presided over by John Moore.
“What would the war on cancer look like if the LLS did not exist?” asked Luke Webb, a leukemia survivor and chair of the Vero Beach LLS advisory council.
Webb said that through the $1.3 billion donated to cancer research, the LLS has helped advance 46 of the 53 therapies approved by the FDA since 2017.
“That has only been possible because of people like you. Let’s fight cancer in this room here tonight. Your donations will save lives by funding the development of treatments to fight blood cancers.”
Event chair Beth Scheibel, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2016, said that without LLS advancements, “I would not be here tonight. Most of the new advances over the past year have been directly funded by the LLS, and because of these breakthroughs, thousands of patients have been given life back and hope for the future.”
Honorary Chair Helen Post, who lost her husband Richard and their 5-year-old son John to leukemia, was honored for her selfless philanthropic endeavors.
“She gives to a diverse number of causes, but her focus has always been health-related charities. She, like many in this room, have been touched and hurt by loss due to blood cancer,” said Scheibel.
“Helen has made a commitment to advance treatments for children diagnosed with leukemia. In the past 70 years, the chances for survival for a child diagnosed with leukemia have risen from 4 percent to just over 90 percent. But for the families of those 10 percent, it is not good enough.”
Noting that Post is among the first to support a $100 million initiative toward changing that statistic forever, Scheibel said, “Thank you, Helen, for your continued generosity over the years. It is because of people like you that a cure for cancer will be a reality in the near future.”
Tom Segura, whose strength and determination in fighting multiple myeloma is an inspiration to others, was named this year’s Honored Warrior.
Jane Segura, his youngest daughter, gave an emotional recollection of her father’s battle with the disease, which began shortly after his retirement from Merrill Lynch.
“When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their entire family is diagnosed. That’s the cruel truth about cancer,” said Jane Segura. “All of our perspectives are forever changed when we hear someone is diagnosed. Cancer changed my dad, but it also changed everyone in our family. We were all diagnosed, and we all had to fight. Now we can tell you that the fight is worth it.”
For more information, visit lls.org.