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Illumination Gala 2018: The Journey to a Cure

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, nearly 500 guests—including some of St. Louis’ most generous individuals and corporations—shared an unforgettable evening of philanthropy and entertainment with special guest host, Jason Alexander.

The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital has hosted this annual fundraising event for 11 years in support of cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Since the event’s inception in 2007, funds raised through Illumination have launched more than 80 cancer research projects that have led to breast cancer and melanoma vaccines, better treatment for pancreatic cancer, breakthroughs in leukemia and lymphoma, and so much more.

Many of these projects are having a profound impact on how we are treating cancer today.

“While we’ve made significant progress in cancer research and treatments, support from the Illumination Gala will allow us to speed up our progress by pursuing new ideas and launching new projects,” says Tim Eberlein, MD, director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.

Helping More Cancer Patients—Today and Tomorrow

Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & PLC, and George Paz, chairman and former CEO of Express Scripts, served as the event’s co-chairs.

“Illumination is such an important event because it fuels the necessary research that helps scientists understand how cancer works so we can find ways to stop it,” Arnold says. “That’s our job at Illumination: To give the researchers at Siteman the fuel they need to help more of our families and friends.”

Since 2007, this extraordinary gala has raised nearly $26 million through donor generosity. Gifts support cancer research funds at Siteman, including the Cancer Frontier Fund established by Amy and Bill Koman, that accelerate our ability to bring cancer discoveries to patient care.

“People we know and love are living happy, healthy lives today thanks to the many treatment breakthroughs and the outstanding physicians and researchers at Siteman,” George says. “We are truly making strides in the fight against cancer, and Siteman is leading the way.”

The Future of Cancer Treatments

The world is watching Siteman as researchers are finding ways to harness the immune system so our bodies can better fight cancer, while also engaging in innovative research to stop cancer from spreading throughout the body.

According to Dr. Eberlein, cancer presents a unique challenge to physician-researchers because it is not just one disease. For example, lymphoma has many different personalized subtypes, he says, and each one responds differently to treatment.

"That’s why basic science research, in addition to clinical research, is so critical in movingthe ball forward,” Dr. Eberlein says.

And ongoing support of cancer research through the Foundation is an essential source of support for physician-researchers.

"It’s important to understand that your support has a domino effect,” Dr. Eberlein says. “Results from these research studies are leveraged to garner even larger support from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, and other essential funders to expand and continue our groundbreaking work.”

Siteman has the technology, the scientific minds and the leadership. With gifts to the Illumination Gala, Siteman physicians will reach the next frontier of cancer research sooner.

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