The 26th Annual Leukemia Lympohoma Society (LLS) Ball was held this past Saturday night, March 23rd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The 2013 ball, presented by the BIO technology Industry Organization in partnership with Genentech, was Washington DC’s largest non-political, black-tie fundraising gala. Approximately 2,000 attendees enjoyed comedy by the always hilarious Dana Carvey, and rocked to music by Jim Belushi and The Sacred Hearts Band. Another huge part of the event was the silent auction and Mercedes Benz raffle. Guests were given Bidpal devices upon check-in to keep track of their bidding to help raise money for the fight against Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkins disease, and Myeloma. A raffle gave guests the chance to win their own Mercedes Benz Automobile.
Senior co-chair of the ball, Jim Davis, told us that this year is particularly important not only because of the evenings high-profile entertainment, but also because of the federal budget cuts, “it’s more important than ever for LLS to fill in the gaps.” Davis, a blood-cancer survivor told us that if it weren’t for the medication he was given due to the research done by the LLS society, that he wouldn’t be standing here today. He added, “I am living proof that your efforts haven’t been wasted.”
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the worlds largest private organization concerned solely with funding research toward cures for blood cancer and improving the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS has 59 chapters nationwide, and the Capital Area Chapter is one of the highest revenue-generating chapters in the nation.
Saturday evening was full of touching presentations and speeches by supporters and survivors. LLS ball sponsor BIO’s Senior Vice President Tom DiLenge said, “Research is the angel of hope for families and patients touched by cancer.”
The James L. Eichberg Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was given to Tamara Darvish who told the audience that hope is a powerful motivator. She said, “When someone asks how many people are impacted by this disease and the answer is more than 1, the answer is too many.”
The most memorable presentation of the night was by Multi-Melanoma survivor Kathy Plantaber, who shared her touching story of how after her relapse, she relied on the research and doctors to get her healthy again. “I have so much living still to do”, she said. ” We need to find the cure someday. We hope someday is today.”