Photos by: Ann Chatillon and Carla Rhea.
Rivals United for a Kure, the major support group for Kure It Cancer Research, held its annual gala to raise funds for underfunded cancers at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
The long-standing football rivalry between UCLA and USC unites supporters of both universities to raise funds for groundbreaking cancer research at leading cancer centers. This year’s gala, attended by 250 guests, recognized a group of Esteemed Anniversary Honorees, all of whom have played key roles in Kure It’s growth and success over the years.
Star USC and NFL quarterback Paul McDonald welcomed everyone, joking about the dismal seasons both USC and UCLA have had this year. McDonald credited the late Barry Hoeven, who lost his fight with kidney cancer in 2016, for founding Kure It Cancer Research 10 years ago.
Childhood cancer survivor Mary Sardegna, who married this past summer, spoke about of her cancer journey. Diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia as a child, she was given three to five years to live, but because she was able to participate in a clinical trial for her cancer, she has come into adulthood cancer-free.
“Today, there are multiple treatment plans with high success rates,” Mary said, “and research is leading the way to a cure.” Mary’s mother, Karen Jones, admitted, “Kure It is close to my heart. They fund early-stage, innovative research projects like the one that saved my daughter’s life.”
The evening was great fun, with a whiskey tasting part of the reception activities, and when everyone entered the ballroom, they could participate in the 100 Yard Rush with guests scrambling to write their bids to a time clock to see what group won. The 50/50 Lottery was won by Mike Rinelt, with Mike bagging $2,600, and the Rivals Cup Twosome for next year’s golf tournament on June 7, 2019 at Pelican Hill Resort was won by Jon Ely, Sr. VP of Bank of the West.
Kure It Executive Director Susan Miller introduced a video detailing the support of the 30 esteemed honorees and asked them to the stage, where they received generous applause.
This year’s Kaprielian Cup, named for Barb Kaprelian who passed away in 2014 from her 14-year-old battle with cancer, was presented by the Kaprelian family – Doug, Alison and James – to longtime Kure It supporters Linda and Burton Young.
“We feel so humbled to receive this award,” Linda said, to which Burton added, “We hope our efforts will inspire others to give to this amazing cause and to honor the legacy of Barry Hoeven.”
Auctioneer Matt Rogers conducted a spirited live auction, singling out bidders with fun names, such as Black Widow. Receiving impressive bids were some amazing wines in a Sommelier’s Choice (Doug Reinhardt), a 7-day getaway to Whisper Ridge Ranch, Montana (Tyler Leeson), a James Beard House Dinner in New York for 12 (Drew Hoeven), a romantic escape to Paris and Prague (Damon Bottoms), a Pacific Club dinner for 20 (Jim McAleer), and an Hawaiian Island Hopper getaway – won by the Black Widow, Jennifer Byerly.
The Fund-A-Need introduced Keith and Julie Strohl’s pledge of $25,000 to match with $1,000 bids, and more than 25 guests raised their bid cards.
The Hollywood U2 tribute band, complete with Bono look-a-like, brought guests to the dance floor for some lively dancing, and as guests were leaving, an In-N-Out food truck offered its tempting burgers. Few refused.
Kure It Cancer Research board members attending included Julie Alai, Charles Byerly, Pam Domingue, Drew Hoeven, Paul McDonald, Todd Perry, and member emeritus, Dr. Robert Figlin.
The $250,000+ net proceeds are targeted to the UCLA Jonsson and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centers for innovative cancer research.
Kure It, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing funding for translational research projects focused on kidney cancer and other underfunded cancers. The funds raised through Kure It directly support groundbreaking research at leading cancer centers. Founded by Barry Hoeven in 2007 after his diagnosis with kidney cancer, Kure It expanded to support all underfunded cancers when the vast disconnect between the number of people afflicted with cancer and the amount of funding available for research became apparent. To date, Kure It has raised over $7 million for cancer research and holds strong to the belief in Funding Research = Saving Lives! www.kureit.org.