DETROIT — The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s 31st Annual Dinner raised a record-setting $2,534,635, making this year’s event the most successful Annual Dinner ever for the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Proceeds support Karmanos’ cancer care and research, including a new clinical core laboratory.
The dinner was chaired by Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, and his wife, Kim.
More than 550 guests attended the elegant gala held April 20 at the General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, hosted by Chevrolet. Ruth Spencer, anchor and consumer reporter for WDIV Local 4, served as emcee. The theme of this year’s event, Imagine, connected the innovations in automobile technology leading to a greener, cleaner future; to the innovations in cancer research, leading to better treatments and a future free of the disease.
Reuss recognized the hourly and salaried employees of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center and UAW Local 22 for their willingness to have their facility transformed for this year’s Annual Dinner celebration.
“We thought this would be a unique Detroit evening, giving guests a chance to get a look inside one of our most technologically advanced plants and, at the same time, help a cause so important to all of us – ending cancer,” said Reuss.
“The researchers, physicians and staff of the Karmanos Cancer Institute are simply the best. We’re lucky to have such a tremendous resource for cancer care right here in Detroit.”
This is the third consecutive year that GM has been the lead sponsor for Karmanos’ Annual Dinner. As part of GM’s commitment, for the second year, Chevrolet donated one of its highly collectible vehicles to be auctioned to benefit Karmanos. This year it was the first regular retail production 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible, which raised $1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction earlier this month. The winning bidder was Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Automotive Group Chairman and owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
In addition, for the second consecutive year, the GM Foundation generously donated $400,000 to Karmanos for cancer research.
The outstanding commitment of GM and the GM Foundation has collectively contributed nearly $7.4 million over the past 16 years to support Karmanos in its mission to eradicate cancer.
“Karmanos’ state-of-the-science cancer research and cancer care is not only known locally and nationally, it’s respected globally,” said Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation. “We’re happy to support Karmanos’ Annual Dinner but more importantly, its mission to end this disease.”
Reuss announced that GM will continue to support Karmanos’ ground-breaking work in cancer and committed to sponsoring the 2014 Annual Dinner. Chairs will be Dan Ammann, senior vice president and chief financial officer for GM, and his wife Pernilla.
“Our 2013 Annual Dinner is an overwhelming, record-setting success because of the outstanding leadership of Mark and Kim Reuss,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., president and CEO of Karmanos. ‘I would also like to thank GM, Chevrolet and the GM Foundation for their continued generosity; our incredible sponsors and supporters, including Ruth Spencer and the entire WDIV Local 4 team for sharing our compelling stories; our gifted and compassionate team at Karmanos who I am proud to work side-by-side with each day; and, most importantly, our patients, who continue to inspire us and fuel our relentless determination to end this disease.”
This year’s event helps support Karmanos’ new clinical core laboratory, a 4,200 square-foot renovated area in the Karmanos Cancer Center dedicated to laboratory services for Karmanos’ patients. This improvement will mean shorter wait times for patients needing blood test results prior to receiving their cancer treatment, enhancing the patient’s experience while promoting efficiencies. The lab, set to open in October 2013, will generate approximately 34 new jobs, including medical technologists and laboratory assistants. It will be open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Some of the highlights of the Annual Dinner included moving stories of Karmanos’ cancer patients and the personalized treatment they receive; Motown legends The FOUR TOPS; a raffle of a stunning 18kt. white gold, pave set diamond bangle bracelet from Tapper’s Diamond & Fine Jewelry that raised $20,800; and an exciting live auction conducted by Spanky Assiter, founder of Assiter & Associates, National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame inductee and Barrett-Jackson auctioneer.
The live auction raised $140,000 and included: Billboard Music Awards VIP Experience; Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Experience; ESPY Awards VIP Experience Package; NCAA 2014 Final 4 Experience; Super Bowl XLVIII VIP Package; a VIP Indy 500 Package; an Ultimate VIP Barrett-Jackson Experience; and a Bose Videowave System.
Another $40,450 was raised for Karmanos’ Comfort Care Initiative, a special fund to purchase items that help make patients’ hospital stay more comfortable. Items such as complimentary tea, coffee and snacks; blanket warmers, recliner and sleeper chairs for family overnight visits; as well as high-back chairs that make it easier for surgical patients to sit and stand after their procedures; are just a few of the simple but important elements that help make the cancer patient’s experience more comfortable. To donate to Karmanos’ Comfort Care Initiative, go to www.karmanos.org/annualdinner
For more information on cancer care, call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or visit www.karmanos.org.